William Mcgregor Paxton USA
6-22-1869 Baltimore, USA – 1-16-1941 Newton, USABack to Artist IndexView Artists Paintings
William McGregor Paxton attended Cowles Art School on a scholarship he attained at the age of 18. He studied with Dennis Miller Bunker and Cowles and then went to Paris to study under Jean-Léon Gérôme, at École des Beaux-Arts. Maryhill Museum of Art said he also studied at Académie Julian in Paris. He returned to Cowles and studied with Joseph DeCamp, who also taught Elizabeth Vaughan Okie. She became Paxton's student and then his wife.
Paxton became engaged in 1896 to Elizabeth Vaughan Okie, and they married on January 3, 1899. Paxton's wife managed his career and modeled for many of his works, like the painting in which she was dressed for the ball.
William McGregor Paxton taught from 1906 to 1913 at the Museum of Fine Arts School and painted at Fenway Studios in Boston. He is primarily known for his portraits and painted both Grover Cleveland and Calvin Coolidge. His works often present idealized views of women, such as this portrait (The Red Fan) of his wife Elizabeth, like Henry James' portrayal of women in his novels The Portrait of a Lady (1881) or The American (1877). He crafted elaborate compositions with models in his studio, using props that appear in several paintings. Paxton and several other Bostonian artists were inspired by Johannes Vermeer.
William McGregor Paxton employed a technique where only one area in his compositions was entirely in focus, while the rest was somewhat blurred, something he called "binocular vision" and credited to Vermeer. He began to employ this system in his own work, including The New Necklace, where only the gold beads are sharply defined while the rest of the objects in the composition have softer, blurrier edges.
William McGregor Paxton is one the Boston School artists and co-founder of The Guild of Boston Artists with Frank Weston Benson and Edmund Charles Tarbell. Paxton died of a heart attack when he was painting his wife in their Montvale Road living room.
Influences: Dennis Miller Bunker, Joseph DeCamp, Jean-Léon Gérôme, Johannes Vermeer
Influenced: Elizabeth Vaughan Okie