Ernest Lawson Biography | Oil Paintings
3-22-1873 Halifax, CAN – 12-18-1939 Miami Beach, USABack to Artist IndexView Artists Paintings
Ernest Lawson left Canada in 1888 and settled in Kansas City. Three years later at the age of eighteen, he went to live in New York City to study art at the Art Students League, under John Twachtman. He introduced him to Impressionism and was a big influence on his formative years. In 1893, Lawson sailed to France and stayed there three years, first to study at the Académie Julian with Benjamin Constant and Jean-Paul Laurens, then he practiced plein air painting in the south of France and met the English Impressionist artist Alfred Sisley in Moret-sur-Loing.
Ernest Lawson returned to the United States in 1896, and began developing his own art style and was encouraged by Robert Henri and William Glackens, with whom he began to associate in 1903. At this time he also married Ella Holman, an older woman than he, who was his art teacher before he left for France. Lawson moved to the still-uninhabited area of Washington Heights in Upper Manhattan in 1898, and for the next twenty years, he concentrated on painting subjects from this part of the city.
Ernest Lawson was an unlikely rebel, a mild-mannered, charitable, and undramatic man, he was not interested in self-promotion and did not want to paint the aspects of modern city life in the rougher neighborhoods, as was being done by Henri, Glackens, Sloan, Luks, and Shinn who were members of The Eight and later all founding members of the Ashcan School style of American art.
The Eight organized only one exhibition of their works in 1908, and sales were not great, it got mixed reviews, but the artists were happy with the notoriety and got media attention for some time. On the one hand, admired for the daring subject matter, and shock for the dreary subject matter. The exhibition then went to Chicago and Boston, the press coverage continued, Lawson and his companions had started a debate among the art critics, galleries and public about a need to diversify subject matter and style in American art away from the National Academy of Design. This one show was the start for the development of a new trend in American painting in the twentieth century. The next historic art show, at the Armory in 1913, Ernest Lawson exhibited three paintings.
His works were some of the best landscapes, but they were tame and he did not keep up with the times, nor did he paint controversial subjects like the others, his sales had declined and he was depressed and in declining health. He left the cold of New York and moved to Florida in 1936 while swimming in Miami Beach, he drowned himself in 1939.
Art Movement: Impressionism.
Artists Influencing Ernest Lawson: John Henry Twachtman, J. Alden Weir, Alfred Sisley, Benjamin Constant, Jean-Paul Laurens.
He Traveled To USA, France, Spain.
Artist's Biography compiled by Albert L. Mansour at The World's Artist.