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Martha Dewing Woodward

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Martha Dewing Woodward

Martha Dewing Woodward (1856-1950) was a noted artist and art teacher. According to the obituary that appeared in the July 14, 1950 New York Times, she was “one of the nation’s leading painters.” Among her accomplishments, she founded the first art colony in Provincetown, Massachusetts in 1896.[1] In 1907, Woodward and her partner, Louise Johnson, founded the noted Blue Dome Fellowship in Shady-in-the-Catskills, New York, which Woodward continued in Florida later on.

Woodward studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art in Philadelphia and the Academie Julian in Paris.[2] In addition to teaching at her summer art schools, Woodward taught art at the Female Seminary in Lewisburg (later Bucknell University), the Women’s College of Baltimore (later Goucher College), the School for Ethical Culture in New York City, and the University of Miami, Florida. Woodward was active in the art world through painting and volunteering until her death in 1950.[3][4]

Contents

  • Early Years 1
  • Paris years 2
  • Blue Dome Fellowship years 3
  • Florida years 4
  • Death 5
  • References 6

Early Years

(Martha) Dewing Woodward was born on June 6, 1856 in Whiskey Rebellion.[6] Their home, called Springside, located at 721 Fifth Avenue, Williamsport, was originally a log house before being enlarged in 1845. The Woodwards added a studio above the kitchen to the Southern style home for Woodward to use as a studio.[7] Woodward researcher, Ralph Rees, believes that the young Woodward taught art lessons from this home studio.[8] Woodward began painting from a young age, and at eleven years old. A portrait she painted of her father was praised for its skillful and mature style.[9] Woodward attended the Hattie Hall Seminary for Young Ladies in Williamsport. She later attended the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, and the Academie Julian in Paris with Robert Fleury, Jacques Blanche, and Jean Francois Raffaelli.[10] At age 26, Woodward was appointed art professor at the Female Institute of the University of Lewisburg (which later became part of Bucknell University).[11] As the only art professor at the Female Institute, she taught 28-35 students in classes ranging from drawing to inks to china decoration to tapestry.[12] In 1889, she became head of the art department at the Women’s College of Baltimore (later Goucher College) and served as principal of Goucher’s School of Art from 1891-92.[13] Branching beyond teaching art, Woodward was also a member of the Baltimore’s Water-Color Club and Charcoal Club of Baltimore.[14]

Paris years

Woodward moved to Paris in 1892, living there intermittently for eleven years. She described these years as the happiest time of her life.[15] She maintained a studio called Rue Fromentin, exhibited in the Paris Salon ten times, and was assistant critic at Academie Julian. In 1894, she won the prestigious Grand Prix de Concours de Portrait at the Marseilles International Exposition for her portrait of an elderly woman. This portrait was displayed in the Paris Salon, and is believed to have been destroyed in World War II.[16] She also won the silver medal in Nantes in 1904.[17]

In Europe, Woodward faced discrimination, because of her gender, prompting her to drop “Martha” from her name and to use her more androgynous middle name “Dewing.”[18] She was forced to withdraw a painting, “Wooden Shoemakers,” from the Paris Salon when Jule La Febre told the jury members that the painter was a woman,” and “who know who might have helped her!”[19]

Woodward made frequent visits to America during her Paris years and taught at the Ethical Culture School in New York City.[20] In 1896, Woodward, established the first summer art school in Provincetown, Massachusetts, being called “the real founder of the art colony” by Stephen Borkowski.[21] The Dewing Woodward Cape Cod School of Drawing and Painting proceeded Charles Hawthorne’s school by three to four years. Along with artist and companion, Louise Johnson, Woodward owned a cottage studio, called The Pungo, where they taught during the summer.[22] Laura Louise Johnson was one of six daughters of Henry and Margaret Johnson, who lived at 901 West 4th St., Williamsport, Pennsylvania.[23] A fire, originating from the fireplace, destroyed The Pungo on December 6, 1907, obliterating Woodward’s paintings, lectures, library, and $3,000 of antique furniture.[24]

Blue Dome Fellowship years

Returning permanently to America in 1907, Woodward and Johnson established the artist colony, the Blue Dome Fraternity, in Shady-in-the-Catskills where they lived for ten years.[25][26] Likely branching from Woodward’s strong religious faith, the colony’s name comes from Woodward’s favorite slogan: Worship God under the blue dome of heaven.[27] The colony was located near the Brydcliffe Art Colony in Woodstock, New York. The Blue Dome Fraternity followed the popular French style of painting where artists posed living nude models in the open air.[28] The Fraternity members consisted mainly of women and included many famous people in the arts, including Woodward’s good friend, Poultney Bigelow.[29] The James Cox Gallery in Willow, New York, held a festival in 2006, recreating the painting technique which produced ninety paintings.[30]

In 1908, Woodward wrote and published Some Adventures of Two Vagabonds: By One of ‘Em, a series of short stories about her and Johnson, under the pseudonym Wealthy Ann York, her mother’s name.[31] She also wrote The Mass of the Shepherds of Provence, a short story published in 1911 by Hervey White’s Maverick Press.

The Blue Dome Fraternity studio, appropriately called “Red Roofs” for its red tiled roof, also burned down in 1912, pushing Woodward into financial troubles.[32] Throughout the rest of her life, Woodward struggled financially.

Florida years

After the loss of her Woodstock studio, Woodward spent the rest of her life in Miami and Coral Gables, Florida. Inspired by the rich foliage and brightly colored birds, Woodward and her friend would travel by Ford Model T. to the Everglades to paint the wildlife.[33] When the University of Miami opened in 1926, Woodward was horrified to learn that no art curriculum was offered. She began teaching art classes for free through the new university’s Conservatory of Music.[34] She eventually received a salary. The Conservatory closed in 1928, unable to pay the academic staff. For years afterward, Woodward wrote letters to the university president, begging for some reimbursement as her financial support had disappeared.[35]

Well into her eighties, Woodward was active in the arts in Florida, volunteering at local arts and crafts centers, painting, and writing articles (none of which survived). In Coral Gables, Woodward was a charter member in establishing the local

  1. ^ Dunlap, David W. (2015). Building Provincetown. Provincetown, Mass.: Town of Provincetown and Provincetown Historical Commission. p. 72. 
  2. ^ Denker, Ellen (2004). Byrdcliffe: An American Arts and Crafts Colony. Ithaca, New York: Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art. p. 106. 
  3. ^ Marquis, Albert Nelson. "Woodward, Dewing". Who Was Who in New England 1: 1039. 
  4. ^ Pollack, Deborah C. "Dewing Woodward, Martha". New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture. 21: Art and Architecture: 288–89. 
  5. ^ Sieminski, Mary L. "Dewing Woodward: Williamsport's Bold Vagabond Artist". Williamsport Sun-Gazette. Williamsport Sun-Gazette. Retrieved 2014-08-23. 
  6. ^ Rees, Ralph (November 1991). "The Search for Dewing Woodward". Bucknell World: 14–15. 
  7. ^ Sieminski, Mary L. "Dewing Woodward: Williamsport's Bold Vagabond Artist". Williamsport Sun-Gazette. Williamsport Sun-Gazette. Retrieved 2014-08-23. 
  8. ^ Rees, Ralph (November 1991). "The Search for Dewing Woodward". Bucknell World: 14–15. 
  9. ^ Sieminski, Mary L. "Dewing Woodward: Williamsport's Bold Vagabond Artist". Williamsport Sun-Gazette. Williamsport Sun-Gazette. Retrieved 2014-08-23. 
  10. ^ "Dewing Woodward, A Noted Painter, 94". New York Times. Obituary. 1950-07-14. 
  11. ^ Sieminski, Mary L. "Dewing Woodward: Williamsport's Bold Vagabond Artist". Williamsport Sun-Gazette. Williamsport Sun-Gazette. Retrieved 2014-08-23. 
  12. ^ Rees, Ralph (November 1991). "The Search for Dewing Woodward". Bucknell World: 14–15. 
  13. ^ Rees, Ralph (November 1991). "The Search for Dewing Woodward". Bucknell World: 14–15. 
  14. ^ "Art Demand Growing: Several Sales Expected at Charcoal Club Exhibit" (vol. CLII issue 100 sec. 3). Baltimore Sun. GenealogyBank.com. 2004. 
  15. ^ Rees, Ralph (November 1991). "The Search for Dewing Woodward". Bucknell World: 14–15. 
  16. ^ Sieminski, Mary L. "Dewing Woodward: Williamsport's Bold Vagabond Artist". Williamsport Sun-Gazette. Williamsport Sun-Gazette. Retrieved 2014-08-23. 
  17. ^ Rees, Ralph (November 1991). "The Search for Dewing Woodward". Bucknell World: 14–15. 
  18. ^ Pollack, Deborah C. (2015). Visual Art and the Urban Evolution of the New South. University of South Carolina. p. 260. 
  19. ^ Rees, Ralph (November 1991). "The Search for Dewing Woodward". Bucknell World: 14–15. 
  20. ^ Couch, Del Deo Josephine (1994). Figures in a Landscape: The Life and times of the American Painter, Ross Moffett, 1888-1971. Virginia Beach, VA: Donning. p. 24. 
  21. ^ Dunlap, David W. (2015). Building Provincetown. Provincetown, Mass.: Town of Provincetown and Provincetown Historical Commission. p. 72. 
  22. ^ Dunlap, David W. (2015). Building Provincetown. Provincetown, Mass.: Town of Provincetown and Provincetown Historical Commission. p. 72. 
  23. ^ Sieminski, Mary L. "Dewing Woodward: Williamsport's Bold Vagabond Artist". Williamsport Sun-Gazette. Williamsport Sun-Gazette. Retrieved 2014-08-23. 
  24. ^ "Antiques Burned with Artist's Bungalow" (issue 24257 ed. 3). Boston Journal. 12/7/1907. 
  25. ^ Sieminski, Mary L. "Dewing Woodward: Williamsport's Bold Vagabond Artist". Williamsport Sun-Gazette. Williamsport Sun-Gazette. Retrieved 2014-08-23. 
  26. ^ Johnson, Louise (1917). Blue Dome Fellowship: An Association of Artists and Students Affiliated for Mutual Benefits in the Study of Light and Color Under the Open Sky (pamphlet ed.). Shady, New York: Blue Dome Fraternity. 
  27. ^ Pollack, Deborah C. (2015). Visual Art and the Urban Evolution of the New South. University of South Carolina. p. 260. 
  28. ^ "Dewing Woodward, A Noted Painter, 94". New York Times. Obituary. 1950-07-14. 
  29. ^ Rees, Ralph (November 1991). "The Search for Dewing Woodward". Bucknell World: 14–15. 
  30. ^ Horner, Pat. "The Blue Dome Fraternity – A Niche in Creation". Woodstock, New York Colony of the Arts. Woodstock Guide. 
  31. ^ Sieminski, Mary L. "Dewing Woodward: Williamsport's Bold Vagabond Artist". Williamsport Sun-Gazette. Williamsport Sun-Gazette. Retrieved 2014-08-23. 
  32. ^ Evers, Alf (1987). The Blue Dome, Hervey White and the Maverick. Woodstock, New York: Overlook. p. 38. 
  33. ^ Rees, Ralph (November 1991). "The Search for Dewing Woodward". Bucknell World: 14–15. 
  34. ^ Rees, Ralph (November 1991). "The Search for Dewing Woodward". Bucknell World: 14–15. 
  35. ^ Rees, Ralph (November 1991). "The Search for Dewing Woodward". Bucknell World: 14–15. 
  36. ^ Pollack, Deborah C. (2015). Visual Art and the Urban Evolution of the New South. University of South Carolina. p. 260. 
  37. ^ Rees, Ralph (November 1991). "The Search for Dewing Woodward". Bucknell World: 14–15. 
  38. ^ Rees, Ralph (November 1991). "The Search for Dewing Woodward". Bucknell World: 14–15. 
  39. ^ Rees, Ralph (November 1991). "The Search for Dewing Woodward". Bucknell World: 14–15. 
  40. ^ Sieminski, Mary L. "Dewing Woodward: Williamsport's Bold Vagabond Artist". Williamsport Sun-Gazette. Williamsport Sun-Gazette. Retrieved 2014-08-23. 
  41. ^ Pollack, Deborah C. (2015). Visual Art and the Urban Evolution of the New South. University of South Carolina. p. 260. 
  42. ^ "Dewing Woodward, A Noted Painter, 94". New York Times. Obituary. 1950-07-14. 
  43. ^ Sieminski, Mary L. "Dewing Woodward: Williamsport's Bold Vagabond Artist". Williamsport Sun-Gazette. Williamsport Sun-Gazette. Retrieved 2014-08-23. 
  44. ^ [1]
  45. ^ Rees, Ralph (November 1991). "The Search for Dewing Woodward". Bucknell World: 14–15. 

References

Mary Sieminski, a local historian in Williamsport, recently has been compiling a comprehensive bibliography of articles, books, and paintings by or about Woodward.

Her paintings can be found at the Baltimore Museum of Art, University of Miami, Sub-Treasury Department in Washington D.C., Deschanel Collection in Paris, and at the James V. Brown Library and Lycoming County Historical Society in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

In 1991, the Bucknell University Association for the Arts honored Woodward with the Academy of Artistic Achievement[44] award.[45]

Woodward, "one of the nation’s leading painters" died on July 12, 1950 after a brief illness at the age of 94.[42] The New York Times obituary mentions that she was survived by a grandnephew, Charles D. Woodward of Fort Wayne, Indiana. Her cremated remains were buried in the family plot at Wildwood Cemetery in Williamsport.[43]

Death

In the 1930s, Woodward was hired by the Works Progress Administration to paint murals in public buildings to bring culture to the public. They also commissioned her to paint miniatures of historic antiques.[39] Two of her Florida bird studies, Flamingoes and Great Blue Herons, were chosen by Eleanor Roosevelt to hang in the Sub-Treasury Building in Washington D.C.[40] Woodward’s Golden Warblers painting was hung in the Coral Gables Biltmore Hotel when it opened in 1926, and the Miami Woman’s Club also housed her Morning Song of the Pines artwork.[41]

[38] of color; for example, when a red object is held against a white background, then pulled away, the afterimage is green. She felt that this reality condoned any adjustment in such color codes.afterimages Woodward was also the author of Colour, an art magazine, in which she discussed her color theories. She was interested in the “echo” theory, a phenomenon of the [37][36]

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