EDMUND W. GREACEN
1876 – 1949
Title: "Tea Time"
Date: c. 1907
Size: Height 40 ½" Width 48"
Known as "The Giverny Group", Edmund Greacen along with Frieseke, Miller, Parker, Rose and Anderson were also known as "Luminists" when they showed together in 1909. Greacen was regarded as a first generation Giverny Impressionist having stayed there in 1907.
Greacen was born in New York to Scottish-immigrant parents in 1876. His father was an entrepreneur in the shoe business, and his work ethic would greatly influence Greacen. After graduating from New York University in 1894, he travelled extensively to exotic locales. Greacen married Ethol Booth who was a fellow artist in 1904 and a son was born in Paris in 1906. After following his instructor William Merritt Chase to Spain in 1905, Greacen spent the years 1907–1909 at the artist colony in Giverny, France where he learned the impressionist technique. In the summer of 1907 the family rented a house in Giverny near the home of Claude Monet. Greacen only met the painter once, but was greatly influenced by the artist as well as the paintings of water lilies he was creating. While at Giverny the couple's daughter was born in 1909. Later in 1909, Greacen returned home to the United States and joined a colony of American impressionists in Old Lyme, Connecticut. The Lyme Art Colony, centered around Florence Griswold's home, attracting artists during this period because of the inspiring local scenery. Also, the colony emitted a similar ambience to that of Giverny, which Greacen had so admired.
Primarily known as an impressionist, Greacen was also considered a tonalist, a term used to describe the American derivations of the French Barbizon style. Tonalist painting, in which temperament and shadow are emphasized, was led largely by George Inness and James McNeill Whistler. Greacen employed multiple methods, including traditional easel painting as well as plein-air painting to capture natural light, a very common practice among impressionists. This assisted him in capturing the essence of a fleeting moment, one of the primary goals of movement.
In 1922, Greacen, with fellow impressionists John Singer Sargent and Walter Leighton Clark, established the Painters and Sculptors Gallery Association, an artist's cooperative. In 1923, he was a founding member of the Grand Central School of Art, which he headed for twenty years, and the Grand Central Art Galleries, both in New York. He was elected an Associate Member of the National Academy of Design in 1917, and in 1935 gained full membership as an Academician. A one-man show at the reputable Macbeth Gallery in New York in 1922 was one of the highlights of his career followed by his receiving the Samuel T. Shaw Prize from the Salmagundi Club.
Examples of his work may be seen at the following museums: Butler Institute of American Art, OH; Delaware Museum of Art, DE; Florence Griswold Museum, CT; Lyman Allyn Museum, CT; Pfeil Collection-Impressionists; The Columbus Museum, GA; The Cummer Museum Of Art & Gardens, FL; The Marshall Collection; and The Newark Museum, NJ.
Exhibitions: 1906–1909 Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia; 1911 Folsom Gallery, New York (solo show); 1912, 1919Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; 1914 Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, Ohio (solo show); 1922 Macbeth Gallery, New York (solo show); 1972 The Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens, Jacksonville, Florida (retrospective).
Memberships: American Artists Professional League, American Water Color Society-Painters in Water Color, Grand Central Art Galleries, Painters and Sculptors Gallery Association, Salmagundi Club, Society of Independent Artists, The Grand Central School of Art, New York City, directed by Greacen, The National Academy of Design, The National Arts Club, and the Manhattan School of Art.
Radiant gardens shown in glorious colour tones exemplify the very best of Greacen's work. This important example of his work depicts the brilliant warmth of summer sunlight, laid on paint in blocks of pure colour and figures precisely rendered. This work is presented in pristine condition in its original period frame and is signed by the artist.