Women in the Arts

Because one of the many things that distinguishes Hawthorne Fine Art in the world of the 19th and early 20th century American paintings is our dedication to the female artists of the period, we will be writing blog posts regularly featuring women in the arts. We would like to begin this series by highlighting the beautiful paintings of Marguerite Stuber Pearson, an artist who overcame great difficulty to achieve success and whose work is currently being shown at the Rockport Art Association in the exhibition Marguerite S. Pearson: A Point of View.

Philadelphia-born Marguerite Stuber Pearson contracted polio as a teenager and was confined to a wheelchair throughout her life; however, through both talent and determination, she become an accomplished and highly successful painter.  Associated with the Boston School of painters, she studied with some of its brightest lights, including Edmund C. Tarbell, from whom she took private instruction for several years.  Tarbell once wrote to Pearson, “We are glad you uphold the Boston tradition, and we look to you to uphold it, which you have more than done and are still doing.” The Boston tradition was in many ways the forefather to classic American Impressionism, blending academic structure with energetic brushstrokes and lively colors to form a bridge between the past and future of artistic discipline, and Pearson gracefully carried on this transitional, yet cutting-edge new style.

Pearson had a successful career as a magazine illustrator before turning to painting full-time.  She soon became a respected and sought-after artist and instructor known for her figures, portraits, interiors, and still lives; many of her works were popular enough to be reproduced as prints.  Originally based in Boston, she ultimately moved to Rockport, Massachusetts, where she was still painting in her eightieth year.  The recipient of numerous prizes and medals, Pearson exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, National Academy of Design, National Arts Club, and Corcoran Gallery Biennials, to name just a few.  Her paintings are in the collections of the Georgia Museum of Art, Sheldon Museum of Art, and Washington County Museum of Art and can also be seen in many Boston and North Shore institutions.

Pearson’s most characteristic works, like those of her instructor Edmund Tarbell, often depict graceful, beautifully-dressed women posed within refined domestic interiors. The Pearson painting featured above, Contemplation, depicts a dark-haired young woman whose downcast eyes and restless hands indicate that, as the title suggests, she is lost in thought.  The tabletop on which the woman’s arms rest is ornamented with a decorative throw, a single plate, and a vase filled with pink flowers, and the white of her delicate blouse contrasts pleasingly with the painting’s dark background.  Combining an elegant bust-length portrait with a closely-observed still life, Contemplation is a demonstration of Pearson’s considerable skill in both areas.  Hawthorne Fine Art is currently offering Contemplation, and we welcome you to visit the gallery to see her in person or email us at info@hawthornefineart.com to learn more about her graceful lines and beautiful bearing.

More about Pearson’s work and her Rockport exhibition can be read in the August issue of American Art Review, which included a wonderful 8 page article on the artist.

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