Lawton S. Parker

American, 1868 - 1954
A part of the resident group of Impressionists called the Giverny Group in the early 20th century, Lawton Parker was among the better known Americans that lived at Giverny near the studio-home of Claude Monet. Under this influence, he, with solid academic training, made the transition from a career primarily focused on portrait painting to figures in landscapes. Although he was labelled an Impressionist, he stayed much closer to nature in his coloration than many of his peers in this style. He depicted his subjects in sunlight to get the effect of the light at various angles on the figures, often nude females. "His flesh tones, so conventional when seen in the subdued light of his studio, became refreshingly alive when seen in this new environment" (Zellman). In 1913, he was awarded the first medal of The Society of French Artists, which was remarkable for an American.

Parker was born in Fairfield, Michigan and first studied at the Chicago Art Institute and in 1889 went to Paris where he enrolled at the Academie Julian with William Bouguereau, Robert Fleury and later with James Whistler. He returned to New York and attended the Art Students League as a student of William Merritt Chase and Henry Siddons Mowbray and then returned to Paris for training in mural painting. In 1897, he enrolled at the Ecole des Beaux Arts with Jean Leon Gerome.

He arrived in Giverny in 1902 and became close friends with Guy Rose, Frederick Frieseke, and Richard Miller, who were also in residence there, and eventually they exhibited together in New York City, sometimes referring to themselves at The Luminists.

During World War II, Parker was held in Paris for two years by the Nazi regime until he, wearing peasant disguise, escaped into unoccupied territory. During this time, his home in Giverny was destroyed along with many of his paintings. He died in Pasadena, California in 1954.
A portrait and landscape painter, Lawton S. Parker was a member of the Giverny Group, Six relatively young American painters who, after study in Paris, fell under the spell of Claude Monet and lived and worked for a time near his studio home in Giverny, France. A solid, academic painter to begin with, Parker adopted what some called a new kind of impressionism. Despite Monet's influence, he did not see nature the same way as did the major French impressionists, nor did he use broken colors to convey a sense of light as they did. His was a more conventional approach, with his colors matched as closely as possible to those of nature.

Parker was born in Fairfield, Michigan in 1868. He started his long training at the Art Institute of Chicago, then went to Paris in 1889 to study at the Academie Julien with Bouguereau and Tony-Fleury. Back in New York City, he enrolled at the Art Students League and studied with Mowbray and William Merritt Chase. Then it was back to Paris for training in mural painting with Besnard and finally, in 1897, a stint at the Escole des Beaux Arts under Gerome. He also studied for a time with Whistler.

In 1913, Parker was the first American to be awarded the coveted Gold Medal at the Paris Salon. He died in Pasadena in 1954.

Allied Artists of America
Chicago Society of Artists
National Academy of Design
National Arts Club

Public Collections:
Art Institute of Chicago
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
National Collection, France

Biography courtesy of Roughton Galleries,
Lawton Parker studied at Acadamie Julian from 1889-90 and 1896-98, as well as Art Students League in between those years. He also studied in Paris with Whistler and was one of the few American artists who lived and worked near Monet's studio-home in Govern . Parker worked en-plein-air, the Impressionistic technique of painting outdoors to capture particular times of day and light changes. His work shows a variety of color when viewed at different angles in relation to the sun. In 1913 he was the first American awarded the coveted gold medal at the Paris Salon. Parker was seasoned professor, teaching at St. Louis School of Fine Art (1892) and New York Art School (1898-99) before opening his own academy of painting in Paris in 1900. He died in 1954.

Biography courtesy of The Caldwell Gallery,
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