The Fuller Building, 41 East 57th Street, 9th Floor New York City, NY 10022 , United States Call Seller 212.535.8810

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Portrait of a Young Woman in White Blouse

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  • Description
    Few artists are more closely affiliated with a city than Carroll Sargent Tyson is with Philadelphia. Born and raised there, he received his early training at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, studying under such prominent local figures as William Merritt Chase, Cecilia Beaux, and Thomas Anshutz. Aside from a two-year period abroad, during which he studied in Munich and Paris, Tyson maintained a lifelong residence in Philadelphia. He was a member of the Art Club of Philadelphia, held a fellowship at the Pennsylvania Academy, and exhibited there in fifty-one consecutive annual exhibitions, from 1904 through 1954. He also was a member of the Society of Independent Artists and, in 1941, he was elected an Associate Member of the National Academy of Design, New York, to be followed in 1944 by full membership.

    Tyson maintained a summer residence in Northeast Harbor, Maine, from which the subjects of many of his paintings were drawn. He worked in an impressionist manner, painting hillside landscapes, barns, and figure pieces, in a style alternately reminiscent of Pissarro and Renoir. He exhibited these pictures in the winter season, mostly in Philadelphia, receiving great praise and winning numerous awards. Among these were the Sesnan Gold Medal, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 1915; Bronze Medal, Panama-Pacific International Exposition, San Francisco, 1915; Gold Medal, Art Club of Philadelphia, 1930; Carnegie Prize for the Most Meritorious Painting by an American at the 118th Annual Exhibition of the National Academy of Design, New York, 1944; and the Chevalier Cross of the Legion of Honor of the French Government.

    Tyson was fascinated by ornithology. In 1918, perhaps inspired by Audubon’s famous The Birds of North America, Tyson began painting watercolors of birds, both from nature and from stuffed specimens, choosing particularly those associated with his Maine environs, both native and migratory. Over the years, Tyson painted about 200 different birds, eventually publishing 20 of them in a large folio in 1934–35, in a limited edition of 250, after which the plates were destroyed.

    In 1927, the Durand-Ruel Gallery in New York held a major exhibition of Tyson’s oils and pastels. It was followed by exhibitions at the Wildenstein Gallery, New York, in 1936 and 1946, in which some of the famous North American bird watercolors were included. The Philadelphia Museum of Art held a two-man show of the work of Tyson and his friend, George Biddle, in 1947. Also in that year, Tyson had a one-man show at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Tyson also exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and the Corcoran Gallery, Washington, D.C. His works are in the collections of the Pennsylvania Academy and Philadelphia Museum, as well as numerous distinguished private collections.

    Tyson, along with his wife, Helen, was an avid collector of paintings, with a particular taste for FrenchImpressionism. They bought together, and one of their friends was Felix Wildenstein, who advised them along with the celebrated Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer. Among the works in Tyson’s important collection were several Cézannes and Renoirs, one of Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, a Manet, two Monets, a Degas, a Sisley, and a Poussin, David, and Goya. In 1963, twenty-two of these masterpieces were given, as the Tyson Collection, to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, on whose board Tyson had served for more than twenty years.

    While Tyson earned a reputation as a painter of landscapes, from 1908 through 1913 he painted a series of portraits of (mostly) women, which he exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. The last female portrait in this series is significant. In 1912, Tyson exhibited his Portrait of Miss Helen Roebling (formerly with Hirschl & Adler Galleries, New York). Roebling, who lived in nearby Trenton, was a member of the famous civil engineer’s family. Artist and subject made a perfect match, evidently, because, according to the social page of a local paper, “they were married before the paint was dry” (as quoted in Louis Madiera [the artist’s son-in-law], Carroll S. Tyson, 1878–1956: A Retrospective Exhibition [1974], n.p.). Roebling’s was the last female portrait that Tyson exhibited.

    The present portrait shows an elegant young woman, dressed in a crisp white Edwardian blouse, bristling with self assurance as her straightforward gaze meets the viewer. Tyson, the son of a lawyer, was a cousin of painter John Singer Sargeant. Later in his life, in addition to his painting, Tyson served on the boards of the Zoological Society of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Fairmont Park Association, and the Skin and Cancer Hospital of Philadelphia. He was also a director of the Phoenix Iron Company, the Little Schuylkill Navigation & Coal Company and the Delaware & Bound Brook Railroad Company. These social, family, and financial connections doubtless facilitated the access of a young artist to society portrait subjects. He paints his subject here with all the skill and panache that years of study in America and Europe imparted.
  • More Information
    Documentation: Signed
    Notes: Signed (at upper left) Carroll S.Tyson Jr. (upper right) 1909
    Period: 1900-1919
    Materials: Oil on canvas
    Creation Date: 1909
    Styles / Movements: Impressionism
    Dealer Reference #: APG 16484D.07
    Incollect Reference #: 372932
  • Dimensions
    W. 25 in; H. 30 in;
    W. 63.5 cm; H. 76.2 cm;
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