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 Arthur Vidal Diehl  (1870 - 1929)

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Lived/Active: Massachusetts/New York / England      Known for: sand dune landscape, beach and marine painting

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Ad Code: 3
Arthur Vidal Diehl
from Auction House Records.
Florida River View
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Best known for his sand dune and harbor scenes of Cape Cod, Arthur Diehl was born in England and exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1899. He came to America in the 1890s and became so associated with Cape Cod that Fox Movietone in 1921 made a short movie of him painting at Provincetown.

He also had studies in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey; Boston, Worcester, and Truro, Massachusetts; and St. Augustine, Florida.

He worked rapidly, often finishing his paintings as he talked to prospective buyers. He was also a talented singer and piano player.

Peter Falk, Who Was Who in American Art

Biography from POCOCK Fine Art & Antiques:
Born in England to an artistic family, Arthur Diehl by age 19 had abandoned his education at Oxford University to explore the Continent, for a period studying painting in Milan, Italy.  He returned to England, establishing a studio in London.  In 1889 Diehl exhibited a painting titled The Quay, at Aldeburgh at the Royal Academy.

In 1891 Diehl travelled to the United States. Among his many jobs in the arts as a singer, actor and musician, Diehl also decorated piecework, such as snuffbox tops, to make ends meet.  By the turn of the century, he had established studios in Englewood cliffs (1905-09), then Lakewood and Asbury Park (1909-13), New Jersey.

By 1912 and possibly through an introduction from friends in the theater, Diehl and his third wife spent their summers on Cape Cod in Truro (1912-13) and Provincetown (1914-20) where Diehl established studios.  He was known to paint rapidly on small canvasses usually composing his scenes from memory and entertaining onlookers as he painted, who in turn would often buy the works he completed right before them.

Catering to tourists drawn to the Cape each summer as well as visitors to his studios, Diehl was indifferent to artistic reputation and happy to sustain his family through his painting.  During the winter months, he would also reside in Saint Augustine, Florida (1920-23), repeating the formula of his northern success, while still maintaining studios in Massachusetts and Hartford (1924-26) and New Haven (1926-1928), Connecticut.

Diehl died in Falls River, MA, in 1929.

Who Was Who in American Art
(Peter Hastings Falk - Sound View Press 1999)
The Dictionary of British Artists 1880-1940 (J. Johnson & A Greutzner - Antique Collector's Club)
The Dictionary of Victorian Painters, 2nd Edition (Christopher Wood - Antique Collector's Club) Biography on the artist.
Biography on the artist as published on, Provincetown Art Association and Museum Archives

Biography from Provincetown Art Association And Museum:
Arthur Vidal Diehl was born in London in 1870, the youngest of 6 children. His father was the director of an Opera company and his mother a published novelist. Fabled to have conducted his father's orchestra at 16, by the time he was 19 he had abandoned his education at Oxford University and gone off to roam around Europe stopping briefly to study painting in Milan. He exhibited at the Royal Academy in London before leaving for the US in 1891, where he arrived broke but in possession of a wealth of talents.

He turned to piecework in order to make some money, painting the tops of snuff boxes was one of the jobs he took, but he was also able to pick up work singing, acting, directing and playing music. His first wife died young in 1894 and he was married again by the time he went on tour with the Barrymores. At this time he established his studio in Englewood, then Lakewood, then Asbury Park, New Jersey. Unfortunately his second wife died in 1903.

It was possibly through his theatrical connections that he eventually arrived in Provincetown in 1912 with his third wife. He summered on Cape Cod every year after that until his death in 1929. His first studio was at the Pamet Coast Guard Station in Truro. He later had a studio in the Provincetown Art Shop, where he painted swiftly under the gaze of many onlookers, while he kept up a stream of comment. He is said to have been able to produce up to 25 paintings in a day and he always sold them directly and never to dealers. Diehl was always completely indifferent to price and artistic reputation, and painted voluminously as the only way to assure an income for his family.

He was in Provincetown when World War 1 broke out and he tried to enlist in the British Army in Boston but was deemed to old for service. Instead he wrote a patriotic book of poems called Tommy Rhymes which was written in cockney slang as a salute to his old home and friends. The end came on January 12th at the Truesdale Hospital in Fall River. Arthur Diehl is buried in the Moody lot at Gray Gables cemetary in Bourne.

From the artist archives of The Provincetown Art Association & Museum

Biography from Outer Cape Auctions:
Diehl, Arthur Vidal

Biography:  (1870-1929) Largely self-taught. Exhibited at the Royal Academy, 1899. Progress Expo, Ct. 1927. 

He came to New York in 1891 penniless and painted snuff box tops and such.

Listed in AskArt and Who's Who, but never sold in gallery or dealer. 

Fox Movietone made a short movie of Diehl painting and talking in Provincetown.  Had a recent exhibitions/retrospective of his at the Cahoon Museum., 2008.

Submitted by Thomas Dreiling, Researcher and collector of work by the artist

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