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 Daniel Garber  (1880 - 1958)

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Lived/Active: Pennsylvania/Ohio/Indiana / Europe      Known for: landscape, still life, and figure painting, art education

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Daniel Garber
from Auction House Records.
Byram Hills, Springtime
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
Biography from Hollis Taggart Galleries (Artists, E-O):
The American artist Daniel Garber was a leading figure in the Pennsylvania School of Landscape Painting, also known as the Pennsylvania Impressionists, a group centered around the village of New Hope in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Born in North Manchester, Indiana, Garber began his formal art training at the Art Academy of Cincinnati in 1897 where he studied for one year with landscape and figure painter Vincent Nowottny and fraternized with the followers of Frank Duveneck known as the “Duveneck Boys.” Through the Duveneck connection, Garber was exposed to less academic influences, and he adopted the Impressionist aesthetics of the Ten American Painters upon that group’s showing in Cincinnati in 1898. Garber continued his studies in the summers of 1899 and 1900 at the Darby School in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania. There the emphasis was upon landscape painting, and his teachers Hugh Breckenridge and Thomas Anshutz encouraged their students to experiment. From 1899 until 1905 Garber studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia under Anshutz, William Merritt Chase, and Cecilia Beaux. Garber took many of his classes at night to accommodate his work as an illustrator, commercial artist, and portrait painter. Such work included displays for department stores and cover designs for "McClure’s," "Scribner’s," "Harper’s Bazaar," and "The Century" magazines.

Soon Garber’s easel paintings began to attract favorable notice. In 1902 two of his portraits were accepted into the Pennsylvania Academy’s annual exhibition; two years later his painting, "The Aged Sycamore," was exhibited at the National Academy of Design. His success was strengthened in 1905 when his work was included in the spring exhibition of the Society of American Artists and he received the Cresson Traveling Scholarship from the Pennsylvania Academy, which enabled him to travel in Europe for two years. He visited England, France, and Italy and his signature style began to emerge, characterized by the representation of sunlight with a broad spectrum of pastel and bright colors.

Returning to the United States, Garber and his wife Mary Franklin Garber settled on the Kenderdine Homestead, near Lumberville, Pennsylvania, which was purchased for them by Mary’s father. Garber renamed his home Cuttalossa after the creek that was adjacent to the property. Not far from his home, Garber could look across the Delaware River to the great stone quarries at Byram, New Jersey, which he often painted. Garber created a style of landscape painting characterized by romanticized, representational imagery. These scenes, often overlaid with extensive surface patterning, are dominated by blues, greens, and rich yellows. In his compositions, Garber often used a screening device of trees and vines with a sweeping vista behind. Garber was as talented a figure painter as he was a landscapist. He incorporated figures into many of his landscapes and, particularly in the period 1908-1924, he used the figure as his primary subject, in such works as the finely wrought canvas, "Mending" (1918, Woodmere Art Museum, Philadelphia).

Garber’s work earned gold medals at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1911, 1919, and 1937; the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, held in San Francisco in 1915; and at the Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1921. He received numerous other awards and prizes from the National Academy of Design, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Art Club of Philadelphia, and other institutions over the course of his distinguished career.

In addition to his accomplishments as a painter, Garber was a gifted teacher. In 1904 he taught at the Philadelphia School of Design for Women; for over forty years (1909-1950) he served on the faculty of the Pennsylvania Academy.

Works by Garber are housed in important public collections, including the Cincinnati Art Museum; Art Institute of Chicago; Detroit Institute of Arts; James A. Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, Pennsylvania; Indianapolis Museum of Art; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; the Saint Louis Art Museum; National Gallery of Art and the Phillips Collection, both in Washington, D. C.; and the Woodmere Art Museum, Philadelphia.

© Copyright 2007 Hollis Taggart Galleries

Biography from The Columbus Museum of Art, Georgia:
Daniel Garber was born in 1880 to a Mennonite farm family near North Manchester, Indiana.  In 1897 he left to study art with Vincent Nowottny at the Art Academy of Cincinnati*, Ohio. He went on to study with High Breckenridge at the Darby School* in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, in the summers of 1899 and 1900.  Between 1899 and 1905, Garber enrolled at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts* in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he studied with William Merritt Chase, Julian Alden Weir and Cecilia Beaux.

He was awarded a Cresson Traveling Fellowship* to England, France, and Italy between 1905-1907.  In 1909 he returned to the Pennsylvanian Academy of Fine Arts* as a member of the faculty.  He taught painting and drawing there for the next 41 years, and was notorious for his high expectations of his students.

Garber illustrated books and magazines, including the collected works of Theodore Roosevelt.  He was also a printmaker and was awarded several solo exhibitions of his drawings, etchings and prints.  He began to receive national prominence for his paintings after winning the Hallgarten Prize* from the National Academy of Design in 1909. He was elected Academician of the National Academy in 1913.

Known as one of the most original of the Pennsylvania Impressionists*, Garber depicted the quarries, woods and Delaware River valley of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and the Lambertville and Lumberville areas of New Jersey. (1) He painted large plein-aire* landscapes conceived in two quite different but overlapping modes that appear to have evolved simultaneously.  The first is depicted realistically, showing evidence of human occupation on the land. Concern for the subtle nuances of shape and detail emanate from the painting with an almost radiant glow. (2) 

It is with his other mode however, that he formed his signature style: highly decorative, with trees constructed in a stitch-like pattern and woven throughout the composition.  In these paintings the artist often departs from the traditional, panoramic format of the landscape painting, employing square, or nearly square, painting dimensions. (3)

Art historian William Gerdts believes that Garber's two modes exemplify the primary directions that American Post-Impressionist* painting took in the second decade of the 20th century, making the artist's position quite significant in the development of Modernism. (4)

Garber was granted 29 major prizes and medals for his painting during his lifetime. He was a member of the American Institute of Arts and Letters* and was elected to both the Salmagundi Club* and the National Arts Club*.

He died in 1958 at his home, "Cuttalossa," along the banks of the Delaware River in Lumberville, New Jersey. (5)


Sources include:

1. Kathleen Foster, Daniel Garber 1880-1958 (Philadelphia: Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, 1980), Exhibition Catalogue.

2. William H. Gerdts, American Impressionism, (New York: Abbeville Press, 1984), 237.

3. William Gerdts, "The Square Format and Proto-Modernism in American Painting," Arts 50, no. 70 (June 1976), 70-75.

4. Ibid, 237.

5. The reader is encouraged to consult an upcoming catalogue raissoné of the artist, published under the auspices of Hollis Taggert Gallery, New York, written by Dr. Lane Humphries with essays by other art historians.  See also the section on Garber in Thomas Folk, The Pennsylvania Impressionists, (Cranbury, NJ: Associated University Press, 1997).


Submitted by the staff, Columbus Museum

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Daniel Garber is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
Impressionists Pre 1940
San Francisco Panama-Pacific Exhibition 1915



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