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 William Samuel Horton  (1865 - 1936)

About: William Samuel Horton
 

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Lived/Active: New York/Michigan / France      Known for: landscape, beach figures, still life painting

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Ad Code: 2
William Samuel Horton
from Auction House Records.
On the Sands, Broadstairs
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
A landscape painter, William Horton lived and worked primarily in Paris where he was a member of the Societe Moderne, the Societe Internationale, and the Salon d'Automne. He was a wealthy man and a friend of artists who became famous such as Monet and Degas and other Impressionists.

He was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan and was raised in North Dakota. His first art-related job was as an illustrator for "Northwest Magazine." Disinherited by his family because of his commitment to art, he studied first at the Art Institute of Chicago and then at the Art Student's League and the National Academy of Design in New York. He married in 1892, and the couple went to Paris where he enrolled in the Academy Julian and where they lived the remainder of their lives, becoming very active in the American-French art community and exhibiting regularly in the salons.

Between 1926 and 1928, on a return to the United States, he did a series of views of New York skyscrapers because he was inspired by their appearance of establishing the position of human beings on the earth.

When he died, his estate had over 1000 oils and pastels and watercolors.

Partial Source:
Peter Falk, "Who Was Who in American Art"

Biography from Pierce Galleries, Inc.:
WILLIAM S. HORTON (American, 1865-1936):

William S. Horton’s thick, luscious brushwork is more French than it is American. He secretly painted from the age of seven and when his wealthy parents destroyed his canvases and threw away his paints that did not deter his ambition to become a painter of importance.

Horton was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and grew up in Lisbon, North Dakota. During his teens, he left home to study at the Art Institute of Chicago. He then traveled to Paris to study at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and returned to New York City to study at the Art Students League. In 1895, he went back to Paris to study with Jean-Paul Laurens and Benjamin Constant at the Academie Julian and became a close colleague of Impressionists Claude Monet, Pissarro, Whistler and Derain.

He exhibited regularly at the Paris Salon by 1914. In 1917 he painted in England and often returned to the U.S., but the artist preferred Paris and London as environs in which to live and paint.

As the art critic Henri Fritsch Estrangin said, “Horton’s work is a feast of color and light—(He) compares to Turner in his symphonic tendencies.” Like Monet, Horton painted a subject repeatedly (like snowscapes in Gstaad and Montana) in order to capture a scene’s essence in every light. Horton spent the majority of his professional life abroad and was loyal to the technical achievements of the French Impressionists. A critic of Paris Soir stated, “He has been the first American artist to educate himself with the Impressionists and to be their best disciple,” but that was not true because others had done the same prior to Horton (Tarbell, Benson, Hassam, Enneking, Robinson, Wendel).

Horton was a member of the New York Watercolor Society; Salmagundi Club; American Federation of Art; Society International; Salon d’ Automne of Paris and other art clubs, but he remained somewhat distant from clubs and exhibitions, preferring to paint in nature hours on end. In 1892 he married debutante Miss Lorrie Gray, a well-to-do member of New York Society. Having enough money to live comfortably, Horton concentrated on painting and developed an individualistic style that cannot be mistaken for anyone else’s palette. His work is energetic, vibrant and confident. When he died in London in 1936 there were more than 1,000 paintings in his studio.

His work is represented at the Musee Carnavalet, Paris; The National Museum of Stockholm; the National Museum, Washington, D.C.; Terra Museum, IL; Colby College, ME; Bradford Museum, England; Luxembourg Museum; Musee du Jeu de Paume; and more. In 1939, the Galerie Charpentier of Paris gave Horton a retrospective. His work was purchased by collectors and museums worldwide. Since that time, Knoedler’s (NY), Vose Galleries of Boston, Hammer Galleries (NY) and other art galleries have held solo exhibitions of oils, pastels and watercolors by William S. Horton.

Patricia Jobe Pierce

Biography from Schiller & Bodo European Paintings:
A sophisticated and cosmopolitan painter and pastellist, William S. Horton moved among the most influential artistic circles of his day, forming friendships with painters such as Monet, Degas and Derain and exhibiting at some of the most well known art galleries of New York and Paris.  Born in Michigan, Horton was raised in a wealthy family, leaving him free to study, paint and travel extensively.  He began his studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where John H. Vanderpoel and George Bellows were instructors, and continued at the Art Students League and the National Academy of Design in New York.  Horton made his exhibition debut in 1888 at the National Academy, and within two years was also exhibiting in Boston and Philadelphia.

In 1893 he moved to Paris, where he continued his studies at the Académie Julian with Benjamin Constant and J. P. Laurens until 1896.  It was during his time in Paris that Horton developed the lush, fluid brushwork and harmonious, vivid color that typifies his work.  Influenced by the Impressionists and the innovations of the Post-Impressionist generation, Horton began to paint his sparkling landscapes en plein air, focusing his attention on the qualities of light, atmosphere and reflection.  Like Monet, he painted a subject repeatedly at different times of the day or year, capturing a scene in its various moods.  A confident draftsman who painted with a quick brushstroke and vibrant palette, Horton crossed between traditional and avant-garde circles, exhibiting at the Paris Salon at the Champ du Mars, as well and the more Modernist-oriented Salon d’Automne.  In addition, he gained representation and mounted numerous solo shows at Galerie George Petit, one of the leading Impressionist dealers of Paris.

Although Horton was active in American art organizations and exhibitions, he spent most of his career living between London and Paris.  He traveled extensively, making summer trips to Venice and winter trips to Switzerland, capturing the qualities of light on the canals or on the snowy Alps.  His travels broadened after the death of his wife in 1932, and Horton’s oeuvre includes glowing scenes of Scandinavia, India, China, and Cuba.

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William Horton is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
New York Armory Show of 1913



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