1912 (Denver, Colorado)
1992 (Braintree, Massachusetts)
Often Known For
portrait, figure and floral still life painting
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|This biography from the Archives of AskART:|
|The following biography, submitted March 2007, is from Sharon Louise Low Stein, daughter of the artist.|
Boston School painter Lawrence Gordon Low is known for his portraits,
figures studies and floral still life. Many of his portraits are
of his Norwegian wife, Myrtle Ruud (or Rood), and a Madonna portrait
for which she served as model is in St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in
Delmar, New York.
Lawrence Gordon Low was born on October 21, 1912, in Denver,
Colorado. His parents were Bertha Morton Low and Harry R. Low, a
mining engineer trained at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in
Boston. Within a few years, Lawrence, his parents and siblings
moved to the Low home city of Brockton, Massachusetts, where Harry
joined the family shoebox manufacturing business. Lawrence’s
paternal grandfather, Emery M. Low, was the former Mayor of Brockton,
Massachusetts. Lawrence’s sister, Doris L. Low, lives on Martha’s
Vineyard in Massachusetts.
Lawrence Low attended local Brockton schools, demonstrating an early
artistic bent. As a boy he began a printing business.
Leaving public school, he studied in four Boston academies:
Exeter School of Art, Miller-Davis School of Art, Scott Garbee School
of Art, and Designers Art School. Lawrence Low is considered part
of the Boston School of Realism. Among his teachers in painting
and anatomy were Bernard M. Keyes, Elmer Wesley Greene, Jr., Arthur
Dallin (killed in France in WWII), and Marvin Julian. Low studied
design with Elisa Sargent.
Low taught drawing and painting for one year before joining other young
artists in the 1930s on a European tour, visiting galleries, museums,
cathedrals and studios in France and England.
Returning to the Boston area, Low sought a career as a portrait
painter, a difficult pursuit in a time of depression and wide-spread
use of photography for portraiture. But among prominent
sitters in the late 1930s were Judges Joseph R. McCoole and Lloyd
Chamberlain as well as bankers R. Briggs and Harold Martin. To
supplement his income, Low began to design greeting cards, working for
Rust Craft Publishers in Boston and later freelancing. He
continued, however, to the end of his life, to paint in oils.
He painted the profile of a woman in a yellow scarf, a painting which
resembles a Vermeer. The Virginia Beach Library in Virginia owns
three presidential portraits by Low (Washington, Jefferson and
Lincoln), which are on display in the 1980s. The New York State
Museum exhibited a Low painting, The Reflection, as part of a
late 1980s exhibit on mirrors. This painting now belongs to Low’s
granddaughter Lauren D. Gill in Watertown, Massachusetts. Other
family paintings belong to Low’s granddaughter Melanie C. Ernst and his
daughter, Sharon Low Stein, in Clarksville, NY. Another grandchild,
Christopher S. Gill, lives nearby in Feura Bush, NY. There are
now five great-grandchildren.
Lawrence Low had two children, Gregory Gordon Low (1937-2002) and
Sharon Louise Low Stein (b. 1942). Lawrence loved classical
music, playing the violin (which he gave up in favor of painting) and
the piano (which provided a diversion to the end of his life). He
enjoyed tennis. In later life, in the 1960s, he married again and
was happily married to Carolina DiCicco for many years.
An Episcopalian, Lawrence Low died at his home, where his painting studio was, on August 15, 1992.
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