1877 (New York City)
1953 (Paris, France)
New York / France
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landscape, portrait, figure, marine
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San Francisco Panama-Pacific Exhibition 1915
|This biography from the Archives of AskART:|
|The following biography is based on information provided by Pierre Ullman, son of the artist, in his introduction to an exhibition catalogue "Process and Repose" of the artist's work at the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee, April 2000: |
Eugene Ullman was primarily a representational painter although he experimented with other styles, and his heyday was the early part of the 20th century. His subjects were portrait, figure and landscape. He had independent income so was not dependent upon outside approval of his artwork to make money---in other words, he stayed with his own credo.
Ullman was born in New York City to German immigrant parents and as a child, he did many drawings of horses, ships, and horse-drawn carriages. Walter Griffin, a regional painter, recognized and fostered his early talent as did his own mother.
He attended Columbia University Grammar School, which was a training school for teachers in New York City. To please his father, he then spent a year at Packard Business School and spent the following year working in his father's factory. But it became apparent that Eugene Ullman was destined to be an artist. He studied at the William Merritt Chase School of Art, where he later became a teacher, and subsequently did a full-size portrait of Chase. He also studied with Chase at the Shinnecock Summer School on Long Island.
His reputation grew steadily before World War I, and a critic for "The World Magazine" wrote: 'Eugene Paul Ullman has a field practically to himself among the Americans. . . they do not fail to attract attention for they show the painter to be a master of technique and an exquisite colorist."
He married twice, the first wife being novelist Alice Wood, one of his students, and they had two sons, Allen and Paul. Allen became a sculptor and painter, and Paul a painter-illustrator. The couple divorced in 1923, and Ullman married Suzanne Lioni in 1927. They had a son, Pierre in 1929.
Ullman spent most of his career in France from 1899 and lived as an expatriate much longer than most of his artist peers, only returning to the United States during World War II. During World War I, he worked to aid French artists caught in occupied territories, often sending them money. He also returned briefly to the United States and took preliminary training so he could become an ambulance driver. He served as a volunteer carpenter and handyman in the American Ambulance Hospital at Neuilly. He and sculptor Cecil Howard founded the Four Arts Aid Association, which sent help to French artists until the United States entered the war and then continued the activity for some time after liberation.
Before Ullman left for Europe, Chase gave him an introduction to John Singer Sargent, and he also briefly attended James Whistler's atelier but left after a week because he found Whistler's method "too dark." Ullman also traveled on the continent with Chase and completed a full-length portrait of Chase that was purchased by the French government for the Musee de Luxembourg. It shows the artist with a cane, wearing pince-nez, spats, gloves and a top hat.
In France, Ullman associated with prominent literary figures including Gertrude Stein, whose introduction was made by Alfred Maurer, Booth Tarkington, and Arnold Bennett. He also exhibited widely in American including the National Academy of Design, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.
During the 1940s, Ullman and his family lived in Westport, Connecticut, but they returned to France in 1949. Suzanne died in 1950, and the artist sold the Westport home and remained in France until his death on April 20, 1953 at the age of 76.
Pierre Ullman, son of the artist, has written an article about Eugene Ullman. The title is "Eugene Paul Ullman and the Paris Expatriates," and it was reprinted in "Twentieth Century Literary Criticism, Topics Volume 98 (Farmington Hills, MI:Gale Group, 2001), pp. 38-49.
The papers of the artist are in the Kellen Archives of the Parsons School of Design of The New School University.
PAINTINGS WIDELY REPRODUCED
The Arnold Bennetts at Home in Fontainebleau (1903), owned by PLU.
Portraits of Ezra Pound and Margaret Cravens (1911), owned by H. Boone
Lady at the Buffet (1906).
Portrait of Mrs. Booth Tarkington (1906), whereabouts unknown.
Bronze Medal, St. Louis Exposition, 1904.
Second Prize, Worcester Art Museum, 1905.
First Class Medal, Orléans (1905).
Temple Gold Medal, 1906.
Silver Medal, Panama Canal Exposition, San Francisco (1915).
E. P. Ullman also received the honor of associate membership in the Société des
Beaux-Arts, unusual for a foreigner. Nevertheless, he later resigned in protest of their policy toward the avant-garde artists of the younger generation. Who Was Who in American Art (1999) states that EPU won a medal at the St. Louis World's Fair in 1924.
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