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 Paul Wescott  (1904 - 1970)

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Lived/Active: Pennsylvania/Maine/Delaware/Wisconsin      Known for: skyscape and marine scene painting, teaching

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BIOGRAPHY for Paul Wescott
1904 (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)
1970 (Wilmington, Delaware)


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skyscape and marine scene painting, teaching

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Paul Wescott was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1904 and attended the Art Institute of Chicago. He also studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, where he received the Toppan Landscape Prize and the Cresson European Traveling Scholarship in 1930. Upon his return from Europe in 1932, he assumed the directorship of the art department of the Hill School in Pottstown, PA, where he taught until 1952. Wescott lived in West Chester, PA and summered at his house in Friendship, Maine.

The timelessness of his landscape and coastal paintings, always done in muted and permeating colors, achieves the quiet yet powerful tonality of nature. He was a member of the National Academy of Design, Honorary Board Member of the Chester County Art Association, and Vice President of the Fellowship of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. He exhibited extensively throughout the country at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Annuals, 1934-1968, Philadelphia Art Alliance, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, among many others. His awards include the Ranger Fund Purchase Prize, Olerig Prize, three Palmer Marine Prizes, Altman Prize, and Carnegie Prize, all from the National Academy of Design, Lambert Fund Purchase Prize, and Butler Prize from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and numerous others. Wescott died in 1970.

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Biography from William R Talbot Fine Art:
"Paul Wescott brings to canvas a sense of quiet seldom found in painting these days. He has the enviable ability to slough off the ferment of present-day living and concentrate on the peace of the sea, sky, and land. These classic concepts are . . . painted in rich, low keyed, and subtle tones. . . through quiet, controlled, and yet dramatic simplification." (Dorothy Grafly)

As a student, Wescott would have been exposed to modernist influences both at the Academy and in his studies abroad. While Wescott ultimately chose to focus on landscape painting, he adopted certain modernist qualities of abstraction and made them his own. When asked how he works, Wescott replied “ . . . to set objects in space with great clarity, simplicity, and understanding. The subject is of least importance, but it so happens that I prefer the sea.”

Paul Wescott (1904-1970) was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and attended the Art Institute of Chicago. He continued his studies at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, where he was awarded the prestigious Cresson Scholarship in 1930 for travel and study in Europe. Wescott’s early landscapes were drawn from the rural environs of Chester Springs, where the academy held its summer school. When he and his wife Alison began to summer in coastal New Brunswick (1934-39), Wescott introduced marine subjects to his work.  Later the Wescotts spent their summers in Maine, where they bought a house on Friendship Long Island in 1946. In 1952, Wescott left teaching and devoted himself to painting.  The Wescotts continued to divide their time between their homes in Maine and West Chester, Pennsylvania.

Wescott exhibited his paintings regularly and widely, most notably at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the National Academy of Design, and the Farnsworth Art Museum. His prizes included the National Academy of Design’s Edwin Palmer Prize and Benjamin Altman Prize. Paul Wescott’s paintings are held in a number of important permanent collections including the William A. Farnsworth Library and Art Museum, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Butler Institute of American Art, the University of Delaware, and the Delaware Art Museum.

Refs.: Pamela J. Belanger, Maine in America: American Art at The Farnsworth Art Museum (Rockland: Farnsworth Art Museum, 1999); Stark Whiteley, Paul Wescott: Landscape and Marine Painter (Chadds Ford: Brandywine River Museum, 1989).

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