1867 (Indianapolis, Indiana)
1952 (Preston, Connecticut)
Connecticut/New York/Indiana / France
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pastoral landscape, labor genre and animal painting
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Old Lyme Colony Painters
|This biography from the Archives of AskART:|
|Louis Paul Dessar, who was born on January 22, 1861 in Indianapolis,
Indiana, is best known for his Tonalist agrarian paintings, with
farmers and their animals working in the fields. |
from the National Academy of Design in New York after completing study
from City College. Later he traveled to Europe to study under
William Bouguereau and Tony Robert-Fleury at the French Academy and
Ecole de Beaux-Arts in Paris.
Dessar returned to New York City
in 1892 where he made his living as a story painter and portraitist for
about a decade. He was a member of a cadre of Tonalists that
included Sergei Bogert, Robert Minor Sr, and Frederic Kost. Most
of Dessar's winters were spent in New York, and most of his summers in
Becket Hill, near Old Lyme, Connecticut. It was there that Henry
Ranger, who had inspired him to go there in 1900, influenced
Dessar. In Old Lyme, Dessar concentrated on agrarian scenes of
nature in the Barbizon Tonalist mood. It was because of this
style that his contemporaries called him the "Millet of America".
An example of such work is A Load of Brush (1912, oil on canvas,
now in the National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian
Institution. He sought the perfect combination of light and
color, working slowly, sometimes taking as long as a couple of years to
complete a work.
Dessar rarely exhibited his works, although he is known to have shown
his work at an exhibit in 1902 at the public library of Old Lyme, along
with Ranger, Talcott, Cohen, and Voorhees.
Impressionists took over at the Griswold House in Old Lyme, Ranger
built a summer studio in 1904 in Noank, farther up the coast near
Mystic, and from then on associated with the artists of that
colony. Other Tonalist painters in Old Lyme of the early group
around Ranger, including Dessar and Jules Turcas, moved six miles away,
to Grassy Hill.
Dessar became a member of the Salmagundi Club
in 1895; Society of American Artists in 1898; an Associate to the
National Academy, a member of the Lotus Club in 1900; and a member of
the National Academy in 1906. He was awarded the Third Class
medal at the Paris Salon of 1891, and a medal at the Colombian
Exposition in Chicago in 1893. He was awarded honorable mention
at the Carnegie Institute of Pittsburg in 1897; the second Hallgarten
Prize at the National Academy in 1899; and the first Hallgarten prize
in 1900. He again was awarded a Bronze medal at the Pan-Am Exposition
in 1901 and Silver in the Charleston Exposition.
Michael David Zellman, 300 Years of American Art
Peter Falk, Who Was Who in American Art
|** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at registrar@AskART.com.|