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 Gertrude Horsford Fiske  (1878 - 1961)

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Lived/Active: Massachusetts      Known for: portrait, figure, landscape and still life painting

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BIOGRAPHY for Gertrude Fiske
1878 (Boston, Massachusetts)
1961 (Weston, Massachusetts)


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portrait, figure, landscape and still life painting

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San Francisco Panama-Pacific Exhibition 1915
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
A native New Englander, Gertrude Fiske was an Impressionist* figure and landscape painter and a leading woman artist of the Boston School*. She was a founding member of the Guild of Boston Artists* and Art Associations of Concord, Massachusetts and Ogunquit, Maine. She was also an Associate member of the National Academy of Design* in New York and the first woman appointed to the State Art Commission of Massachusetts.

Fiske was a "blue-blood" Bostonian as a direct ancestor of Governor William Bradford. For six years, she attended the School of Drawing and Painting of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston with Edmund Tarbell, Frank Benson, and Philip Hale, and was one of only a few individuals who actually completed the Museum School's seven-year course. During the summers she painted in Ogunquit with Charles Woodbury, likely the person who had the most influence on her work. Her studios were in Weston and Boston, Massachusetts and Ogunquit, Maine, "her favored summer resort throughout her life."

Gertrude Fiske's first major public recognition came when she received a Silver Medal in 1915 at the San Francisco Panama-Pacific Exposition*, and the following year she was given her first solo show at the Guild of Boston Artists.  In 1917, the Cleveland Museum and Rhode Island School of Design* give her solo exhibitions. By the mid 1920s, she was a well-established artist, with portrait commissions being her primary source of income. She also painted many figure scenes in indoor and outdoor settings as well as landscapes, beach scenes, amusement parks and the occasional still life.  "All were painted in vibrantly colored, simplified forms and powerful, free brushstrokes that attested to her affiliation with the Boston Museum School and Charles Woodbury." (190) 

Etching* was another method she pursued, belonging both to the Chicago Society of Etchers* and the Boston Society of Etchers.

In 1962, a memorial exhibition of work by Gertrude Fiske was held at the Concord Art Association and at the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland, Maine.

Ruth Pasquine, "Gertrude Horsford Fiske", Paintings and Sculpture in the Collection of the National Academy of Design, 1826-1925, Editor, David Dearinger.

* For more in-depth information about these terms and others, see Glossary


Biography from Pierce Galleries, Inc.:
GERTRUDE H. FISKE (American, 1878-1961):

Gertrude H. Fiske was a native New Englander born in Boston April 16, 1878, the oldest of six children. She trained at the Museum School (Boston) with Edmund C. Tarbell, Philip L. Hale and Frank W. Benson (1904-1912) and with Charles H. Woodbury (summers) in Ogunquit, Maine.

Fiske was a major member of the Boston School style of painting and a founding member of the Guild of Boston Artists, a founder of the Concord Art Association and participated in the founding of the Ogunquit Art Association. She was an Associate of the National Academy of Design and a member of the National Association of Women Painters & Sculptors; Guild of Boston Artists; Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts; Concord AA; New Haven Paint & Clay Club; American Federation of Arts; Oqunquit AA; Grand Central Art Galleries of NYC; Chicago Society of Etchers; Boston Society of Etchers; National Arts Club; Cosmopolitan Club and she was the first woman to appointed to the State Art Commission of Massachusetts (1929-1930).

Fiske won silver and gold medals at the Panama-Pacific Exposition (1915); Conn. Academy of F.A. (1918; 1925); Wilmington Society of F.A (1921); National Academy of Design (1922; 1925; 1928, 1931, 1935); National Assoc. of Women Painters & Sculptors (1925, 1929); New Haven Paint & Clay Club (1925, 1929); Springfield Art League (1929, 1931); Ogunquit Art Center (1932) and more.

Fiske maintained Boston, Weston and Ogunquit art studios and was close friends with fellow artists Jane Peterson and Anne Carleton. She was given solo exhibitions at the GBA (1916); R.I. School of Design and the Cleveland Art Museum (1917); Wellesley College, GBA, Farnsworth Museum (1920); GBA (1924, 1927, 1933).

Fiske’s work is represented in the Art Institute of Chicago; Corcoran Gallery of Art; Carnegie Institute; Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art; Nassau County Museum of Fine Art.; Baltimore Museum of Fine Art; Detroit Institute of Arts; Brooklyn Museum of Art; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; and McNay Art Institute, San Antonio, TX.

She died on April 18, 1961. The Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland, Maine gave her a retrospective exhibition in 1966 and later New York’s Schoelkopf Galleries and Vose Galleries of Boston gave exhibitions in 1967; Additional exhibitions were at the Columbia Museum of Art, Columbia, SC (1975) and Robert Schoelkopf Galleries (1981).

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