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 Henry Fitch Taylor  (1853 - 1925)

About: Henry Fitch Taylor


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Lived/Active: Connecticut/New Hampshire/Ohio / United Kingdom/France      Known for: modernist painting, cubism and futurism

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BIOGRAPHY for Henry Taylor
1853 (Cincinnati, Ohio)
1925 (Plainfield, New Hampshire)

Connecticut/New Hampshire/Ohio / United Kingdom/France

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modernist painting, cubism and futurism

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New York Armory Show of 1913
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Henry Fitch Taylor, born in Cincinnati in 1853, was the oldest American artist to experiment with modernist painting. He studied at the Academie Julian*, in Paris, beginning 1884, and also worked at Barbizon*, possibly encouraged to go to France by Joseph Jefferson whose popular performing troupe Taylor had joined.

Taylor returned to America in either 1888 or 1889, and established a studio in New York City and also became a part of the Impressionist Colony at Cos Cob*, Connecticut, spending time there until 1908. There he associated with George Luks, John Twachtman, and Childe Hassam, all whom had a decisive role in Taylor's life as an artist.

His work reflected Barbizon and Impressionist influences (he had been a visitor to Giverny*, France, home of Claude Monet) until the early years of the new century. In fact, he was a personal friend of Monet and the Monet family.  Then, becoming a supporter of modernist art, he was a key figure in the development of the 1913 Armory Show* in New York City and the formation of the American Association of Painters and Sculptors*, which he served as the first president and which sponsored the 1913 Armory Show.

By 1914, his painting reflected knowledge of virtually all the latest styles, although he was particularly partial to Cubism* and Futurism*. He also had the distinction of being the "oldest among that generation of American artists who responded to and explored Cubism".

He devised the Taylor System of Organized Color, in which physical and psychological aspects of color were explored and wrote a book titled The Taylor System of Color Harmony. In his explorations, he created Cezannesque still lifes and worked his way through both analytic and synthetic Cubism.

From 1909 to 1912, he was manager in New York of the Madison Gallery, which showed progressive art. Taylor was married to Clara Potter Davidge, an interior decorator and early historic preservationist .

Taylor died in 1925 in Plainfield, New Hampshire.

Matthew Baigell, Dictionary of American Art
Norman Geske and Karen Janovy, The American Painting Collection of the Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery
Peter Hastings Falk (Editor), Who Was Who in American Art
William Gerdts, American Impressionism

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


This biography from the Archives of AskART:
In New York, Henry Fitch Taylor had spaces at various time in the Holbein Studios, the Van Dyck studio building, then later in Washington Mews and the Judson Hotel. He belonged to the group of so-called "independent modernists" that gathered around Arthur B. Davies, Walt Kuhn, and the collector John Quinn. Taylor and his wife were also intimates of Mabel Dodge Luhan, and her autobiography devotes an entire chapter to them.

Most of Taylor's work is lost--there was an exhibition devoted to his work in 1966 at Noah Goldowsky Gallery in New York--most of the works on view in that sale entered museum or private collections at that time, including the Whitney, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Hirshhorn (4 pieces 3 of which are sculpture), Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery, and Weatherspoon Gallery.

His prints are owned by the New York Public Library and Philadelphia Museum of Art. He was one of the earliest American Impressionists, and was intimate friends with Robinson and Twachtman, He belonged to the Society of American Artists. Of course, his modernist work is a dramatic departure from his Impressionist landscapes and is remarkably advanced for an American, particularly one of his age.

Submitted by Christine Oaklander, Ph.D., the author of a dissertation on Henry Fitch Taylor and his wife:

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at

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