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 Harriotte Lee Taliaferro Montague  (1871 - 1947)



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Lived/Active: Virginia      Known for: portrait and landscape painter, illustrator, teacher

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BIOGRAPHY for Harriotte Lee Montague
1871 (Gloucester County, Virginia)


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Often Known For
portrait and landscape painter, illustrator, teacher

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following information was submitted by a granddaughter of the artist:

I am Harriotte Lee Montague’s granddaughter, Letitia Montague Grant.  I have transcribed my grandmother’s letters from her six years studying in Europe, and I personally own about ten of her oil paintings, a few drawings and watercolors and a few pen and ink illustrations.

Education and Training.  In the late 1880’s Miss Taliaferro attended the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, D.C.  In the 1890’s she was in New York where she studied at the Art Student’s League (under Twachtman) and the Cooper Union (and won a gold medal).  She worked for a time as a fashion illustrator in New York, and in 1897 took ship to Europe.  From June to September of 1897 she studied German and drawing in Dresden.  In the fall of 1897 she moved to Munich and lived and studied there until 1902.  One of her masters was a professor Knirr.  In fall of 1902 she moved to Paris where she studied under Simon and Mucha.  She had a painting accepted in the Paris Salon of 1903, and returned to the U.S. in June of 1903.

Personal information.  Harriotte Lee Taliaferro was born in Gloucester County, Virginia March 20, 1871.  Her parents were Harriotte H. Lee and Thomas S. Taliaferro.  In 1881 she moved to Alexandria, Virginia, and went to school there until she studied at the Corcoran.  In 1903 she became the Director of the Richmond (Va.) Art Club, where she arranged exhibitions, taught painting and drawing, and accepted commissions for portraits.  In 1906 she married Jeffry G. A. Montague, a newspaper editor, and had one son, Ludwell Lee Montague, in 1907.  Jeffry Montague went into the Army about 1917 and continued in a military career until his retirement in 1934.  He and Mrs. Montague were posted in many places, including Ft. McKinley in the Philippines, Ft. Sam Houston, San Antonio, TX, and Schofield Barracks, Honolulu, HA.  Mrs. Montague continued to paint in all these places, but understandably was unable to have a sustained painting career in one place.  Over the years she painted many copies of portraits, both for public spaces and for family members.  She died in December of 1947.

Public Locations.   Portrait copies by Mrs. Montague are in the State Capitol in Richmond, Va., several museum houses, such as Stratford Hall Plantation, court houses and similar places around Virginia.  Original portraits by her are to be found in Wilton House (the Virginia headquarters of the Colonial Dames in Richmond, Va.), and the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond.  Most of her work is in private collections.

Sources.  Family papers, letters, newspaper clippings, Portrait Register, Vol. I  by Cuthbert Lee, Biltmore Press, 1968.


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