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 Lionel Walden  (1861 - 1933)

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Lived/Active: Hawaii/Connecticut      Known for: seascape, landscape-volcano, marine

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BIOGRAPHY for Lionel Walden
1861 (Norwich, Connecticut)
1933 (Chantilly, France)


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seascape, landscape-volcano, marine

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Norwich, Connecticut, Lionel Walden was known for his seascapes, landscapes as well as volcanic scenes of Hawaii.

He trained in Paris with Carolus Duran, and became a highly recognized artist in France.  He received medals from the Paris Salon and was made a Knight of the French Legion of Honor.

He first traveled to Hawaii in 1911 at the invitation of his friend and fellow artist Kimo Wilder, and returned several times to paint the glowing volcanoes and moonlit seas.  In 1912 he returned to France, but spent half his time in the islands.  For a number of years he gave private lessons, and, in collaboration with D. Howard Hitchcock and other artists, produced murals for public buildings in Honolulu. Walden was a frequent contributor to groups shows, and after the Honolulu Academy of Arts opened in 1927, had at least one canvas in every group exhibition of the Hawaiian Society of Artists.

According to David H. Forbes, author of Encounters With Paradise, Lionel Walden "was the finest seascape painter to work in Hawaii."

David W Forbes, Encounters With Paradise
American Art Review, June 2001

Biography from Douglas Frazer Fine Art, Ltd.:
A painter of seascapes and marine scenes, Lionel Walden was born in Connecticut in 1861.  He first became interested in art in Minnesota, where the family moved when his father became rector of an Episcopal Church there.  As a young man Walden moved to Paris where he studied with E. A. Carolus-Duran.

A frequent exhibitor in the Paris Salons, the "King of Bohemia", as he was called, became a skilled figure painter in addition to painting marine and harbor scenes.  Though he also exhibited and won prizes in London, St. Louis, and San Francisco, Walden considered Paris his home.

His participation in the Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco in 1915 not only earned him a medal, but also allowed him to display his famous "The Surf Riders" prominently.

In Paris, Walden became acquainted with Kimo Wilder, a Honolulu artist.  The meeting was to prove fateful, as Wilder invited Walden to come to Hawaii, which he did in 1911. That visit was the first of many, as Walden fell in love with the light and water in Hawaii.

Lionel Walden was considered the finest seascape artist in Hawaii.  While many of his peers were obsessed with volcanoes, Walden preferred the ocean in "all its moods, colors, and actions."  He is particularly famous for his paintings of stormy seas.  Walden did paint his share of volcanoes,and other landscapes, as well, and collaborated on the immense dioramas of the seven scenic wonders of Hawaii with his good friend, D. Howard Hitchcock, for the 1917 Pan-Pacific Carnival.

They also joined forces with other artists to produce murals for a theater, for the telephone company, and for a ship of the Inter-Island Steam Navigation Company in the early 1920s.

Though his fame originates mainly from the art he created in Hawaii, Walden’s first love was France, and he died there in Chantilly in 1933.

Sources include:
WWAA; Forbes: Encounters With Paradise; Gerdts: Art Across America, vol. 3.

By Sarah Nelson

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