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 Edward Alfred Cucuel  (1875 - 1954)

About: Edward Alfred Cucuel


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Lived/Active: California / Germany/France      Known for: impressionist painting; newspaper illustration

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BIOGRAPHY for Edward Alfred Cucuel
1875 (San Francisco, Callifornia)
1954 (Pasadena, California)

California / Germany/France

Self portrait - Self-portrait

Often Known For
impressionist painting; newspaper illustration

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Impressionists Pre 1940
California Painters
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in San Francisco, Edward Cucuel was an Impressionist painter of genre and figures in landscapes, often using his family members for models rather than professionals.  A specialty was using a vibrant palette and rich impasto to depict women in sun-dappled landscape settings.

At the age of fourteen, he enrolled at the School of Design in San Francisco, and three years later, in 1892, he went to Paris and studied at the Academie Julian.  In 1893, he enrolled at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts as a student of Jean-Leon Gerome.  In 1896, he returned to the United States and worked as an illustrator on the San Francisco Call and Examiner newspapers and earned enough money to return to Germany and Paris, which he did in the next few years.

In 1907, having lived much time in Germany, he moved his studio from Berlin to Munich and was much influenced there by the German Expressionists.  He began working with Leo Putz and developed his own Impressionist style.

He married Clara Lotte von Marcard in 1913, and they spent their summers in a villa on Lake Ammersee in Holzhausen near Munich.  In 1928, he moved to New York, but traveled extensively, and in 1939, he settled permanently in California.  He died in Pasadena in 1954.
Exhibition Record (Museums, Institutions and Awards):
1890, 1896; Mark Hopkins Institute (SF), 1898, 1901; Mechanics' Institute (SF), Munich Secession, 1912; Salon d’Automme (Paris), 1912; Art Institute of Chicago, 1913, 1920; Panama Pacific International Exposition (SF), 1915 (silver medal).  ¶  AAA 1919-33; WWAA 1936-41; Pasadena Star-News, 4-21-1954 (obit).

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Edward Alfred Cucuel (1875-1954)

An illustrator and painter, Edward Cucuel was born in San Francisco, CA on August 6, 1875.   At age 14, he began his art studies at the local School of Design.  He then worked in the art departments of the Call and Examiner newspapers. 

In 1892 he continued his studies in Paris at Académie Julian and Ecole des Beaux Arts under Benjamin Constant, Jean-Paul Laurens, and Jean-Leon Gérôme. 

In 1896 he returned to the U.S. and worked in New York as an illustrator until earning enough money to return to Paris.  In 1907 he moved to Munich, and this was his home for many years.  There he worked closely with Leo Putz and developed his Impressionist style.  He then began to paint with the vibrant palette and rich impasto for which he is best known.

With the rise of Hitler and the war, he was forced his return to California in 1939.  He then lived in Pasadena until his demise on April 18, 1954. 

Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
AAA 1919-33; WWAA 1936-41; Pasadena Star-News, 4-21-1954 (obit).
Nearly 20,000 biographies can be found in Artists in California 1786-1940 by Edan Hughes and is available for sale ($150). For a full book description and order information please click here.

Biography from Hollis Taggart Galleries (Artists, A-D):
Born in San Francisco, Edward Cucuel began formal art training at the San Francisco School of Design in 1914. His father was a newspaper publisher, and as a teenager Cucuel worked as an illustrator for several local newspapers. In 1892 he traveled to Paris, where he studied at the Académies Julian and Colarossi before being admitted to the prestigious Ecole des Beaux-Arts to study with academician Jean Léon Gérôme.

When Cucuel returned to the United States in 1896, he settled in New York and earned enough through his work as an illustrator to return to Europe. After several years of travel, he settled in Berlin. In 1907 he moved his studio to Munich. There, he joined the Scholle group of artists led by Leo Putz and took part in the exhibitions of the Munich Secession. What the Scholle artists shared more than any single aesthetic was a desire to develop their own styles independently. Cucuel married Clara Lotte von Marcard in 1913, and they spent their summers in a villa on Lake Ammersee outside Munich.

Although the heyday of Impressionism had already passed in Europe, Cucuel developed his own vibrant Impressionist style during a period of working closely with Leo Putz. For several summers before Cucuel’s marriage, the two artists worked side-by-side in a garden at Hartmannsdorf Castle in Chiemgau, west of Munich. There, Cucuel began to paint with the highly keyed color and rich brushwork for which he is best known. Sunny genre scenes of leisure—boating, afternoon tea, sleeping, reading—in landscape settings dominate his work, but nudes and women in interiors settings are also common motifs. Cucuel often painted family members rather than professional models.

From 1928 to 1934, Cucuel spent winters in New York, but returned to Germany during the summer months. When World War Two broke out, Cucuel left Germany permanently and settled in Pasadena, California, where he lived a secluded life until his death in 1954. A member of the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts, Cucuel exhibited at the Salon d’Automne in Paris and at numerous other venues in Germany, England, and the United States.

© Copyright 2008 Hollis Taggart Galleries

Biography from Heritage Auctions:
A native of San Francisco, Edward Cucuel spent the first fifteen years of his career searching for his artistic voice, studying the Old Masters at the Académie Julian and the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris and working as a newspaper illustrator in New York, but it was not until 1907 when he moved to Munich that he fell smitten with Impressionism. Here, Cucuel befriended the artist Leo Putz, leader of the anti-academic Die Scholle artists' group, and for several years, the two men painted together in a garden at Hartmannsdorf Castle west of Munich, each developing a distinctive Impressionist brand.

By 1912, Cucuel found success exhibiting at the Paris Salons, and his paintings adopted the vibrant color and freer style of French Impressionism. His subjects ranged from nudes in bright interiors to open-air social scenes and charming Bavarian landscapes.

The lake landscapes of Munich, which Cucuel continued to frequent for decades, served as choice settings for his paintings of leisured women boating, napping, reading, or picnicking. However, in 1939, with the onset of World War II, Cucuel left Germany and settled in Pasadena, California, where he lived until his death in 1954.

His works can be seen at the Art Institute of Chicago; Detroit Institute of Arts; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.; National Academy Museum, New York; and Art Museum at the University of Kentucky, Lexington, among other notable institutions.

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