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 Charles Walter Stetson  (1858 - 1911)

About: Charles Walter Stetson
 

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Lived/Active: Rhode Island/California      Known for: landscape, figure and portrait painting, etching

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BIOGRAPHY for Charles Stetson
Facts/Data
Birth
1858 (Tiverton Four Corners, Rhode Island)
 
Death
1911 (Rome, Italy)

Lived/Active
Rhode Island/California

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Often Known For
landscape, figure and portrait painting, etching

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San Francisco Panama-Pacific Exhibition 1915
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
His work can be located at:
Brown University--Gardner House:
ACCESS RESTRICTED. APPOINTMENT REQUIRED
1. Oil on board [untitled]--woman feeding ducks by a cottage (acc.# HP 00901)
2. Oil on board [untitled]--nude with raised arms (acc.# HP 00955)

City Hall, Providence:
1. Oil portrait, "Gilbert F. Robbins" (1887)

Newport Art Museum:
ACCESS RESTRICTED. APPOINTMENT REQUIRED
1. Oil painting, "A Poetess Reciting Her Verses to the Twilight Moon" (1880) (acc.# 1993.005)

Providence Art Club:
ACCESS RESTRICTED. APPOINTMENT REQUIRED
1. Oil painting, "The Storm"
2. Oil painting, "Nude Figure"
3. Oil painting, "The Resting Place"
4. Oil portrait , "Portrait of Katherine" (artist's daughter)
5. Oil portrait, "John Combe Pegram" (PAC President)
6. Oil portrait, "Elihu Vedder"
7. Oil painting, "Golden Afternoon"

Rhode Island Historical Society:
ACCESS RESTRICTED. APPOINTMENT REQUIRED
1. Oil portrait, "Albert L. Calder" (1894) (acc.# 1985.41.2)

Rhode Island Historical Society--Graphics Dept.:
ACCESS RESTRICTED. APPOINTMENT REQUIRED
A.E. Club Collection, access. #1968.73 (Anne Eliza Club)
1. Etching, [untitled]--landscape scene with figures
2. Charcoal sketch (1881)

RISD:
ACCESS RESTRICTED. APPOINTMENT REQUIRED
1. Watercolor, "The Fisherman" (mid 19th-early 20th c.) (acc.# 13.852)
2. Oil painting on canvas, "Gertrude by an Orange Tree" (1891) (acc.# 13.868)
3. Oil painting on canvas, "Water Play" (1895) (acc.# 13.962)
4. Watercolor, "Landscape with Bathers" (1902) (acc.# 13.964)
5. Oil painting on canvas, "Portrait Study" (1893) (acc.# 13.966)
6. Oil painting on canvas, "A Pagan Procession" (1892) (acc.# 13.970)
7. Oil painting on board, "The Ships" (acc.# 13.994)
8. Oil painting, "Live Oak, Pasadena" (1895) (acc.# 13.1003)
9. Oil painting, "Spring" (mid 19th-eary 20th c.) (acc.# 13.1004)
10. Oil painting, "Japanese Roses and their Hips" (1888) (acc.# 13.1008)
11. Oil painting on canvas, "A Blonde" (1899) (acc.# 13.1009)
12. Oil painting on canvas, "Temple with Dancing Girls" (1894) (acc.# 13.1011)
13. Oil painting on canvas, "Landscape" (1892) (acc.# 13.1012)
14. Etching, "Boating" (1883) (acc.# 13.1233)
15. Watercolor, "Landscape with Haywagon" (1883) (acc.# 34.785)
16. Oil painting on canvas, "Portrait of Mrs. W.W. Bailey" (late 19th-early 20th c.)(acc.#51.561)
17. Watercolor, "Landscape with Figures" (late 19th-early 20th c.) (acc.# 55.045)
18. Oil painting on canvas, "Portrait of Gutzon Borglum" (ca. 1891) (acc.# 1994.088.1)
19. Color sketch, painting [untitled] (acc.# D13.816)
20. Painting, "Nude" (1893) (acc.# D13.817)
21. Painting, "Nude" (1892) (acc.# D13.818)
22. Painting, "Exterior with Figures" (acc.# D13.819)
23. Painting, "Two Figures" (1893) (acc.# D13.820)
24. Painting, "Nude" (1893) (acc.# D13.821)
25. Painting, "Nude" (acc.# D13.822)
26. Painting, "Nude" (1893) (acc.# D13.823)
27. Painting, "Nude" (1898) (acc.# D13.824)
28. Painting, "In the Garden" (1895) (acc.# D13.825)
29. Painting, "Nude" (1892) (acc.# D13.826)
30. Painting, "Nude" (1892) (acc.# D13.827)
31. Watercolor, "The Way to the Shad-nets, Grand Pre" (acc.# D13.853)
32. Watercolor, "Pasadena, California, April" (1895) (acc.# D13.854)
33. Watercolor, "Pasadena Landscape" (1895) (acc.# D13.854X)
34. Watercolor, "Landscape" (acc.# D13.855)
35. Painting, "Reading by the Sea" (1899) (acc.# D13.867)
36. Painting, "Nude Study" (acc.# D13.868X)
37. Painting, "Landscape with Figures" (acc.# D13.869)
38. Painting, "Flower Play" (1902) (acc.# D13.961)
39. Painting, "The Approach of a Centaur" (acc.# D13.963)
40. Painting, "The Solemnity of Night" (1889) (acc.# D13.965)
41. Painting, "At Play" (1893) (acc.# D13.967)
42. Painting, "Nymphs and Fauns" (acc.# D13.968)
43. Painting sketch--for the Nymph "Ave Atque Vale" (1893) (acc.# D13.969)
44. Painting, "Landscape with Figures" (acc.# D13.971)
45. Painting on wood panel, "The Big Cloud" (1887) (acc.# D13.972)
46. Painting, "Study of a Child" (1884) (acc.# D13.973)
47. Painting, "Study of Two Female Nudes" (1892) (acc.# D13.974)
48. Painting, "Study of a Flower" (1889) (acc.# D13.975)
49. Painting, "A Young Florentine" (acc.# D13.976)
50. Painting, "Up the Road" (1893) (acc.# D13.977)
51. Painting, "Orange and Blue" (1893) (acc.# D.13.978)
52. Painting, "Trees and Stream" (acc.# D13.979)
53. Painting, "The Temple at Dusk" (acc.# D13.980)
54. Painting, "Girl with a Scarf" (acc.# D13.981)
55. Painting on wood panel, "Girl Gathering Roses" (acc.# D13.982)
56. Painting, "Landscape" (1892) (acc.# D13.983)
57. Painting, "Under the Eucalyptus" (acc.# D13.984)
58. Painting, "Pasadena, California" (1896) (acc.# D13.985)
59. Painting, "Two Girls Singing" (acc.# D13.986)
60. Painting, "A Pasadena Girl" (1895) (acc.# D13.987)
61. Painting, "A Faun Lamenting" (acc.# D13.988)
62. Painting sketch for "Play on the Cliff" (1899) (acc.# D13.989)
63. Painting on wood panel, "At Los Angeles" (acc.# D13.990)
64. Painting, "Exterior with Figures" (acc.# D13.991)
65. Painting on wooden panel, "Boy Reading" (1883) (acc.# D13.992)
66. Painting, "Nymphs Bathing" (acc.# D13.993)
67. Painting on wooden panel, [untitled]--landscape with figure (1891) (acc.# D13.995)
68. Painting, "At Play" (1893) (acc.# D13.996)
69. Painting, "The Race" (acc.# D13.997)
70. Painting on wooden panel "The Fountain" (acc.# D13.998)
71. Painting on wooden panel, "The Farm House" (acc.# D13.1000)
72. Painting, "A Study" (1892) (acc.# D13.1001)
73. Painting, "Offering Tribute" (1888) (acc.# D13.1002)
74. Painting, "A Summer Day by the Pacific" (1886) (acc.# D13.1005)
75. Painting "Girls Playing by the Pacific" (1895) (acc.# D13.1005X)
76. Painting, "The Fire" (1893) (acc.# D13.1006)
77. Painting, "A Concert" (acc.# D13.1007)
78. Watercolor drawing, "A Wet Morning" (1881) (acc.# D13.1010)
79. Watercolor drawing, "Girl with Mandolin" (acc.# D13.1027)
80. Etching, "Just After Sunset" (1881) (acc.D13.1120)
81. Etching, "Landscape After Corot" (1884) (acc.# D13.1121)
82. Etching, "River View" (1881) (acc.# D13.1122)
83. Etching, "River View" (1881) (acc.# D13.1123)
84. Etching, "Landscape" (1881) (acc.# D13.1124)
85. Etching, "Landscape" (1881) (acc.# D13.1125)
86. Etching,  "Landscape" (1881) (acc.# D13.1221)
87. Etching, "Man's Head" (1881) (acc.# D13.1222)
88. Etching, "Landscape with Lake and Boats" (1894) (acc.# D13.1223)
89. Etching, "Man's Head" (1881) (acc.# D13.1224)
90. Etching, "A Bit of Shore" (1881) (acc# D13.1225)
91. Etching, "Head of a Man" (1881) (acc.# D13.1226)
92. Etching, "By the Railroad, Cranston, RI" (1881) (acc.# D13.1227)
93. Etching, "Twilight" (1881) (acc.# D13.1228)
94. Etching, "Twilight" (1881) (acc.# D13.1229)
95. Etching, "Morning" (1881) (acc.# D13.1230)
96. Etching, "River Bank" (1881) (acc.# D13.1231)
97. Etching, "Leaning Trees Near the Railroad, Cranston, RI" (1881) (acc.# D13.1231)
98. Etching, "Leaning Trees Near the Railroad, Cranston, RI" (1881) (acc.# D13.1232)
99. Etching, "Landscape After Corot" (1884) (acc.# D13.1239)
100. Etching, "Nude Woman" (acc.# D13.1436)
101. Painting, "Fading Light" (1881) (acc.# D15.161)
102. Painting, "By the Gold of Ophir Bush" (1899) (acc.# D24.034)
103. Painting, "Moonlight Evening" (1893) (acc.# D24.035)
104. Painting, "The Gibbous Moon" (1895) (acc.# D24.036)
105. Painting, "Seeking Water" (1907) (acc.# D24.037)
106. Painting, "Lilies by Moonlight" (acc.# D97.006)

Source:
Unveiled: a directory and guide to 19th century born artists active in Rhode Island, and where to find their work in publicly accessible Rhode Island collections
by Elinor L. Nacheman


This biography from the Archives of AskART:
An etcher and painter in rich palette of landscapes, portraits and nudes, Charles Stetson became known for his Symbolist paintings, like those that were popular in Europe, of idyllic figures in shadowy, outdoor settings. He was a great admirer of the classic disciplines and High Renaissance expression, and his admiration of that style was reflected in a series of paintings of pagan ritual processions showing ecstatic dancing nudes or ones dressed in diaphanous gowns.

Paintings by Stetson have been compared to work by Albert Ryder, George Inness and Thomas Dewing.

He had begun as a proponent of Barbizon style painting, because those paintings were popular to the buying public. He could not afford European education so taught himself and shocked some persons because he hired nude models. He also painted nudes from photographs.

Stetson was born in Tiverton Four Corners, Rhode Island and traveled extensively including to California and Europe. He opened his first studio in 1878 in Providence and became a founder and highly active member of the Providence Art Club. In the early 1880s, he painted scenes in Canada and began teaching etching. He also had an etching commission to do copies of paintings from a Boston collector named Beriah Wall.

In 1888, he went to Pasadena, California in an attempt to reconcile with his estranged wife. The marriage was not salvaged, but he found his "dream trees", eucalyptus that appeared in many of his landscapes. Christine Bowater, whose mother represented the collection of the deceased artist and arranged several one-man exhibitions, said that the term "dream trees" came from the fact that he had depicted trees like them from images he saw in his dreams before going West. When he arrived in California, he recognized them as eucalyptus trees.

In 1894, he returned to California for seven years; then spent two years in New England and two years later became an expatriate in Rome, where he lived until his death on July 21, 1911. Later his daughter told the Bowater family that he was so poor in Italy that "he would often have to choose to buy food or paints and often went hungry."


Sources:
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
Peter Falk, "Who Was Who in American Art"
Christine Bowater, Message to AskART, 7/2005
"Magazine Antiques", July 2000

Biography from Roger King Fine Art, Q - Z:
Born in Tiverton, Rhode Island, Charles Stetson was a self-taught artist.  Sometimes categorized as a Symbolist painter, he did shadowy landscapes that have a mystical quality and are peopled with dreamlike figures. Stetson's work has been compared to that of Albert Pinkham Ryder, George Inness, and Thomas Dewing. 

Early in his career he painted in Canada and taught etching.  Stetson opened a studio in Providence, Rhode Island in 1878, establishing close friendships with fellow artists George Whitaker and Edward Bannister, and becoming a founding member of the Providence Art Club.

In 1884 he married Charlotte Perkins Gilman, a commercial artist and student at the Rhode Island School of Design who became an acclaimed writer.  Their marriage was difficult, and Gilman suffered severe bouts of depression on which she based her most famous work, The Yellow Wallpaper. She moved to Pasadena, California in 1888; though Stetson traveled to California in an attempt to shore up the marriage, the two divorced in 1890.

In California, however, Stetson found an environment suited to his style of painting. There he discovered his "dream trees," the eucalyptus he claimed to have depicted in landscapes before ever seeing them. 

Stetson married a second time, to Grace Ellery Channing, and moved to Rome around 1905, where he spent the remainder of his life.  He struggled financially for much of his career, and his diaries record his frustrations trying to find patrons.  His only child, with Gilman, was Katherine Beecher Stetson, who also became an artist, studying with William Chase and Cecilia Beaux.

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at registrar@AskART.com.

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