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 Ellsworth Woodward  (1861 - 1939)

About: Ellsworth Woodward


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Lived/Active: Louisiana/Massachusetts      Known for: landscape painting, etching, teaching

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BIOGRAPHY for Ellsworth Woodward
1861 (Seekonk, Massachusetts)
1939 (New Orleans, Louisiana)


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landscape painting, etching, teaching

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
During the late 19th Century in New Orleans, Ellsworth and his older brother William Woodward were two of the most influential figures in Southern art. Ellsworth was born 1861 in Seekonk, Massachusetts, but the two brothers made New Orleans their home (around 1876) and devoted themselves to promoting Southern culture and art as artists, teachers and administrators.

Ellsworth studied art at the Rhode Island School of Design, and later in the studios of C. Marr, Samuel Richards, and Richard Fehr in Munich. He began teaching at Tulane, serving as assistant professor under his brother, William, then became a professor of art, and eventually director.

The brothers were instrumental in the organization of Newcomb College. Ellsworth accepted a position as a professor of art at Newcomb in 1885, a year after William had joined the faculty. In 1890 Ellsworth was promoted to the first Dean of the Newcomb School of Art, a position he maintained for forty years.

Under Ellsworth Woodward's leadership as dean, the newly established Newcomb Art School in New Orleans developed a program that served as both an educational and business enterprise for young women. The school focused on principles of drawing, painting, design, and crafts (embroidery, metalwork and china painting). The pottery department, established by Ellsworth and William, produced the internationally recognized Newcomb Pottery. The Woodwards emphasized the unique regional characteristics of Louisiana by insisting on the use of local flora and fauna for motifs in the prevailing Art Nouveau style and the use of clay from the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain.

A dominant and active member of the art community, Ellsworth served as an influential trustee at the Isaac Delgado Museum of Art (today the New Orleans Museum of Art), founded the Natchitoches Art Colony in Cane River Parish, Louisiana, served on international jury for the St. Louis Exposition of 1904, and became a member of the International Union of Fine Arts and Letters of Paris. He received a gold medal for the New Orleans Art Association, published the art and literary magazine Arts and Letters with fellow artist Bror Wikstrom, and painted allegorical murals for the criminal courts building at Broad Street and Tulane Avenue. In 1934 President Roosevelt appointed him to the directorship of the Gulf States Public Works of Art Project.

Although he painted in oils and made etchings, Ellsworth preferred watercolors and in 1936 the Fine Arts Council established a prize in his name. Both Woodward brothers found inspiration in the coastal areas of Louisiana and Mississippi.

Louisiana State Museum,

Newcomb College History,

New Orleans Museum of Art,

Peter Falk, "Who Was Who in American Art"

Biography from Charleston Renaissance Gallery:

Born in Seekonk, Massachusetts, Ellsworth Woodward attended the Rhode Island School of Design and then traveled to Munich where he studied with Car Marr and Samuel Richards. In 1884, he settled in New Orleans and taught art, establishing a department at Sophie Newcomb College, of which he became the director. He also taught at Tulane University where his brother, the artist William Woodward, served as chairman of that art department. The brothers shared a devotion to the natural landscape and were also ardent advocates for the New Orleans art scene, frequently representing picturesque subjects of the South, especially the historic French Quarter.

Woodward often worked in watercolor and grew to favor a more expressive technique and a bright, light-drenched palette. He was involved with the Providence Art Club, Southern States Art League, and the Art Association of New Orleans before dying in New Orleans.

This essay is copyrighted by the Charleston Renaissance Gallery and may not be reproduced or transmitted without written permission from Hicklin Galleries, LLC.

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