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 Lemuel Maynard Wiles  (1826 - 1905)

About: Lemuel Maynard Wiles


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Lived/Active: New York/California      Known for: landscape, figure, botanic

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BIOGRAPHY for Lemuel Wiles
1826 (West Perry, New York)
1905 (New York, New York)

New York/California

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landscape, figure, botanic

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Painted in Latin America
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Lemuel Maynard Wiles was born in 1826 in West Perry, New York, in the Genesee Valley. A noted landscape painter in the realist tradition of the Hudson River School, he did some western landscapes, which resulted from travels in California and Colorado in 1873 and 1874. On his way to California, he traveled through Panama.

He graduated from the New York State Normal School in 1847, studied art in Albany, New York, for three years with William S. Har. He later taught with Jasper F. Cropsey in New York City. From 1850 to 1857, his focus was on painting, but later he taught in the Utica public schools. His teaching is thought to have inspired his son, Irving, to become a famous portrait painter, and their close relationship magnified their individual careers.

In 1861, the Wiles moved to New York City, and three years later he opened his own studio in the same premises as occupied by Samuel F.B. Morse. His son Irving would later join his father under the same roof.

Wiles' trips in 1873 to 1874 to Colorado and California, including Yosemite and San Juan Capistrano, provided the inspiration for his large collection of western landscapes and sketches of cathedrals and church missions. Titles of works from that period include "Camp of the San Diego Indians" and "The Bridal Veil, Yosemite".

From 1876 to 1888, he was director of the College of Fine Arts at Ingham University in LeRoy, New York, and in 1893 initiated Peobody College's art department in Nashville, Tennessee. He was also the founder of the Silver Lake Art School in Ingham, near Perry. Irving Wiles joined his father in teaching summer classes at Peconic, Long Island in the late 1890s-early 1900's. Irving Wiles' portrait of his father and mother, Rachel, won multiple medals in the 1893 to 1901 period.

Lemuel Wiles died in 1905 in New York City.

Michael Zellman, "300 Years of American Art"
Peggy and Harold Samuels, "Encyclopedia of Artists of the American West"
Note from Lynne Belluscio, Director of the Le Roy Historical Society in LeRoy, New York.

Forty three paintings by Lemuel Wiles are held and exhibited by the public library in Perry, New York.

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Perry, NY on Oct. 21, 1826. Wiles graduated from New York State Normal School in 1847 and then spent four years studying painting with Wm S. Hart and J. F. Cropsey. He taught at the Albany Academy and was active in Washington, DC until 1864. After that time, he had a studio in NYC and in 1873-74 traveled to Panama, Colorado, and California. During his time in California he painted in Yosemite and spent several months in San Diego. He died in NYC on Jan. 28, 1905. Wiles's paintings are highly finished and realistically depicted in the style of the Hudson River School. In: LACMA; Bancroft Library (UC Berkeley).
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
American Western Art (Harmsen); New York Historical Society's Dictionary of Artists in America (Groce, George C. and David H. Wallace); San Diego Weekly Union, 4-2-1874; Art News, 2-11-1905 (obituary).
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.

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