(1883 - 1955)
Ada Gilmore Chaffee was active/lived in Massachusetts, Michigan. Ada Chaffee is known for color woodcut, still-life painting.
Biography from the Archives of askART
Although she focused on printmaking during much of career as an artist, Ada Gilmore Chaffee was also a painter.
Biography from the Archives of askART
Gilmore was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan in 1883. Before reaching the
age of twelve, she and her three siblings became orphans. The four
children moved to Ireland where they were raised by their aunt in
Belfast. She first attended the Belfast School of Design, and later
studied at the Art Institute of Chicago. She received instruction from
Robert Henri, a painter and printmaker known for his portraits and
genre pieces, in 1912. Henri was also the instructor of Oliver
Newberry Chaffee, whom Gilmore later married during the 1920s.
Beginning in 1913, she obtained additional instruction in France from
Ethel Mars, after being exposed to Mars's color woodcut artwork at an
She returned to the United States with the start of World War I, and
began living and working in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Gilmore's
prints were displayed in San Francisco at the Panama-Pacific
International Exposition in 1915, as well as the Berlin Photographic
Company and the New York Watercolor Club in New York City.
She traveled to France in 1923 for a reunion with her former institutor
and friend, Ethel Mars. During her time in Vence, France, she became
reacquainted with Oliver Chaffee, and the two married. Profoundly
inspired by the Modern style of artwork produced by Oliver Chaffee and
circle of artists with whom he was associated, which included Marsden
Hartley, Jules Pascin, and Albert Gleizes, Gilmore began to replace
printmaking with painting. She continued painting for the remainder of
Submitted by Jenna Wuensche, Researcher
Jules Heller and Nancy G. Heller, North American Women Artists of the Twentieth Century
Ada Gilmore Chaffee was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan in 1883.
After her mother's death at age eight and her father's death at age
twelve she went to Belfast, Ireland where she lived with aunt. In
Belfast she studied at the Belfast School of Art in Northern Ireland.
Biography from Julie Heller Gallery
1900 she returned to the United States and continued her art studies at
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Gilmore exhibited at
the Independent Artist group show in New York City in 1910.
1913 the artist traveled to Paris and studied wood-block printing with
Ethel Mars. Due to World War I the artist returned to the United States
and settled in Provincetown, Massachusetts in 1915. She exhibited
at the first exhibition of the Provincetown Art Association and Museum
Ada Gilmore, though known for her woodblock prints
that use watercolor, also painted watercolors of town scenes and people
Gilmore is a founding member of the Provincetown Printers (1918), the first woodblock print society in America.
Ada Gilmore died in Provincetown in 1955.
American Artist, July 2002
Although her subject matter is focused away from the shoreline, Ada Gilmore took full advantage of Provincetown's light. Her watercolor postcards of homey, everyday scenes of women gardening, doing laundry, and resting, as well as portraits of village cottages and streets, have a bright, light-filled quality that appears totally modern, even though the artist completed them in the summer of 1915.
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Gilmore, who was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, in 1883 and died in Provincetown in 1955, was recognized as both a printmaker and watercolorist. Her first art training took place at the Belfast School of Art in Northern Ireland, where Gilmore lived with an aunt after the death of her father when she was 12 (her mother had died four years earlier). After returning to the United States in 1900, she studied at The School of The Art Institute of Chicago. Gilmore exhibited drawings in the Independent Artists group show in New York City in 1910, and three years later, traveled to Paris. There, she studied woodblock printing with Ethel Mars, an artist who was part of Gertrude Stein's avant-garde circle.
With the outbreak of World War I, Gilmore returned to the United States and settled in Provincetown in 1915.
Many of Gilmore's woodcuts "intentionally replicate the translucent quality of watercolor paintings and were often mistakenly identified as such," according to Barbara Parker, the curator of the 1988 "Ada Gilmore Woodcuts and Watercolors Show," at the Mary Ryan Gallery in New York City. One of the founding members of the Provincetown Printers in 1918, the first woodblock print society in America, Gilmore, writes Parker, "can be appreciated for her role in a grassroots movement which contributed to the flowering of American printmaking in the early 20th century."
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