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Beatrice Fenton

 (1887 - 1983)
Beatrice Fenton was active/lived in Pennsylvania.  Beatrice Fenton is known for sculptor-fountains with figures, animals.

Beatrice Fenton

Biography from the Archives of askART

Biography photo for Beatrice Fenton
Beatrice Fenton was a figurative sculptor and portraitist who was much recognized during her career. Essentially known for whimsical works associated with water, she created garden sculpture, bronze fountains and multiple editions of small figures, often with animals. She also did the occasional portrait bust including one of William Penn.

Representative works include her figure of Narcissus leaning forward as if admiring himself in a pool at Salisbury University in Salisbury, Maryland, and her realistically detailed, energized, dance-like figure atop two porpoises in Nereid Fountain. Her sculptures were cast at foundries including Gorham in Providence, Rhode Island.

Fenton was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1887. She studied in her home city at the School of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. A portrait of Beatrice Fenton was painted by American artist Thomas Eakins in 1904, when she was seventeen and apparently knew him from her studies at the Pennsylvania Academy where Eakins taught.

Eakins often used students and friends as subjects of his paintings. In The Coral Necklace, oil, 43 x 31, Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio, Fenton, dressed in a soft white, golden gown, is aglow with light against a dark background. Seated in a three-quarters position, facing to her right, the thoughtfully serious young sculptor-to-be wears the long red necklace that gives the picture its title and loops calmly down to her hands holding a seashell-like fan on her lap.

In 1926, Beatrice Fenton became the eleventh member, and first sculptor, of "The Philadelphia Ten" when she exhibited with this group of women artists formed to promote and show their work. "The Ten" exhibited from 1917 to 1945, their membership eventually expanding to thirty painters and sculptors. Critics praised the "happy addition" of Fenton, responding to her fountain figures. Fenton continued to exhibit with the group at least through 1929.

Other Fenton exhibitions include the San Francisco's Pan-Pacific Exposition in 1915; Plastic Club, Philadelphia, in 1916; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1922 and 1942 to 1945; National Sculpture Society, New York City, in 1923; the Sesquicentennial Exposition, Philadelphia, 1926; Art Club of Philadelphia, 1929; National Academy of Design, New York City; Art Institute of Chicago; National Association of Women Painters and Sculptors, New York City, in 1936; the New York City World's Fair, 1939; and Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1976.

Fenton taught sculpture at the Moore Institute of Art, Science and Industry from 1942-1953, in Philadelphia. She was a member of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia Art Alliance Association of Women Painters and Sculptors, Natural Sculpture Society, and the Plastic Club of Philadelphia.

Her sculpture may be viewed in the following Philadelphia locations: the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Art Club, Children's Hospital, Fairmount Park, the "Fairy Fountain" in Wister Park, and the Academy of Music, as well as locales in Brookgreen, South Carolina, Delaware and Baltimore, Maryland.

The artist died in 1983 in Philadelphia.

Jules and Nancy Heller, "North American Women Artists of the 20th Century"

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Biography photo for Beatrice Fenton
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Portrait By Thomas Cowperthwait Eakins

About  Beatrice Fenton

Born:  1887 - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Died:   1983 - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Known for:  sculptor-fountains with figures, animals

Essays referring to
Beatrice Fenton

San Francisco Panama-Pacific Exhibition 1915