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Ella Lamb

 (1862 - 1936)
Ella Condie Lamb was active/lived in New York, New Jersey.  Ella Lamb is known for portraits, landscapes, murals, miniatures, mosaic and stained glass.

Ella Lamb

Biography from the Archives of askART

Biography photo for Ella Lamb

The following information was submitted by James Benson in March of 2006:

Ella Condie Lamb lived and worked in New York City in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  She was an acclaimed designer of art in mural, mosaic and stained glass for the J&R Lamb Studios, and her work for the Studios can be seen today in the Sage Chapel at Cornell  University, in the Governor Flower Memorial Library in Watertown, New York, and elsewhere.  The New York Herald, in a full page article about Ella in 1911, gave her the title "The Mistress of Mosaic" for her exceptional design work.  Mrs. Lamb also maintained private studios and produced portraits, murals, landscapes and miniatures in oil, watercolor, pastel, pencil, and pen and ink.  The New York Times noted that she was known for her portraits of famous persons.

Ella Grace Condie was born in New York City on August 30, 1862 to James and Sarah Condie.  Ella exhibited talent and determination at an early age and entered the National Academy of Design in 1878 when she was 16.  At the Academy, she studied under Lemuel Everett Wilmarth, Frederick Dielman and J. Wells Champney.  When she was 18, she won the Academy's Suydam Medal, first prize in Life Drawing.

In 1881, Ella entered the Art Students League, where she studied until 1884.  There, she learned under the direction of William Merritt Chase, Walter Shirlaw and C.Y. Turner.  While at the school, she met Charles Rollinson Lamb, a fellow student, who was to become the President of the Arts Student League at age 26, and, more importantly, was to later become Ella Grace Condie's husband.  Charles was an accomplished architect and designer who had a noted career.

In the fall of 1884, Ella left the Art Students League to study in Europe, and attended the school of Sir Hubert von Herkomer, near London.  The training under von Herkomer was neither pleasant nor productive for Ella and she left the school for Paris, where she studied under Collins and Courtois in the Colarossi academy.  After returning to the United States in 1885, she found employment as an art instructor at a girl's school, and she painted and exhibited her private work.

On June 16, 1888, at the age of 25, Ella Grace Condie married Charles Rollinson Lamb and she joined the family firm of J&R Lamb Studios. Her professional work from that time forward was signed "Ella Condie Lamb" or "E.C. Lamb."  Ella and her husband had five children, but their first, Richard, died at the age of 5 months.  Karl was born in 1890, Katherine in 1895, Donald in 1896 and Joseph Condie in 1900.

Ella had a long career as an artist, producing both public and private art.  In 1890, her oil on canvas entitled An Advent Angel won the Norman W. Dodge prize at the National Academy of Design competition.  The Dodge prize was for the best picture painted by a woman in the United States.  Luncheon on the Palisades, Ella's oil on canvas of her husband and their son having lunch out of doors, received praise, as did The Singing Girl and others.  Ella's submissions won Honorable Mention at the Columbian Exposition in 1863, Gold Medal at the Atlanta Exposition in 1895, and Honorable Mention in the Pan-Am Exposition in 1901.

She exhibited at the National Academy of Design, Society of American Artists, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, Art Institute of Chicago, National Arts Club, the Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco, the Society of Independent Artists, and other venues.  She held one-woman shows in New York City in 1908 and 1912.  She was a charter member and life member of the National Arts Club, and was one of the two (the other was Violet Oakley) first women to be accepted into the National Society of Mural Painters.  She was a member of the National Association of Women Artists.

Ella and her husband had a large circle of friends and acquaintances.  Amongst their friends were John Quincy Adams Ward, George de Forest Brush, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, John La Farge, Gustave Stickley, William Merritt Chase, and Thomas and Maria Dewing.  Amongst their acquaintances were Mark Twain, Helen Keller and Thomas Edison.  In the summer of 1892, business called Charles to Europe, and Ella and son Karl spent the summer in the Cornish, New Hampshire art colony.

In 1917, America entered the first World War, and Ella and Charles' three sons joined the armed forces.  Ella performed Red Cross work and worried for, and corresponded with, her sons.  She produced a well known painting at that time entitled The War Mother which was hung in the window of Marcus Jewelers, on Fifth Avenue during a bond drive and received much attention.  It was her statement against the glamorization of war and was published in Art and Archeology magazine.  She also put on an exhibition of twelve Garden Paintings and Landscapes in 1917 at Touchstone Galleries.

Apart from her professional work, Ella was a busy wife and mother, the manager of two homes, and a friend to many.  She served on the district school board and headed a committee to create a park and playground in her Chelsea neighborhood.  She produced art work for political posters challenging Tammany Hall.  She fought for passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act. 

Ella Condie Lamb died on January 25, 1936.  The New York Times, in its obituary of Ella wrote that she was a "Noted" and "internationally famous artist".

National Arts Club
Arts Student League
National Academy of Design, New York, fall 1885, spring 1886 and 1889, 1893 - 1895
Society of American Artists, New York, spring 1886, May 1889
American Watercolor Society, New York, 1886
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, 1887, 1893
Chicago Exhibition, 1889
Rochester Art Club, May 1889
Women's Art Club, New York, Feb. 1890, Feb. 1891
Women's Club of Brooklyn, Feb. 1890
Columbian Exposition of Chicago, 1893
Atlanta Exposition, 1895
Art Institute of Chicago, 1895
Cincinnati Museum, Oct. 17-31, 1908
Association of Women Painters and Sculptors, 1909, 1914
Panama-Pacific Exposition, San Francisco, 1915
Society of Independent Artists, 1917
Washington Arts Club, 1924

J & R Lamb Studio, New York, 1908
Church of the Holy Communion, NY, 1912

Suydam Medal (first prize in Life Drawing), National Academy of Design, 1881
The Dodge Prize (for best picture painted by a woman in the United States), National Academy of Design Annual Exhibition, April 1889
Honorable Mention, Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893
Gold Medal, Atlanta Exposition, 1895
Honorable Mention, Pan-American Exposition Buffalo, 1901

The National Museum of Women in the Arts
The Flower Memorial, Watertown, New York
The Sage Chapel, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York
Lakewood Chapel, Minneapolis, Minnesota

National Society of Mural Artists (one of two first women elected)
National Association of Women Artists
National Arts Club (Charter and Life member)

American Art Review, Vol. VII, No. 3, June-July 1995, "A Noble Tradition:  American Paintings from the National Arts Club," Carol Lowrey.
Century, 49:235-242, Dec. 1894, "A Neighbor's Landmark."
THE CENTURY; A Popular Quarterly, Vol. 47, Issue 2, Dec. 1893, "The Century Series of American Artists.  The Advent Angel.  Ella Condie Lamb."  W. Lewis Fraser, 185-186.
The Craftsman, Review of Ella Condie Lamb's exhibition, May, 1908.
The Craftsman, "Is There a Sex Distinction in Art: The Attitude of the Critic Toward Women's Exhibits."  June, 1909.
The Art World, "Some Painters Who Happen to Be Women", March 1918.
The Mentor, 'Famous American Women Painters", Arthur Hoeber, March 16, 1914.
International Studio, "Ella Condie Lamb: Notes on a Recent Exhibition," May, 1912.
American Art News, December 8, 1917, (a review of Ella's exhibition of landscapes and garden paintings.)
Art and Archeology, 1917 (Month unknown)

Information about Ella Condie Lamb is available in various periodicals and books, but the most detailed and comprehensive information about Ella has been written by her granddaughter, Barea Lamb Seeley and published in, ELLA'S CERTAIN WINDOW:  An Illustrated Biography of Ella Condie Lamb; An American Artist. 

ELLA'S CERTAIN WINDOW:  An Illustrated Biography of Ella Condie Lamb; An American Artist, Barea Lamb Seeley, 1998, 331 pages, color plates. 
New York Times, January 25, 1936, pg. 15

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About  Ella Lamb

Born:  1862 - New York City
Died:   1936 - Cresskill, New Jersey
Known for:  portraits, landscapes, murals, miniatures, mosaic and stained glass