The following information was submitted by James Benson in March of 2006:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
MEMBERSHIP IN ART RELATED ORGANIZATIONS
National Society of Mural Artists (one of two first women elected)
National Association of Women Artists
National Arts Club (Charter and Life member)
PERIODICALS WHERE REFERENCED
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."
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,
New York Times, January 25, 1936, pg. 15