Charles Wyatt Eaton
(1849 - 1896)
Charles Wyatt Eaton was active/lived in New York, Quebec, Rhode Island / Canada, France. Charles Eaton is known for allegorical figure, portrait and rural landscape painting.
Charles Wyatt Eaton
Biography from the Archives of askART
Wyatt Eaton, draftsman, painter and writer was born in Philipsburg, Canada in 1849. He studied at the National Academy of Design, between 1867 and 1872. He also studied under Samuel Colman, Daniel I Huntington, and others while working in the studio of Joseph Oriel Eaton, a little-known artist (to whom he was not related).
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Wyatt Eaton's style was said to be "all environment" in which, according to him, "every teacher contradicted every other teacher-a decided advantage to the pupils because it made them think for themselves and threw them upon their own resources."
Upon completion of his studies in the states Eaton left for France, where, between 1872 and 1876, he studied under Jean-Leon Gerome at the Ecole des Beaux Arts; he also drew inspiration from Jean-Francois Millet, whom he met through the Boston expatriate artist William Babcock.
Following his return from France, Eaton was among the young European trained painters who, in 1877, formed the Society of American Artists in reaction to the discriminatory practices of the National Academy of Design. The founding group also included Helena de Kay, whose Portrait was one of the three that Eaton exhibited at the Paris Exposition in 1889.
Eaton's friendship with de Kay and her husband, Richard Watson Gilder, editor of Century magazine, is reflected in the artist's close association with that magazine. In 1889, for example, it published Eaton's Barbizon memoir, Recollections of Jean-Francois Millet. Earlier, the magazine had published Eaton's portrait series of well-known Americans, among them William Cullen Bryant, Longfellow, Emerson, and Whittier.
Eaton made a second trip to France in the 1880s. Like many American artists of the period, Eaton, a very skilled draftsman, worked in different styles depending on the subject he was depicting. This diversity was encouraged from his early training onward and was no doubt further influenced by his studies abroad.
In addition to the portraits for which he was best known Eaton painted pictures expressing what an early writer called his "poetic" side. These scenes often depicted classic nudes in "studio motif" settings "that reflected the artist's direct observation of nature which exemplified the way in which American artists synthesized their various European experiences."
One critic noted that his style "falls somewhere between the academicism of artists like Cabanel and the efforts of avant-garde artists unable to abandon this enduring artistic motif." He was primarily known for painting portraits, nudes and figures. During his life Eaton exhibited at the Paris Exposition of 1899. He also exhibited and was the first secretary at the Society of American Artists. His work can be found in important public collections. Wyatt Eaton passed away in Middletown, in 1896.
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