(1845 - 1933)
Ernest Parton was active/lived in New York / United Kingdom, England. Ernest Parton is known for landscape, genre, animal and interior painting.
Biography from the Archives of askART
The following biogoraphy is from John Finnegan.
Biography from Jeffrey Morseburg
was the younger brother of Arthur, in whose studio he spent two
winters. However, he received no instruction in art from regular
masters or in any schools. He was elected a member of the
Artists' Fund Society of New York in 1873, contributing one work each
year to its sales. In 1873, he traveled to Europe for the
purposes of spending a few months mainly in Great Britain, but, meeting
with success in London, he decided to remain, exhibiting at the Royal
Academy and elsewhere.
In 1876 he visited the Swiss Lakes and
Northern Italy, making many sketches. He returned to New York in
1884 through 1886. Among his most notable paintings are: Morning Mist, exhibited at the National Academy (NAD) in New York, and the following exhibited at the Royal Academy in London: Papa's Lunch, The Placid Stream, Sunny September, Poet's Corner, The Silent Pool, Reflections, and The Duck Pond.
Artists' Fund Society, Royal Institute of Painters, London
Alpine Society, Dowsdell Galleries Earl's Court, 1897 Edinburgh, 1886
Fine Art Society, London Glasgow Institute of Art Grosvenor Galleries 1875-1880
Manchester City Art Gallery, Manchester Jubilee, 1887
National Academy of Design 1866-97
New English Art Gallery, 1893
New Gallery, London Paris Exhibitions 1889 & 1900
Paris Salon 1892 & 1894
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts 1905
Royal Society of British Artists Royal Academy, Birmingham Royal Academy 1875- 1932
Royal Hibernian Society, Royal Institute of Oil Painters, Toothe, Arthur & Sons, Twilight, 1893, Walker Art Galley, Liverpool
South Kensington Museum, Tate Gallery, Walker Art Gallery, Reading Museum, Salford Museum, Sunderland Museum
Benezit, E. "Dictionnaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs, et Graveurs, Gründ", 1999.
Clement & Hutton, "Artists of the 19th Century and their Works", Boston 1879.
Champlin & Perkins, "Cyclopedia of Painters and Paintings", Vol. III, NY 1887.
Falk, Peter H, "Who Was Who in American Art", Soundview Press, 1999.
Fink, M. "American Artists at the 19th Century Salons"
Fielding, Mantle, "Dictionary of American Painters, Sculptors, and Engravers", New York, 1926
A., "A Dictionary of Artists 1793-1893, who have exhibited works in the
Principal London Exhibitions", Kingsmead Press 1904
Graves, A., "A Century of Loan Exhibitions", Bath 1915.
A. Royal Academy of Arts, "A Complete Dictionary of Contributors and
their work from the foundation in 1769 to 1904", Vol. III. H. Graves,
Jarmon, A. "Royal Academy Exhibitors", 1905-1970, Vol. III, 1987
Johnson, Jane, "British Artists 1880-1940," ACC, 1980
Johnson, Jane, "The Royal Society of British Artists, 1824-1893", ACC, 1975
Poynter, The National Gallery, 1900.
Schmidt, Mary, "Index to 19th Century American Art Periodicals", Soundview Press, 1999.
Thieme-Becker, "Allgemeines Lexikon Der Bildenden Künstler Von Der Antike Bis Zur Gegenwart, Seemann", band 25/26, Leipzig 1999
Waters, B. "British Artists Working 1900-1950",
Wood, C. "Dictionary of Victorian Painters", ACC 1975
For more than fifty years, the expatriate American artist Ernest Parton
enjoyed great success in England with his paintings of the English and
French countryside. A true cosmopolitan, Parton did works
combining elements of the Hudson River School tradition that he was
trained in as a young man with influences drawn from the French
Barbizon School and the late-Victorian landscape movement to create a
sophisticated international style that made him a sought after and
affluent London painter.
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Parton won his fame by showing his works in the major salons and
exhibitions of the day including the Royal Academy, The Royal Scottish
Academy, the National Academy of Design in New York, the Paris
Salon, the Exposition Universelle in Paris and the Chicago World's
Fair. The large-scale paintings that he completed for these major
shows and expositions - works such as The Waning of the Year or When Lingering Light Greets Night's Pale Queen - were reproduced in art magazines and as fine prints, securing his reputation on both sides of the Atlantic.
Ernest Parton was born into a large and talented family who lived in
the riverside community of Hudson, New York, located in the Hudson
River Valley, just north of New York City. His father George
Parton (1812-1872), who came from Birmingham, England, immigrated to
the United States in 1833 and married Elizabeth Woodbridge of Mystic,
Conniecut the following year. The Parton family grew rapidly, the
growth rate only interrupted by George Parton's two lengthy trips west,
in 1849 and 1852, where he searched in vain for fortune in the gold
fields of California. Of twelve children, only six survived to
adulthood, three girls and three boys, all of whom became fine artists.
For an artistically talented American youth growing up in the
middle of the 19th century, there were few better places to live than
New York's Hudson River Valley. Thomas Cole (1801-1848), the founder of
the Hudson River School, began sketching in the valley in the
1820's. Sanford Robinson Gifford (1823-1880) grew up in Hudson,
New York, just across the river from Cole's home, and Frederic Church
(1826-1900), Cole's protégé, built a Moorish castle overlooking a bend
in river. These were three of the major figures in what was the
first great American artistic movement. The loose association of
artists who lived or painted in the Hudson River Valley was drawn
together by the influence of the Transcendental movement and the peace
and beauty of the valley and the surrounding Catskill Mountains, and
their school would come to dominate American art for more than half a
It is impossible to assess the life and work of
Ernest Parton without discussing his older brother and mentor, Arthur
Parton, who was born in 1842. Arthur was the fourth child of the
Parton family and the oldest of what eventually became an artistic
trio. He was an artistically talented youth, so despite parental
reservations, he was sent to Philadelphia to study at the Pennsylvania
Academy of Fine Arts under the great landscape and marine painter
William Trost Richards (1800-1900). He was a talented and
resourceful student and began exhibiting at the National Academy of
Design in 1861, while still in the final year of his art education.
After his studies, Arthur Parton began working extensively out of doors
with William Trost Richards and other members of the Hudson River
School, who lived in the valley.
Though his father wanted to
make a merchant out of him, Arthur's younger brother Ernest Parton also
began to exhibit artistic talent and an interest in becoming a
painter. In 1864, his brother Arthur wrote to him with advice:
"If you think of following painting as a profession, the best thing you
can do for a year at least, though you have only a few minutes a day to
devote to it, is to practice directly from nature. Try to
draw as nicely and truthfully as you can before sitting yourself down
to taking lessons, as Richards advises, or rather told me when I first
went to him. I know that what little advances I have made within a few
years is owing not to instructions from any master, but to labor out of
In his teenage years Ernest began to accompany Arthur
on sketching trips along the Hudson and in the Catskill Mountains and
to work alongside his brother in the studio. Because he had
Arthur to study with and other artists to rely on for advice and to
join on sketching outings, he did not feel the need to enroll in an
academy for formal training. After all, this was the er
In 1865, the year that the Civil War ended, twenty-year-old Ernest
joined his brother in his studio on Broadway, in New York City and was
soon exhibiting his own works at the National Academy of Design.
In 1869 Arthur Parton embarked on an extended trip to England and the
continent where he came under the influence of the French Barbizon
School and came to know the other new artistic movements. When he
returned, the older brother's work began to change, and through his
influence, Ernest's maturing work began to grow as well.
1873, after he had sufficient confidence in his art, Ernest Parton
followed in his older brother's footsteps and left for an extended trip
to Europe. Because Arthur's paintings of the Scottish lochs and
English countryside were selling well in America, the trip was probably
motivated as much by the realities of the commercial marketplace as it
was by artistic reasons. Parton landed in Glasgow, painted in the
Scottish Highlands, then in the scenic Lake District of England and
finally in the Welsh countryside. He soon found that he
enjoyed England and that in return, English buyers responded to his
work. Ernest's success motivated Arthur to give him some sage advice
once again, "We read that you appear to be getting along in a swimming
manner…Certainly I should try to make the most of your opportunities
while there, chiefly on account of the flatness of everything in New
York and all across the country."
Parton installed himself in a
studio on Newman Street in London, and set about adapting to a new land
and a somewhat different culture. With the U.S. mired in a long
period of economic doldrums, Parton found commercial success in England
and soon became a respected painter in the late-Victorian artistic
milieu. As an American expatriate artist, he was in good company,
for in the last decades of the century John Singer Sargent, George
Boughton, Frank Millet, James McNeil Whistler, and Edwin Austin Abbey
had all settled in England. Eventually he lived in fashonable St.
John's Wood and had a studio in picturesque Wargrave-on-Thames.
In 1875, two of Ernest Parton's works were accepted by the Royal
Academy, and he began a long run of success in the Academy's annual
exhibitions. In 1876, he painted extensively on the Continent,
doing sketches at Lake Como and painting in the Italian
countryside. In 1877 his interest in the French Barbizon School
sharpened, and he became part of a circle of Anglo-American painters
who spent their summers in the French countryside. In 1879, the
Royal Academy's Chantrey Bequest purchased Parton's picture The Waning of the Year for the permanent collection.
In addition to his English subjects, Parton traveled and painted
extensively in France, and contemporary critics saw a marked difference
between his French and English pictures. While most of his
paintings were painted at the end of the day, which used to be called
"eventide," the French paintings tended to be more atmospheric,
revealing the influence of the Barbizon School. This influence
was inevitable as he was part of a circle of painters that painted and
socialized in the small village of Grez-sur-loing, a short distance
Even though he spent most of his life as an
expatriate, Parton's American heritage was important to him, and he
continued to send paintings home for exhibition. In 1893, he sent
When Daylight Dies and Close of the Day home for the
World's Columbia Exposition, the Chicago World's Fair, where they were
exhibited in the American Pavilion. Parton also exhibited with
the National Academy of Design in New York. Some of the paintings
were American scenes that he painted on trips home; others were
Barbizon-tinged scenes of rural France, and the remainder were his
depictions of the English countryside.
At the end of his life,
Parton returned home one final time to die at the age of
eighty-eight. Over the course of his long life, the world of art
had changed dramatically, with artistic tastes and styles shifting
rapidly as one new movement succeeded another. However,
throughout his lifetime, Ernest Parton remained true to his own vision
of the landscape - a contemplative, restful and poetic transcription of
the natural world.
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