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Frederick Judd Waugh

 (1861 - 1940)
Frederick Judd Waugh was active/lived in New Jersey, Massachusetts.  Frederick Waugh is known for seascape-surf, landscape and floral paintings.

Frederick Judd Waugh

Biography from the Archives of askART

A noted seascape painter especially of surf churning against white froth on seaside rocks, Frederick Judd Waugh strove to convey the powerful movement of the water and the smell of the brine.  He was also an illustrator, a writer of children's books, a bookplate designer, a designer of silver and copper objects, and a camouflage artist during World War I.

He was born in Bordentown, New Jersey, and was the only child of painter Samuel Bell Waugh by his second wife, Mary Eliza Young, who was a miniature painter. He grew up in the atmosphere of the studio, and both he and his half sister, Ida, became painters.

He was trained at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts from 1880 to 1883 and studied with Thomas Eakins.  He continued his studies at the Academie Julian in Paris and exhibited at the Paris Salon.  He returned to Philadelphia in 1885, the year his father died, and remained until 1892 painting portraits and landscapes and doing commercial work for the firm of Dakin and Petrie.

In 1892, he married Clara Eugenie Bunn, whom he had met at the Pennsylvania Academy, and in that same year, they began a fifteen-year sojourn in Europe.  They lived primarily in London from where he did many paintings of the Channel Island of Sark and at St Ives, Cornwell.  He also did illustrations of the Boer War for Lord Northcliffe, the publisher of the London Daily Mail.

In 1907, after two of his seascapes were rejected by the Royal Academy, the couple returned to the United States. Ironically, these paintings became an instant success in America. In 1929, he won the Palmer Memorial Marine Prize of the National Academy of Design.

When he returned to the United States, he lived primarily in New York City, Montclair, New Jersey, Kent, Connecticut, and Provincetown, Massachusetts.  He was also a skilled architect and designed the Episcopal church of St. Mary's of the Harbor at Provincetown, Massachusetts.

He died in Provincetown, survived by a son Coulton, who drew the newspaper comic strip called "Dickie Dare".


Much of this information was provided by Peggy Frazier of Danville, California, who has done research on Samuel and Frederick Waugh.

Biography from Taylor | Graham
Frederick Judd Waugh's prodigious output is defined by his achievements as a marine painter.  The expressive and realistic effects of Waugh's paintings were the result of Waugh's exhaustive study of light, shadow, and motion of waves breaking on rocky shores.  As he wrote, "one should not conflict actualities in nature with artistic representation.... It is impossible to paint the sea in literal movement or to carry to the nostrils the tang of the salt sea brine, yet all these are somehow felt in a work of art. Being able to present such feeling is where the artist should excel."  By adhering to this philosophy, Waugh attained much stature as a marine painter, garnering a strong popular and commercial following during his lifetime.

Waugh outlined his outlook and working methods in several essays and manuscripts, stating that "it [the sea] is a pliable element and the wind and rocks and sands heave it up and twist it and turn it, pretty much the same way every time, until the observer learns to know the repeated forms he sees, and becomes at last so familiar with them that they can be painted from memory ... I spend part of each summer studying the sea ... and what I learn from it then, lasts me until the next time."

Frederick Judd Waugh was elected to the National Academy of Design in 1911.
He worked with both watercolors and oils in a plein-air style applying heavy impasto brushstrokes on the canvas.  The colors were often applied directly out of the tubes without prior mixing.  This technique added to the freshness of Waugh's paintings making the waves look bright and wet and creating a quality of light in his seascapes that are luminous.

He was born in Bordentown, New Jersey to parents who were both artists.  His father was a portrait and landscape painter and his mother a miniaturist.  Despite this background, it was only with difficulty that he persuaded his parents to allow him to study at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia.  There he studied under Thomas Eakins and Thomas Anshutz.  He continued his studies in Europe with Adolphe William Bouguereau and Tony Robert-Fleury at the Academie Julien in Paris.  For 15 years Waugh remained in England working as an illustrator for various London papers and magazines.

Waugh's early work consisted of figurative compositions, which were conventional and decorative.  He first began painting the sea while in England and this theme soon began to dominate his work.  Later, in St. Ives, Cornwall, Waugh shared a studio with Hayley Lever (1876-1958).  He undoubtedly would have come across painters from the popular artists' colony in Newlyn, near Penzance.  These painters, attracted by the rugged beauty of the Cornish coast painted en plein-air as did Waugh.

With reputation established, Waugh returned to America in 1907, and settled in
Provincetown, Massachusetts where he remained, except for brief excursions, for the remainder of his life.  His work is represented in a number of public museums and private collections.  Cut off from the outside world, he began his profound study of the color and form of waves and of the great laws that control the waters.

Waugh's friend, A. Seaton Schmidt, wrote in the February 1914 issue of The International Studio, that "Waugh reveled in the buffeting winds and storm tossed seas, wiping the salty spray from his eyes and painting on until the light was completely gone."

National Academy of Design, 1884, 1886, 1891, 1907-1941, prizes '10, '29, '35.
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, 1881-1913.
Royal Academy, London, 1899-1906.
Buenos Aires Exposition, 1910 gold medal.
Boston Arts Club, prize.
Art institute of Chicago, 1912 medal.
Connecticut Academy of Fine Art, 1915 prize.
Panama-Pacific Exposition, 1915 medal.
Philadelphia Arts Club, 1924 gold medal.
Carnegie International Exhibition of Paintings, Popular Prize 1934-1939.

Bristol Academy, England
City Art Museum, St. Louis
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City
National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.
Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, England

Biography from Pierce Galleries, Inc.
Frederick Judd Waugh was a marine painter and illustrator born in Bordentown, New Jersey in 1861.  He studied with his father, portrait painter Samuel Bell Waugh (1814-1885); at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts with Thomas Eakins, and at the Academie Julian in Paris with Adolf-William Boulanger and T. Robert-Fleury (1888-1889).  While sailing home from Paris across the Atlantic, Waugh became inspired to become a marine painter.  Soon he depicted the New England Coast and painted in Provincetown (MA) and on Monhegan Island (ME).

He was a member of the Royal Academy, Bristol, England; Associate (1909) and Academician (1922) of the National Academy of Design; Salmagundi Club; Lotos Club; National Arts Club; fellow, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art; Boston Art Club; Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts; Washington Art Club; North Shore Art Association (1924); American Federation of Art; and more.

Awards include medals at the National Academy (1910, 1929, 1935); Buenos Aires Exposition (1919, gold); Boston Art Club; Art Institute of Chicago (1912); Conn. Academy of F.A. (1915); Pan-Pacific Exposition (1915); Philadelphia Art Club (1924, gold); Carnegie Institute; and Buck Hill Falls Art Association (1935).

His work is represented at: the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Art Institute of Chicago; National Gallery of Art, Wash., D.C.; Brooklyn Institute Museum; Terra Museum of Art; Montclair Art Museum; Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool; Durban Art Gallery, South Africa; Dallas Art Association; Austin Art League; City Art Museum of St. Louis; Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art; Currier Gallery, Manchester, NH; the Edwin A. Ulrich Museum, Hyde Park, NY and more.

Frederick Waugh is best known for his ocean views that depict active waves crashing against jagged rocks along the New England coast. His views of the Monhegan shoreline show long distance views of the entire coast or close up views of only waves and rocks with little sky and no shoreline. Because he was an expert at painting the ocean he wrote and illustrated Painting by the Sea and Seascape Painting, Step by Step and Landscape Painting with a Knife. He also wrote The Clan of the Munes and illustrated for the London Graphic and the London Daily Mail early in his career.

Waugh exhibited extensively in the Paris Salons prior to exhibiting throughout the United States. By the time he died in Provincetown, Massachusetts, in 1940 he was a recognized worldwide for his sumptuous ocean and shoreline vistas in oil.

Biography from Altermann Galleries and Auctioneers, VII
Frederick Judd Waugh (September 13, 1861 - September 10, 1940) was an American artist, primarily known as a marine artist.  During World War I, he designed ship camouflage for the U.S. Navy, under the direction of Everett L. Warner.

Born in Bordentown, New Jersey, Waugh was the son of a well-known Philadelphia portrait painter, Samuel Waugh.  He studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts with Thomas Eakins, and at the Académie Julian in Paris, with Adolphe-William Bouguereau.  After leaving Paris, he moved to England, residing on the island of Sark in the English Channel, where he made his living as a seascape painter (Havens 1969).

In 1908, Waugh returned to the U.S. and settled in Montclair Heights, New Jersey.  He had no studio until art collector William T. Evans (a railroad financier and President of Mills Gibbs Corporation, a dry goods firm) offered him one in exchange for one painting a year. In later years, he lived on Bailey Island, Maine, and in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

In 1918, Waugh was recommended to serve as a camouflage artist (or camoufleur) for the U.S. Navy, as a member of the Design Section of its marine camouflage unit (Behrens 2002, 2009). That section was located in Washington, D.C., and was headed by American painter Everett L. Warner (Warner 1919).

According to a biography of Waugh (Havens 1969), "Many large ships, including the Leviathan, were painted according to his designs. Though the enterprise was of course a team effort in which no man played a solo part, he had every reason to be proud of his record. Only one ship with his system of camouflage was lost during the war" (p. 154).


Biography from Stuart Kingston Galleries
Frederick Waugh was a son of Samuel B Waugh, portrait painter, and he was a pupil of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, in Philadelphia, and of the Julian Academy in Paris.   He resided at various places in Europe between 1892-1907.   His works have been chiefly marines.

Biography from The Columbus Museum of Art, Georgia
Frederick Judd Waugh was born into an artist's family.  His first teachers were his father, Samuel B. Waugh, a respected Philadelphia portrait painter, and his mother, Mary Eliza Young Waugh, a miniaturist.  With encouragement from his parents, he attended the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, where he studied with Thomas Eakins and Thomas Anshutz.  After three years, he left for Paris, where he entered the Académie Julian and studied under Adolphe William Bougereau and Tony Robert-Fleury.  In 1883, while he was still a student, his work was accepted for the Paris Salon.  His father's death in 1885 brought him back to the United States, where he spent the next seven years doing commercial work and painting some portraits.  In 1892 he returned to Paris.

Although Waugh was very versatile and accomplished in depicting a variety of subjects, it was his marine paintings that brought him critical attention.  Visiting Sark Island in the English Channel in 1893, he began to study water, rocks, and sky, often battling the elements to paint en plein air (out-of-doors).(1)  By 1895 Waugh had set up his studio in the English coastal town of Saint Ives, Cornwall, where J. M. W. Turner had painted eighty years earlier.  A large window in the studio provided an intimate view of the ocean, and he could continue his intensive study of waves in greater comfort.  His wave paintings have been referred to as majesty in motion.(2)

Waugh remained in England for twelve years, working as an illustrator for various newspapers and magazines in London, and returning to Saint Ives to paint when time allowed.  In 1907 Waugh returned to the United States, eventually settling in Provincetown, Massachusetts.  He was elected a member of the National Academy of Design in 1911.  For five consecutive years he was voted the favorite artist of the prestigious Carnegie International Exhibition in Pittsburgh. 

Waugh was known to have painted up to ten canvases a month to keep up with the demand for his work. The United States government called on him to help camouflage the naval fleet in World War I.  Fittingly, upon his death, he was buried on the New England coast within sound and sight of the sea.(3)

1. George E. Havens, "F.J. Waugh: America's Most Popular Marine Painter," American Artist (January 1967): 30-37. also, see Havens, Frederick J. Waugh: American Marine Painter, Orono: University of Maine Press, 1969.
2. Gary A. Hood, "Majesty in Motion," exh. brochure, for Smith-Kramer, Kansas City, Missouri, n.d.
3. Harold Nelson, Sounding the Depths: 150 years of American Seascape. New York: American Federation of Arts, 1991: 47. Nelson suggests that this close-up of the water gives the impression that the artist is standing in the surf as he paints.

Submitted by the staff of the Columbus Museum, Georgia.

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Painted by Colton Waugh, son of artist

About  Frederick Judd Waugh

Born:  1861 - Bordentown, New Jersey
Died:   1940 - Provincetown, Massachusetts
Known for:  seascape-surf, landscape and floral paintings