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Gaines Donoho

 (1857 - 1916)
Gaines Ruger Donoho was active/lived in New York, District Of Columbia, Mississippi.  Gaines Donoho is known for landscape-sunny garden, animal, sculptor.

Gaines Donoho

Biography from the Archives of askART

Gaines Ruger Donoho was born in Mississippi in December 1857. He early encountered the tragedy of life in general, and the Civil War in particular, when his father was killed, and he and his mother were moved to Vicksburg by General Ruger's Confederate cavalry. The General was his mother's relative. Donoho and his mother later went to Washington, D.C. where the young artist began to paint and study with area teachers. His interests tended to the Hudson River School painter Jervis McEntee.

After brief study at the Art Students League, New York City, in 1878, Donoho went to Paris, and the Academie Julian. He remained abroad until 1887, exhibiting regularly at the Paris Salon, and getting to know fellow American artists John Henry Twachtman, Edmund Tarbell, Frank Benson, and Childe Hassam, when the latter arrived in 1886. Hassam would describe one of Donoho's paintings as "probably the best out-of-door picture painted by an American at that time." Donoho would continue his relationship with these artists when all had returned to the United States.

By 1882, Donoho was shipping his work to America for exhibition at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia; National Academy of Design, New York City; and, in 1885, the World International Cotton Exposition in New Orleans. Donoho had been back in America for two years by 1889 when he was awarded a silver medal in an important exhibition at the University Exposition in Paris.

Returned from Europe to New York City in 1887, where he established a studio, Donoho would, several years later, make his final move to Long Island, New York, inspired by the establishment there of the Shinnecock Summer School of William Merritt Chase in Southampton. Donoho moved nearby to East Hampton, to Egypt Lane, where he spent the rest of his life. He would exhibit widely in museums, art galleries and academies, his reputation growing.

Donoho, influenced by the Barbizon School and Impressionism, was a painter of lush, fecund landscapes, extremely responsive to nature in bursting abundance, as most-often manifested by paintings of his own grounds and garden on Long Island. The critic Royal Cortissoz said of Donoho, "He painted that garden over and over again in the same spirit in which he pottered over his flowers and hedges, loving it all and understanding it."

Paintings like "A Garden," 1911, with its incredibly lush foreground growth, in the collection of the Art Gallery of Ontario, Canada; and "The Garden Steps," c. 1913, with an Impressionist tangle of bushy garden, now in the collection of the Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson, are characteristic examples of the artist's vision and his feeling for nature.

Since Gaines Ruger Donoho's death in 1916, little attention has been paid to his work by artists and scholars, though in his lifetime it was admired by artists like Pierre C. Puvis de Chavannes and James McNeill Whistler. A paperback, G. Ruger Donoho: A Painter's Path, was published in 1995 by the University Press of Mississippi.

(Gaines) Ruger Donoho, painter, printer and sculptor was born in Church Hill, Mississippi, in 1857. His widowed mother fled with him to Washington, D.C., during the Civil War. Following his schooling in Washington and Pennsylvania, he worked in the office of the United States Architect in Washington, where he developed his interest in painting. In 1878 he made a summer sketching trip to the Catskill Mountains, and that fall went to New York.

There he attended the Art Students League and also worked with the landscape painter R. Swain Gifford. Donoho left for Europe in 1879 where he resided in Paris, France for the next eight years. While there he entered the Academe Julian and studied under Lefebvre, Tony Robert-Fleury, Boulanger and Bouguereau.

During the summer months he indulged his passion for landscape painting, staying near the towns of Barbizon and Grez and sketching the countryside around the forest of Fontainebleau. He used broad-brush strokes, subdued palette, and the ideals of Barbizon landscape adapted to an Impressionist format. In his works "Donoho had grasped the importance of attaining immediacy by eliminating the horizon and forcing the foreground up to dominate the picture." Like John Twachtman and Willard Metcalf, who also studied at the Academe Julian during the eighties, "Donoho strove to fill the canvas with the close hues of the season, creating an overall surface richness."

After he returned to New York, in 1887, Donoho gradually withdrew from the art market and set up his home and studio in East Hampton, Long Island. Here sunlit garden scenes and tonal nocturnes replaced the French countryside of his young adulthood, reflecting the influence of his friend and neighbor Childe Hassam and a reciprocated admiration for Whistler. Although Donoho was reluctant to seek public recognition in later years, his work continued to be appreciated by his peers.

Donoho's paintings were exhibited at the Paris Salon, 1882; the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts; the National Academy of Design, 1883; Webb prize, Society of American Artists exhibition in Chicago, 1884; the Paris Exposition, 1889; Society of American Artists, 1892; the World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893; Carnegie Institute, 1911; gold medal, Panama Pacific Exposition, San Francisco, 1915; memorial exhibition, Macbeth Gallery, New York, 1916 and others. Donoho was a member of the National Academy of Design. He passed away in New York City in 1916.

Blake Benton Fine Art

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About  Gaines Donoho

Born:  1857 - Church Hill, Mississippi
Died:   1916
Known for:  landscape-sunny garden, animal, sculptor