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Eric Pape

 (1870 - 1938)
Eric L. Pape was active/lived in Massachusetts, New York, California / France.  Eric Pape is known for exotic historical and archaeological genre painting, educator.

Eric Pape

Biography from the Archives of askART

Biography photo for Eric Pape
Eric Pape, the Master of the Pageant, was born in San Francisco, California, October 17th 1870. His art education began in the San Francisco School of Design, under Emil Carlsen, after which he went abroad, where he remained five years. While in Paris he studied under the French masters, Boulanger, Lefebvre, Constant, Doucet Blanc, Delance, and Jean Paul Laurens, and at the Ecole des Beaux Arts under Gerôme.

In 1889 he worked for a year among the peasants and the picturesque country of northern Germany, and painted his first large Salon picture, The Young Spinner of Zeven ("Le jeune Fileuse de Zeven"), which was exhibited in 1890 at the Salon Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts, Champ de Mars, Paris, France. It was later awarded a medal at the California Midwinter Exposition.

In October, 1890, he left Paris for Egypt, where he remained two years, living over nine months by the great Sphinx and Pyramids of Gizeh. During this sojourn in the East, he traveled much on the Nile and made a trip through a portion of the Sahara Desert.

Among his exhibition activities are:

1) In 1891 ten paintings at the Exposition du Caire, Egypt
2) Four pictures at the Paris Salon, 1892
3) Two works at the World's Columbian Exposition, 1893 - The Site of Ancient Memphis and The Great Sphinx by Moonlight
4) Eight works (one piece of sculpture) at the Paris Salon, 1893, among them being The Two Great Eras ("Les deux grandes Eres"), a large painting, which later received a medal at the Atlanta Exposition
5) Three works at the midwinter Exposition, California, 1894; an exhibition at the Keppel Galleries, New York, in conjunction with works by Messrs. de Myrbach and Castaigne, made for the Life of Napoleon Bonaparte, 1895
6) Four works at the Lotus Club, New York, 1895
7) Cotton States International Exposition, 1896 exhibited by special invitation of the Jury at the International Kunst Austellung, Munich,
8)  Collection of eighty-two works at the Detroit Museum of Art, 1900

Mr. Pape has exhibited several years at the Society of American Artists, New York; Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts; Art Institute, Chicago; Academy of Design, New York; Art Club, and at the Copley Society of Boston, and numerous other exhibitions in the United States.

A year after his return from Europe he was married, on August 16, 1894, to Miss Alice Monroe, daughter of the late Prof. Lewis Baxter Monroe—author, dean and founder of the Boston University School of Oratory.

Mr. Pape has been awarded five medals. In 1902 he was made a member of the Society of Arts, London, England. He has been a member of The Players, New York, since 1895. He was elected to the Atlantic Union, London, England, 1906; and was a foundation member of the United Arts Club, London, England, the same year.

He is represented in European Pictures of the Year, published in London, 1893; Le Salon de 1893 (edition de luxe) published in Paris; Great Biblical Pictures of the XIX Century, published by Cassel, London, 1893

Among the works illustrated by Mr. Pape are the following:
    •    The Fair God, in two volumes, by Lew Wallace, the edition de luxe being the finest set of books of their kind ever published in this country - two volumes with two hundred and seventy-two illustrations, published in 1898. Mr. Pape went to Mexico to gather material for this work.
    •    The Life of Napoleon Bonaparte, by Prof. William M. Sloane (edition de luxe), published in 1895
    •    Hilda Strafford (a California story), by Beatrice Harraden, 1895
    •    The Children of the Sun, by Telford Groesbeck, published in 1897
    •    The Turn of the Screw, by Henry James, 1898
    •    Series of thirty-five water-colors for "The Life of Mahomet," in 1899
    •    The Great North Road, by Robert Louis Stevenson, Published in 1899
    •    Robert Tournay, by William Sage, published in 1900
    •    The Scarlet Letter, by Hawthorne (edition de luxe), published in 1902
    •    Isidro, by Mary Austin, 1905
    •    The Poems of Madison Cawein, five volumes (edition de luxe), 1907
    •    The War of the Air, by H. G. Wells, 1908

From 1893 to 1895 he made many portraits of distinguished personages. He traveled extensively in Europe and the Orient, and in the remote and artistic sections of the United States and Mexico.

He founded the Eric Pape School of Art, Boston in 1898, one of the largest institutions of its kind in the country, and he has since then been its Director and Head Instructor.

He designed and executed in 1906 the petition to Congress from the citizens of Massachusetts, to preserve from destruction the famous U. S. Frigate Constitution, and circulated this petition, securing 30,000 names in three weeks. The immense illuminated parchment and scroll is now permanently on exhibition in the Naval Museum at Washington, D.C. The Massachusetts Society, Sons of the Revolution, passed resolutions thanking Mr. Pape for his efforts in preventing the destruction of Old Ironsides.

In 1907 he designed the memorial, dedicated August 15th, 1907, Commemorating the Founding of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1623. It consists of a colossal bronze tablet surrounded by a bold granite bas-relief on a huge boulder (200 feet long by 50 feet high), at Stage Fort Park, Gloucester, Mass.

JVJ Publishing

Biography from the Archives of askART
Biography photo for Eric Pape
Born in San Francisco on October 17, 1870, Eric Pape began his art education at the San Francisco School of Design with Emil Carlsen and then went to Europe for five years.  In Paris, he studied with Gustave Boulanger, Jules Lefebvre, and Jean Paul Laurens, and at the Ecole des Beaux Arts with Jean Leon Gerome.

He first exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1890. He then spent two years traveling extensively in Egypt. In 1894, a year after his return to the United States, he married Alice Monroe of Boston.

In Boston in 1898, he founded the Eric Pape School of Art, which he served for years as Director and Head Instructor.  In 1906, he designed and executed the petition to the U.S. Congress from the citizens of Massachusetts to preserve from destruction the U.S. Frigate Constitution.  The ship is now permanently in the Naval Museum in Washington.  He also designed the memorial to the Founding of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1623, and the monument is at Stage Fort Park in Gloucester.

Memberships included in London, England The Society of Arts, Atlantic Union, and the United Arts Club.  He was also a member of The Players in New York.

Submitted by Warren Coolidge whose source is The Gloucester Pageant. an undated Massachusetts newspaper

Biography from the Archives of askART
Biography photo for Eric Pape
Born in San Francisco, CA on Oct. 17, 1870,  Eric Pape studied the violin for ten years before opting for an art career.  He studied art in his native city with Emil Carlsen at the Mark Hopkins Institute.  At 19 he left for Paris to study at Ecole des Beaux Arts. 

He spent many years in Paris before establishing himself in New York City and Boston where he spent most of his career.  While in Boston he was Director of the Pape School of Art during 1898-1913.  

Pape died in NYC on Nov. 7, 1938.  His works include genre, portraits and figure studies.

World's Columbian Expo (Chicago), 1893; California Midwinter Fair, 1894; Omaha Expo, 1899; Paris Salons, 1890s; Buffalo Expo, 1901; Louisiana Purchase Expo (St Louis), 1904; PPIE, 1915.

Edan Hughes, author of the book "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
SF Chronicle, 4-4-1893; Ber; AAA 1929-33; WWAA 1936-39; NY Times, 11-9-1938 (obit).

Nearly 20,000 biographies can be found in Artists in California 1786-1940 by Edan Hughes and is available for sale ($150). For a full book description and order information please click here.

Biography from Spanierman Gallery (retired)
Called "the Master of the Pageant," Eric Pape was a painter of historical and archaeological subjects, a landscape painter, art teacher, and illustrator. He was born in San Francisco and studied at the San Francisco School of Design under Emil Carlsen. While at the School of Design, Pape befriended painters Guy Rose, James Harwood, and Frederick Marvin. At the completion of their studies, the four young artists, or "The Four Scars of the West," as they called themselves, traveled to France by steamship from New York. In Paris, Pape enrolled at the Ecole des Beaux Arts, where he trained under Jean-Léon Gérôme. He also attended classes at the Académie Julian, receiving instruction from Gustave Boulanger, Jules Joseph Lefebvre, and Jean-Paul Laurens. In spring of 1889, Pape visited the village of Giverny, France, where Claude Monet lived. At the time, Giverny was rapidly becoming an important gathering place for European and American artists.

In 1890, Eric Pape spent a year in northern Germany. There he focused on painting peasants in picturesque countryside settings and painted his first large-scale Salon painting, Zevener Spinnerin, which was shown at the Salon Société Nationale des Beaux Arts, Champs de Mars, Paris, in 1890. In the following year, Pape journeyed to Egypt, where he remained for two years. In Cairo he established a studio which had previously been occupied by John Singer Sargent. Located in the garden of a collector of Asian rugs, jewelry, and furniture, the studio provided Pape with a ready source of subject matter to study. During this time in Egypt, Pape was accompanied by an Egyptian native, with whom he traveled along the Nile and visited the Sahara Desert. For nine months Pape traveled by camel, sleeping under the stars under the moonlit shadows of the great pyramids. Pape visited many Egyptian nomadic communities, where he carefully studied the tents and shelters and the vast space of the desert landscape.

In the early 1890s, Eric Pape exhibited his paintings extensively. In 1891, he showed ten works at the Exposition du Cairo, Egypt. The following year, four of his paintings were displayed at the Paris Salon. In 1893, two of Pape's works were on view at the World's Colombian Exposition in Chicago, including The Sphinx at Midnight (location unknown) and The Site of Ancient Memphis (Spanierman Gallery, New York). Also during the 1890s, Pape sent works to important American exhibiting organizations including the Society of American Artists, New York; the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia; the Art Institute of Chicago; the National Academy of Design, New York; and the Copley Society of Boston.

By the mid-1890s, Eric Pape was living in New York City, where he was becoming well known as an artist and illustrator. He created illustrations for many important historical and fictional books, including Henry James's The Turn of the Screw (1898), Robert Louis Stevenson's The Great North Road (1899), and H.G. Wells's The War of the Air (1908).

Pape's illustration career complemented his interests as an artist. While working on The Fair God, published by Houghton Mifflin & Co., he went to Mexico to research Aztec art. From his research came a great many images of historical and archaeological subjects. Ninety-five of these works portraying the life and customs of the ancient Incas, Toltecs, and Aztecs were shown at the Pan-American Exposition at the Palace of Ethnology and Archaeology in Buffalo in 1901. Pape was equally successful in showing his paintings at this time. An exhibition of his works was held in New York at the Keppel Galleries in 1894. Four years later, New York's Aldine Association presented a collection of twelve of his canvases. In 1900, two shows of Pape's art were held, at the St. Louis Art Museum and the Detroit Museum of Art.

In 1898, Pape founded the Eric Pape School of Art in Boston, which became one of the largest art schools in the country. Many well known artists received instruction at the school, which remained in operation until 1913. Pape had a home on Cape Ann toward the end of his life, residing at Manchester-by-the-Sea.

Eric Pape's subject matter was diverse. In his landscapes and genre scenes, Pape used a fluid, painterly style, demonstrating a consciousness of tone and a refined sense of design. Regina Armstrong described Pape's approach to painting by writing that "the arresting quality of human appeal seems inevitable in the scenes where Nature has furnished [Pape] but a transient mood . . . he has captured it with no other thought than the passing grace of the moment and to portray it in its own presentation of scene."[1]

Eric Pape belonged to many prestigious organizations and received many awards over the course of his career. He a member of the Society of Arts, London; the Players Club, New York; the North British Academy; and the United Arts Club, London.


© The essay herein is the property of Spanierman Gallery, LLC and is copyrighted by Spanierman Gallery, LLC, and may not be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission from Spanierman Gallery, LLC, nor shown or communicated to anyone without due credit being given to Spanierman Gallery, LLC.

[1] Regina Armstrong, "An American Painter: Eric Pape," Studio 26 (July 1902), p. 88.

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About  Eric Pape

Born:  1870 - San Francisco, California
Died:   1938 - New York City
Known for:  exotic historical and archaeological genre painting, educator

Essays referring to
Eric Pape

San Francisco Panama-Pacific Exhibition 1915