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 Philip Leslie Hale  (1865 - 1931)

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Lived/Active: Massachusetts      Known for: landscape, figure, genre and portrait painting, teaching

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Philip Leslie Hale
from Auction House Records.
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Painter, teacher and writer, Philip Leslie Hale is recognized for his decorative paintings of the female figure and for his interior scenes with figures as well as for his progressive approach to painting. However, his career went through several phases that included sporting scenes, figural studies of women including nudes, portraits, and allegorical works reflecting the overwhelming forces of nature.

Of the Boston painters of his time, he seemed the most fully committed to Impressionism*, and his technique suggests the influence of French impressionist Edgar Degas. In most of his paintings, the landscape was more important than the figure.

He was a prolific writer in local newspapers and periodicals about the contemporary art scene, discussing the work of his Boston colleagues. He also wrote numerous books on art and art history including a study of Vermeer that was published in 1913. Among his writings are 1892 newspaper columns for Arcadia Magazine titled "Letters from Paris", art criticism for the Boston Herald from 1905 to 1909; and art criticism for the Boston Evening Transcript. He argued for the Boston School of Art as led by Edmund Tarbell whose style was based on Impressionism with elements of Realism, especially figure painting.

Hale was born in Boston in 1865, the son Reverend Edward Hale, a Boston clergyman and a relative of Nathan Hale. He studied with Ellen Day Hale, his sister, and Edmund Tarbell at the Boston Museum School*, with J. Alden Weir at the Art Students League* in New York City, and then went to Paris for further studies at the Academie Julian* and the Ecole des Beaux-Arts*. He remained in France for fifteen years, returning to America about 1895. During that time, from 1888, he spent summers at Giverny, France with his good friend, artist, Theodore Butler, and became well acquainted with Claude Monet. Traveling throughout Europe, Hale visited the major museums, and copied the works of Ingres, Vermeer, Watteau and Michelangelo.

Hale married Lilian Westcott Hale, a well respected artist, and they had a daughter, Nancy Hale. He taught for many years at the Boston Museum School and also for several years at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts*.

He died in Boston in 1931, of a ruptured appendix. Boston's Vose Galleries* held a retrospective exhibition of Hale's work in 1966.

Michael David Zellman, 300 Years of American Art
Peter Hastings Falk, Editor, Who Was Who in American Art
Vose Galleries

* For more in-depth information about these terms and others, see Glossary http://

Biography from Pierce Galleries, Inc.:
Philip Leslie Hale (American, 1865-1931):

Philip Hale was born May 21, 1865 in Boston the son of the famous Reverend Edward Everett Hale. He studied with Edmund C. Tarbell at the Museum School, Boston and privately with William Merritt Chase before studying with J. Alden Weir, Kenyon Cox.

Knowing how to paint competently before he went abroad, he first studied at the Arts Student League before sailing for Paris to study at the Academie Julian with Henri Doucet and Jules Lefebvre and at the Ecoles des Beaux Arts. When he returned to Boston, he again took painting instruction from Tarbell (1906), who was considered the leader of the Boston school of Painting. While he was a student of Tarbell's, he began a teaching career at the Museum School (1893-1931) and he became known as a rigid disciplinarian who was exceedingly lucky to be married (June 11, 1902) to the multi-gold medal winner Lilian Westcott Hale (who some felt out painted her husband).

Hale was highly influenced by Tarbell and by virtue of Tarbell's teachings by the sunlit interiors of Vermeer, the realism of Ingres and Gerome and the impressionism of French masters Sisley and Pissarro. Hale's light-filled plein-air subjects are reminiscent of some of Pissarro's 1890s landscapes in which small strokes of color are quickly applied with a thick impasto.

Solo exhibitions include: Durand-Ruel (NY, 1899); St. Botolph Club (Boston, 1911, 1921); Guild of Boston Artists (1916, 1919, 1925); Castano Gallery (Boston); Museum of Fine Art, Memorial Exhibition (Boston, November 1931); Vose Galleries of Boston (1966); Finer Things (Cambridge, MA 1970-71).

Memberships: National Academy of Design (ANA 1917); Philadelphia Art Club; St. Botolph Club; Guild of Boston Artists; San Francisco Art Club; Fellowship, PAFA (assoc.); Eclectics; National Arts Club and Portrait Painters.

Awards include: Honorable Mention and hors concours jury of awards, Pan-Pacific Exposition, San. Fran. (1915); bronze medal, St. Louis (1904); gold medal, Buenos Aires Exposition (1910); Harris Silver Medal, Art Institute of Chicago (1919); Proctor Prize, NAD (1916; Lea Prize, Phila. Water Color Club (1916) and the popular prize, PAFA (1919).

Author: Jan Vermeer of Delft (Boston 1913); Great Masters of Art (Crown Pub., 1935); numerous critics for newspapers and art magazines regarding the Boston school painters (art critic, The Boston Herald);

References: see Pierce, P.J., Edmund C. Tarbell & the Boston School (1980); Hale, Nancy, Life in the Studio (Little Brown 1969); obituary, American Art Annual, 1931, p. 411.

Submitted by historian of the Boston School, Patricia Jobe Pierce

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at

Philip Hale is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
New York Armory Show of 1913
Impressionists Pre 1940
San Francisco Panama-Pacific Exhibition 1915

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