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 Will Howe Foote  (1874 - 1965)

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Lived/Active: Connecticut/New York/Florida/Michigan / France      Known for: impressionist landscape, interiors, figures and still life painting

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Will Howe Foote
from Auction House Records.
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Will Howe Foote was an Impressionist* painter whose style was much influenced by the atmospherics of Tonalism* and then Impressionism of the Old Lyme, Connecticut painters with whom he associated.  He was one of that Colony's earliest artists, first arriving to paint in the summer of 1901, and, dying in 1965, he was the last surviving member of the original Colony members.  However, much of his painting subject matter came from other locations, as he was not very fond of the dominance of the color green in the Old Lyme environs.

He was the nephew of artist William Henry Howe, and in 1901 accompanied this uncle to Old Lyme whose beauties had been touted to the young Foote by Clark Voorhees, whom he had met in France.

Both Will Howe Foote and his uncle were raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan where his father held an executive position in a prominent furniture company.  The father encouraged his son's obvious art talent, and in 1894, young Foote began his art study at the Art Institute of Chicago*.  There he became close friends with Frederick Frieseke, with whom he also attended the Art Students League in New York City.  In 1897, they went to Paris, and he attended the Julian Academy* under Jean Paul Laurens and Benjamin Constant.  He exhibited twice at the Paris Salon*, and in 1900 returned to the United States and exhibited frequently at the National Academy of Design.*

Foote's primary residence became Old Lyme, Connecticut.  In 1902, he became Frank DuMond's assistant at the Old Lyme Summer School, sponsored by the Art Students League of New York, and in 1903, he first went as a visitor to Cos Cob, Connecticut.

In 1907, he married Helen Kirtland Freeman, a painter at the Old Lyme, and on Sill Lane, they built a house, which was completed in 1909.  He and his wife traveled frequently, and in the winters, seeking warmer climates, he painted in Bermuda, the Caribbean, Mexico, and the Southwest.  One existing work from that period is Late Afternoon, Arizona, dated 1927.

In the 1920s, the sale of his work fell off considerably, but Foote was able to survive financially because he had family money.  He did not accept invitations for exhibiting his works, feeling it was not worth the effort and expense to do the shipping.  After 1933, his only exhibition venue was the Lyme Art Association*, and he destroyed much of his artwork except that which he judged to be the best.

Paul Rovetti, Connecticut and American Impressionism, (Exhibition catalogue of the William Benton Museum of Art), p. 159

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

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

Will Foote is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
Impressionists Pre 1940
Old Lyme Colony Painters
San Francisco Panama-Pacific Exhibition 1915

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