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 Bruce (Robert Bruce) Crane  (1857 - 1937)

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Lived/Active: Connecticut/New York      Known for: seasonal landscape painting, teaching

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Bruce Crane
from Auction House Records.
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
A popular landscape painter, especially of golden toned landscapes that conveyed fall and winter seasons, Bruce Crane, also a teacher, was strongly influenced by the French Barbizon school of painting and had a studio for many years in Old Lyme, Connecticut.  He also painted on Long Island, the Catskills, and the Adirondacks.  In 1882, he was in France at the colony at Grez-sur-Loring with Birge Harrison, Kenyon Cox, and Alexander Wyant, but he maintained a studio in New York City until he moved to Bronxville in 1914.

He took early art lessons from Alexander Wyant in New York City and then studied in Europe. He became a member of the National Academy of Design, the American Water Color Society, the Salmagundi Club, the Society of American Artists, and the Grand Central Art Galleries.  One of his great admirers was J. Francis Murphy with whom his work has often been compared.

David Michael Zellman, Three Hundred Years of American Art
Peter Falk, Who Was Who in American Art

Biography from Turak Gallery of American Art:
Robert Bruce Crane was born in New York City on October 17, 1857.  The son of Solomon Bruce Crane and Leah Gillespie, he was educated in New York's public schools and was exposed to the city's galleries and museums by his father, himself an amateur painter.  By the age of seventeen, Crane had moved to Elizabeth, New Jersey, where he was employed as a draftsman by an architect and builder.

He soon decided to devote his career to painting, and about 1876 or 1877 sought the guidance of the landscape painter Alexander H. Wyant, with whom he subsequently shared a close friendship until Wyant's death in 1892.

Between 1878 and 1882, Crane attended the Art Students League in New York and traveled to Europe for further study.  In the United States during this period, he painted in New Jersey; East Hampton, Long Island; and the Adirondacks.  He wrote to his father from the Adirondacks that among the influential painters working nearby at the time were Eastman Johnson, George and James Smillie, and Samuel Coleman, and he described the dramatic terrain:  "Went to the famous Rainbow Falls which several artists have tried to paint . . . Wyant and Hart among them . . . over the top comes tumbling the water which strikes every few feet throwing a spray which catches the sun giving a most charming as well as wonderful appearance."

Crane spent time in East Hampton, on the eastern end of Long Island, during the summer of 1880 or 1881 and possibly during other summers.  From there he wrote his father that the painters "Stimson, Dellenbaugh, Moran, Robbins and Coleman are here . . . I have finished the study of an old house . . . and the artists say that [it] is exceedingly good." In another note he described some of his typical subjects at this time: "I have been working on a 20 x 30 [inch] subject, a row of apple trees, gigantic in size . . . I commence in a few days the study sheep."

In these early works, Crane painstakingly reproduced the pastures, hayfields, and barnyards of rural East Hampton.  A critic later remarked that "Troubled or placid skies, the bright luminous atmosphere of a summer's day, or the gray tones of autumn were given in these pictures, not only with truth to nature and a certain poetic sentiment, but with a brilliant sparkling quality of effect.

Clark, Charles Teaze; "Bruce Crane, Tonalist Painter", Antiques Magazine, November, 1982.

Biography from Newman Galleries:
An acclaimed landscape painter of autumnal and twilight scenes, Bruce Crane used a literal and detailed style before adopting Impressionism.

Born in New York City in 1857, Crane studied under landscape painter Alexander H. Wyant, and continued his studies in Paris for a year and a half, painting outdoors near Grez-sur-Loing.

When he returned to New York in 1881, he achieved recognition for his plein-air landscapes of Eastern American scenes in the Adirondacks, Long Island, New Jersey, and Connecticut. His greatest popularity came in the late 1890's when he won the Webb Prize from the Society of American Artists.

After 1904, Crane spent many of his summers in the popular artist's colony of Old Lyme, Connecticut.  In 1915, he joined with Emil Carlsen, Charles Davis, and J. Alden Weir to establish Twelve Landscape Painters, an exhibiting organization of artists.  He died in Bronxville, New York in 1937.

Crane was a member of the American Watercolor Society, Artists' Fund Society, National Academy of Design, Lotus Club, Salmagundi Club, Society of American Artists, and the Union Internationale des Beaux-Arts et des Lettres.

His paintings are found in the Brooklyn Museum, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and the National Museum of American Art, among many others.

Biography from Heritage Auctions:
Bruce Crane is best known for his golden Tonalist landscapes of the lowlands between the Adirondack and Catskill Mountains. Born in New York City, he studied with Alexander H. Wyant before attending the Art Students League from 1878-82. In addition to the New York mountains, the pastoral settings of East Hampton, Long Island, and New Jersey also provided material for Crane's poetic works.

The Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy, Andover; Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown; Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk; Denver Art Museum; Hunter Museum of American Art, Chattanooga; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; New Jersey State Museum, Trenton; and Phoenix Art Museum are among the numerous institutions featuring Crane's paintings.

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Bruce Crane is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
Old Lyme Colony Painters

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