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 Lillian Mathilde Genth  (1876 - 1953)

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Lived/Active: New York      Known for: nude figure, portrait, landscape

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Ad Code: 2
Lillian Mathilde Genth
from Auction House Records.
A Pleasant Afternoon
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Philadelphia, Lillian Genth is known for her paintings of female nudes in landscapes, which she painted at her summer home in the Berkshires. However, later in her career (1928), she abandoned that subject matter for scenes of her travels that included Spain, North Africa, Japan, China, Fiji, Bali, New Guinea, and Thailand where she was commissioned to paint a portrait of the King.

She studied with Elliott Daingerfield at the Philadelphia School of Design for Women, and through the school worked as a dress designer. In 1900, she won the Elkins Scholarship which allowed a year in Paris studying with James McNeill Whistler, and she stayed an additional two years.

Upon her return, she settled in New York City and participated in exhibitions including the National Academy of Design and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

Early in her career, she gained a reputation for painting female nudes, about 150, with pastoral backdrops. Many of them are in museum permanent collections such as the National Gallery in Washington D.C.

She was highly credentialed in exhibitions, having entered nearly 250, and belonged to numerous associations including the American Federation of Arts and the National Arts Club.

Source: Phyllis Peet, "North American Women Artists of the Twentieth Century", edited by Jules and Nancy G. Heller.
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Lillian Mathilde Genth is an anomaly in the history of American Art. For an artist to have received so much attention, both critical and public, during her career and then to fall into almost complete obscurity is difficult to understand. How is it that an artist who received major national and international awards and citations, and who was included in over 230 exhibitions in a thirty year period, can become a mere footnote in the history of American art?

Genth's artistic style developed early and changed only slightly throughout her career. She was influenced from the beginning by the work of James McNeil Whistler her teacher. The emphasis he placed on the totality of the canvas remained evident in Genth's work throughout. In addition, Genth emulated Whistler's personality - one of fierce determination and a willingness to remain true to one's art no matter the cost. Surprisingly, though, Genth's popular and critical acceptance came at less expensive premium than Whistler's.

In her works, the artist employed certain characteristics, one of which was a strong, vibrant colour applied with a wide range of brush strokes ranging from early detailed floral studies to later broad, sweeping strokes and dabs of pigment. Genth always utilized a palette of high-keyed colors. The other characteristic of Genth's work is her portrayal of strong, beautiful women who seem to transcend their culture and society. Moreover, the females, either the nudes of her early career or the later exotic women of Spain, Africa and the Orient, always defy their societal confines.

When one looks at Genth's work, one can recognize how the artist has projected her own strong-willed personality onto the canvas. Hickory Museum of Art, 1990, Lillian Mathilde Genth, 1876 - 1953, A Retrospective.


Source: Turak Gallery

Biography from Pierce Galleries, Inc.:
Genth, Lillian Matilde (American, 1876-1953):

Lillian Matilde Genth was considered one of the most successful painters of landscapes and figures in America during her lifetime. Noted for her studies of wharves that were painted in a Whistleresque manner and for nudes in poetic, pastoral settings, Genth was a competent figure and portrait painter. Painting like "Along the Seine, 1907" were painted during her finest period and quite rare.

Genth was born in Philadelphia in 1876, Genth studied at the Philadelphia School of Design for women with E. Daingerfield and won the Elkins Scholarship in 1900, allowing her to go to Paris and study for one year with Whistler. She painted a portrait of Whistler while in Paris. She was an Associate (ANA, 1908) of the National Academy of Design; American Federation of Art; National Arts Club; royal Society of Art (London), Union Internationale des Beaux-Arts et de Lettres, Paris, France, International Society Art League, Allied Artists of America; National AWA; Associate Fellow of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and more.

Genths’ awards include the Mary Smith Prize at the PAFA (1908); the Show Memorial Prize, National Academy (1908); gold medal at the Carnegie Institute (1907); medal at the International Exposition of Fine Art, Buenos Airs (1910); National Arts Club medal (1912); and she was given solo exhibitions at Wilde Galleries, NYC (1927); Vose Galleries of Boston (1929) Milch Gallery, NYC (1931) and the Halaby Galleries, Dallas, Texas (ca. 1935). Her work is represented in the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Carnegie Institute; Philadelphia Art Club; Brooklyn Art Institute; National Gallery of Art; Detroit Club; Cremer Collection, Dortmund, Germany; Newark Museum; Los Angeles County Museum and more.


Biography from Charleston Renaissance Gallery:
LILLIAN MATHILDE GENTH, 1876 – 1953

One of the major figure painters of the early twentieth century, Lillian Genth studied with Elliott Daingerfield at the Philadelphia School of Design for Women, and with James McNeill Whistler in Paris. Initially a painter of landscapes, Genth turned in 1906 to depictions of beautiful women, primarily nude figures in outdoor settings.

Throughout the 1910s and the 1920s she exhibited to great acclaim in the United States, Canada and South America. In this period of success, the artist maintained two residences, one in New York City, the other in the Berkshire Mountains of Connecticut, near the little town of Lime Rock.

Her estate, called “Hermitcliff,” was situated on 70 acres of virgin woodland. There, Genth was able to pose her models outdoors, away from prying eyes. In addition to the nude compositions, Genth painted attractive young women in domestic settings and in sunlit gardens.

Nancy Rivard Shaw, 2001 © Robert M. Hicklin Jr., Inc.

References:
Sherman, Frederic Fairchild. "Landscape and Figure Painters of America". New York: Privately printed, 1917.

"Lillian Mathilde Genth, 1876-1953: A Retrospective. Exhibition Catalogue". Hickory, North Carolina: Hickory Museum of Art, 1988.

Biography from The Caldwell Gallery - I:
Lillian Genth was born in 1876. She studied at the Philidelphia School of Design for Women and won the Elkins Scholarship in 1900 and traveled to Paris. Genth studied under Whistler for one year. He focus was on female nudes in pastoral settings. After painting 150 of these scenes and gaining significant recogntion, Genth declared that she would never pain another nude. From then on Genth painted only portraits of people in Brittney, Venice and North Africa.
Genth’s great success is attributed to her style of painting; in an academic manner but added subtle, exotic details. She was elected Associate Member of the National Academy of Design in 1908. Her work can be seen at the Metropolitan Museum, NYC, and the National Gallery of Art in Washinton D.C. Genth died in 1953.


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Lillian Genth is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
Painters of Nudes
Women Artists



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