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 Emile Albert Gruppe  (1896 - 1978)

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Lived/Active: Massachusetts      Known for: landscape and marine painting, teaching

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Emile Albert Gruppe
from Auction House Records.
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Rochester, New York, Emile Gruppe became a renowned New England landscape and marine painter. Although he is best known for his variety of Impressionistic landscapes, he also painted figures and portraits. His modern style was largely inherited from French Impressionist Claude Monet. "Lily Pads," date and location unknown, one of Gruppes landscapes, attests to Monets influence and is similar to some of the paintings in Monets "Water Lily" series.

He was the son of landscape artist Charles Paul Gruppe, and was born in 1896 in Rochester, New York. He had a very strong art background. In addition to being raised by an artistic father, he was also educated in art at The Hague in the Netherlands and in New York City at the National Academy of Design and The Arts Students League. He also received instruction from artists George Bridgeman, Charles Chapman, Richard Miller and John F. Carlson, with whom he would later founded, in 1942, the Gruppe Summer School in Gloucester, Massachusetts. He made his permanent studio in Gloucester.

His artistic career had begun in 1915, but was briefly interrupted in 1917 when he spent a year in the United States Navy.

Gruppes prolific career brought him many awards and memberships. His popular painting "Winter, Vermont," date and location unknown, won the Richard Mitton Award at the Jordan Marsh Exhibition in Boston in 1843.

Source: "American Art Analog" by Michael David Zellman. Vol. III, p. 911

Biography from Michael A. Latragna Fine Art:

Emile Albert Gruppe, (1896-1978)

Emile Albert Gruppe was born in Rochester, New York in 1896.  The son of Charles Paul Gruppe who was recognized by the Dutch as being one of America's most gifted painters of the late 19th Century.  Emile was trained by his father and studied at the National Academy in New York City and the Carnegie Art School.  He studied under Charles Webster Hawthorne, John F. Carlson and George Chapman.

Gruppe was gifted in his ability to paint almost any subject whether a landscape, harbor scene or the human figure ( mostly nudes).  He was able to produce a large painting (30 x 36 inches) in a matter of hours.  I bought one such landscapes from a local artist in Rochester who said he spent the afternoon with Gruppe in his studio and watched him complete the painting.  After painting it, Emile gave him the painting. That was late in his career, he was able to turn out a huge volume of work and certainly had a great following for his paintings.  He was so prolific, I believe he produced thousands of paintings, as a dealer I have sold in my 30 plus years of art dealing hundreds of his paintings.  I tend to like his earlier works from the late teens to the early 1950's.  However, it is my experience that his works from all periods are appreciated and sought after.

I believe his largest component of success is the use of color and heavy brushwork producing wonderful impressionistic paintings, this is what I hear from collectors and other dealers.  He used bold colors, with heavy impasto, his paintings for the most part are up-lifting and happy.  Needless to say he was a master of all moods and atmosphere.  He enjoyed what he was doing, the more he painted the easier it became.

He was a member of many art organizations including the Salmagundi Club, The Rochester Art Association, Grand Central Art Galleries, North Shore Art Association and many more.  His works are in many museums and private collections.  As you can see by his paintings of Lily Pads he was like so many artists influenced by Claude Monet.  His early nudes also demonstrate a French Style of painting.  His paintings ranged from New England to Florida and even a few show up from Utah. As well as being the gifted painter he was he was a teacher of art and he produced three books: Gruppe on Painting, Gruppe on Color, & Brushwork
for the Oil Painter

As a dealer I have seen his paintings over the past 30 plus years escalate in demand and value.
Michael A. Latragna

Biography from Art Cellar Exchange:
Emile Gruppe (1896-1978) Master of Water Scenes

Son of renowned painter Charles Gruppe, Emile was born in 1896 and, in addition to his father's artistic influence, attended the Carnegie Art School where he studied with George Bridgeman, the Arts Students League, Woodstock NY under John F. Carlson, Provincetown, MA with Charles Hawthorne, Richard Miller, and George Chapman. He briefly interrupted his career when he entered the Unites States Navy in 1917 and served for a year.

Gruppe painted numerous works throughout his life. He is best known for his impressionistic landscapes, painted figures and portraits - especially for "his views of fishing boats docked at Gloucester and Rockport, and for his Rockport village scenes." For the majority of his professional career, he worked and lived in Gloucester, Massachusetts, often wintering in Vermont and Florida. In 1942, he founded the Gruppe Summer School in Gloucester with his mentors Miller, Carlson, Bridgeman, and Chapman.

Like many artists of the time, Gruppe was largely influenced by the work of Claude Monet. In his various paintings of the Bass Rocks area, Gruppe offers a view of the dramatic rocky seashore as it's majestic waves crash through it. A common theme in his work, his views of the coast differ in the time of day, season, and point of view, with variant intentions affecting the depth and breadth of brushstroke and the thickness of paint. Gruppe reveals the conflict of the sea and the formidable rocky coastline against the calm orange light of the early morning, or the deep orange sunset as a day draws to a close. He paints the rocks thick and heavy, but uses a surprisingly delicate hand to convey the variations in the sky.

Gruppe lived a long and prolific life, passionate about his art and about sharing the joys and skills of visual creativity with future generations. He died in 1978 at the age of 82. In one of his last interviews revealed his philosophy of painting: "If you want exacting details in a painting, than you might as well look at a photograph. I make an impression on a canvas, and let one's imagination fill in the details."

Gruppe's works can be found in the Richmond Art Museum, the Hickory Museum of Art, Springville Museum of Art, Whistler House Museum of Art, and more. His works are highly collectible and have brought dramatic prices near $40,000 at auction.

Biography from Pierce Galleries, Inc.:
Emile A. Gruppe was a painter-teacher who was born in 1896, the son of renowned painter Charles P. Gruppe (1860-1940).  He lived throughout his professional painting career in Gloucester, MA and wintered in Jeffersonille, VT and Sarasota, FL.

Gruppe studied at the National Academy (NYC), at the Grande Chaumiere, Paris; and with John F. Carlson, Richard Miller, George Bridgman, Charles Chapman and Charles Hawthorne (in Provincetown) and by 1930 he was known for his fluid, lucid post-impressionist scenes of the American landscape and of Gloucester boating views.

Member: Salmagundi Club; North Shore Art Association (1929-1978); Rockport Art Association; Gloucester Society of Artists; Allied Artists of America; Longboat Key AA; Sarasota AA; Grand Central Art Galleries; Rochester AA; Audubon Artists; Northern Vermont Artists; New Haven Paint & Clay Club; CAFA; Meriden Arts & Crafts; St. Augustine AA; Academic Artists, Springfield, MA.

AWARDS include: Allied Artists of America (1944); Springville, Utah (1928, 1946); Guilford, CT (1939); Meriden Arts & Crafts (1939, 1946); CAFA (1956); Rockport AA (1956, 1957); New Haven Paint & Clay Club (1935, 1938, 1939, 1940); Bridgeport, CT AA (1940); Champlain Valley Exposition (1949) and others.

Work: L.A. Museum of Art; Witte Memorial Museum; Smith College; Univ. of Idaho; Webber College’ San Antonio Museum, TX; New Haven PCC; DeCordova & Dana Museum, Lincoln, MA; White House, Washington, D.C.; Silverman College, Montreal, Canada; Montclair Art Museum; Speed Museum of Art; Butler Art Institute; Swope Gallery of Art.

Murals: Gloucester National Bank; Calloway Mills, LaGrange, GA; MacDonalds, Beverly MA.

In Who Was Who in American Art, (p. 1396, vol. 2) Peter Falk states, “Best known for his views of fishing boats docked at Gloucester and Rockport, and for his Rockport village scenes.  Founder of the Gruppe Summer School, Gloucester, MA 1942.”  He is also well recognized for his views of Florida, where he wintered.

Biography from Charleston Renaissance Gallery:
Emile Gruppe was the son of landscape artist Charles P. Gruppe, who lived and painted in Europe for 25 years before settling in the United States. Emile Gruppe was born in 1896 in Rochester, New York.

Gruppe had a very strong art background. In addition to being raised by an artistic father, he was also educated in his profession in the Hague in the Netherlands and at the National Academy of Design and the Art Students League in New York City. He also received instruction from artists George Bridgeman, Charles Chapman, Richard Miller and John F. Carlson, with whom he would later found the Gruppe Summer School in Gloucester, Massachusetts in 1942.

Gruppe's artistic career began in 1915, but was briefly interrupted in 1917, when he spent a year in the United States Navy. He made his permanent studio in Gloucester.

Although Gruppe is best known for his variety of impressionistic landscapes, he also painted figures and portraits. His modern style was largely inherited from French impressionist Monet. {Lily Pads}, one of Gruppe's landscapes, attests to Monet's influence; it is similar to some of the paintings in Monet's Water Lily Series.

Gruppe's prolific career brought him many awards and memberships. His popular painting {Winter - Vermont} won the Richard Mitton Award at the Jordan Marsh Exhibition in Boston in 1943. He died in 1978.

Biography from Roger King Fine Art, A - G:
Emile Gruppe, son of painter Charles Gruppe, was born in Rochester, New York.  Part of his childhood was spent in Holland, where his father worked as an art dealer.  In the United States he apprenticed to his uncle, a sign painter.

He attended the National Academy School, the Art Students League, the Grande Chamiere in Paris, and studied with John F. Carlson, Richard Miller, George Bridgman, C. Chapman and Charles Hawthorne.

Gruppe was a resourceful artist, teaching, painting posters for movies and prizefights, doing landscape backgrounds for an animal artist, and briefly working in advertising. He was one of the first artists in Rockport, Massachusetts to advertise his paintings for sale at a time when most artists sold their works in city galleries.  After the Great Depression, he spent winters painting in Vermont, rejoining his family each summer in Gloucester, Massachusetts, where he ran the Gruppe Summer School.

Gruppe spent nearly sixty years working almost exclusively as a plein-air artist, until suffering a slight stroke in his late seventies.  His work grew looser and freer as his career progressed.  He is best known for his fishing scenes and views of Rockport and Gloucester.  Gruppe enjoyed a national reputation, and exhibited widely throughout the United States.

Biography from Karen L. North, Private Art Dealer:
The son of artist Charles Gruppe, Emile Gruppe lived a long and full life until the age of 82. He studied at the National Academy of Design and the Art Students League in New York, as well as with artists John F. Carlson, Richard Miller and Charles Webster Hawthorne.  Gruppe lived and worked for most of his career in Gloucester, Massachusetts.  His most desirable paintings are his impressionist scenes of Gloucester Harbor and the village of Rockport, Massachusetts.

Emile Gruppe was a member of numerous arts organizations including the Salmagundi Club, Rockport Art Association, Gloucester Society of Artists, Allied Artists of America and others. 

He exhibited his art frequently and his works can be found in many museums including the Montclair Art Museum, Los Angeles Museum of Art and the Springville Museum of Art in Utah.  In 1928 and 1942, Gruppe won awards for the paintings he exhibited at the Springville Museum during those two years.  In 1942, the artist founded the Gruppe Summer School of Art in Gloucester, Massachusetts.

The artist once remarked:

“If you want exacting details in a painting, than you might as well look at a photograph. I make an impression on canvas, and let one’s imagination fill in the details.”

Biography from Newman Galleries:
American painter Emile A. Gruppe was born in Rochester, New York in 1896.  He was educated at the Art Students League* and the National Academy of Design*.  He was a pupil of John Carlson, Richard Miller, Charles Chapman, and G. Bridgman and also pursued his studies abroad.

Gruppe was a member of several art associations, including those in Rockport, Gloucester, and the North Shore.  He held memberships in the Audubon Artists*, the Salmagundi Club*, the Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts, the Allied Artists of America*, and the New Haven Paint and Clay Club*.  He exhibited at all of these and won numerous prizes.

Gruppe’s works hang in many colleges and museums, such as Smith College, Silberman College in Montreal, the University of Idaho, the Los Angeles Museum, the San Antonio Museum and the de Cordova Museum. His paintings are also at the White House in Washington, D.C. and the Gruppe Summer School in Gloucester.

Emile Gruppe died in 1978.

Biography from Spanierman Gallery (retired):
A prolific artist and an influential teacher, Emile Gruppé enjoyed a long and successful career that spanned over six decades. Best known for his vigorous portrayals of the harbors and houses of Gloucester, Massachusetts and the rural scenery of Vermont, his art reflects his belief that “When a man paints, he expresses his whole life; what he’s done and what he’s experienced. If you are bold and outgoing, your work will show it.”

Emile Gruppé was born in Rochester, New York on November 23rd 1896, a son of Charles P. Gruppé (1860-1940), a painter of Barbizon-inspired landscapes. In fact, Gruppé’s family was decidedly artistic; his brother, Karl, would go on to become a noted academic sculptor, his other sibling, Paulo, became a cellist, and their sister, Virginia, made watercolor painting her forte.

Gruppé spent his boyhood in Katwyk an Zee, a fishing village on the coast of Holland, where his father was active as both an artist and picture dealer. The family returned to America at the outbreak of World War I, at which time it was decided that Emile would pursue an artistic career. Having learned the rudiments of painting and drawing from his father, he went on to attend classes at the Art Students League, studying figure techniques under Charles Chapman and George Bridgman. His formal training also included studying landscape methods with John Carlson in Woodstock, New York during the late 1910s, an experience that led to his decision to specialize in outdoor painting. Gruppé also studied with Richard Miller in Paris and with Charles Hawthorne in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Although he appreciated all of his instructors, Gruppé later stated that it was “John Carlson who turned me into a painter,” teaching to him to see all “the pictorial possibilities of a subject.”

Emile Gruppé began his career painting landscapes in a subtle Tonalist manner that reflected the influence of his father, as well as the nuanced Impressionism of Carlson. He initially derived his subject matter from locales in upstate New York; however, on a visit to an exhibition at the National Academy of Design, he saw some paintings of Gloucester, the famous fishing port on Massachusetts’ North Shore, and decided to go and see this picturesque locale for himself. He made his initial visit to Gloucester in the summer of 1925 and was instantly attracted to its maritime ambience. Indeed, Gruppé began spending every summer in Gloucester, going on to establish a studio on Rocky Neck, in East Gloucester. As well as painting views of the town’s bustling waterfront and its streets and houses, he taught plein air classes to groups of enthusiastic students who were drawn to his artistic outlook, as well as his outgoing personality. In 1942, along with Bridgman, Carlson, Miller and Chapman, he established the Gruppé Summer School, which he continued to operate until 1970.

During the 1930s, feeling that he had outgrown his early tonal style and wishing to impart a greater degree of verve and sparkle to his paintings, Gruppé adopted a more direct and personal mode of painting in which he combined a dynamic brand of Realism with the light and atmospheric concerns of Impressionism. His mature work is much admired for its robust brushwork, rich palette, thick impasto, and keen sense of compositional design. A dedicated artist, Gruppé is said to have painted every day, producing about two hundred oils a year.

Gruppé exhibited at the major national annuals, including those of the National Academy of Design, where he made his debut in 1915. His paintings were also shown at regional venues, such as the Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts, the North Shore Art Association, and the Rockport Art Association, where they won numerous awards and prizes. His professional affiliations included Allied Artists of America, the Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts, the North Shore Art Association, the Gloucester Society of Artists, the Rochester Art Association, the Sarasota Art Association, the St. Augustine Art Association, and the Salmagundi Club of New York. While Cape Ann provided Gruppé with the majority of subjects for his brush, he also took winter trips to Jeffersonville, Vermont, where he painted views of birch trees, meandering country roads, and old barns and farmhouses. During his later years, he usually spent his winters in Florida, painting and teaching art classes. Considered a master of color and technique, Gruppé passed on his aesthetic precepts through his books, Brushwork for the Oil Painter (1977), Gruppé on Painting (1979) and Gruppé on Color (1979).

Gruppé died in East Gloucester on September 28th 1978. A retrospective exhibition of his work was held at the North Shore Art Association in 1997.

Gruppe's paintings can be found in many public collections, including the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts, Hagerstown, Maryland; the Hickory Museum of Art, Hickory, North Carolina; the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art, Loretto, Pennsylvania; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Montclair Art Museum, New Jersey; the New Britain Museum of American Art, New Britain, Connecticut; the Oklahoma City Museum of Art; the Richmond Art Museum, Richmond, Indiana; the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, Florida; the Springville Museum of Art, Springville, Utah; the Sheldon Swope Art Museum, Terre Haute, Indiana; and The White House, Washington, D.C.


©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.

Biography from Artistic Gallery:
Emile Albert Gruppe (1896 - 1978) was born in Rochester, New York to Helen and Charles P. Gruppe.  He lived the early years of his life in the Netherlands where his father, Charles Paulo Gruppe, painted with the Hague school of art and acted as a dealer for the Dutch painters in the US.

The family returned permanently to the states around 1913 when rumblings of World War I were brewing.  All of Emile’s siblings established themselves in the arts.  His oldest brother Paulo played the cello; his other brother Karl became a sculptor and his younger sister Virginia a watercolorist.

In the early 1930’s Emile found his way to the fishing town of Gloucester, Massachusetts and to the area known as Rocky Neck, one of the oldest artist communities in the US.  Here he established his home and The Gloucester School of Painting (1940 – 1970) in an old school house with his mentor John Fabian Carlson. Later, the village of Cambridge and town of Jeffersonville, Vermont with their surrounding mountains became a second campus for his students.  And still later, as he grew older, the warm breezes and good fishing of Naples, Florida provided another palette for his landscapes.

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