|This biography from the Archives of AskART:|
|The following quotations, by and about the artist, are excerpted from
an undated article, "Artists at Home", by Richard Norris Brooke in the Times Daily (location not given). Edith Brooke Robertson, great niece of the artist, submitted the information.|
The artist, who kept a record of everything he ever painted with dates,
place, and sales record, is described as "a slender man, of infinitely
refined manner and bearing, with a quiet voice and unmistakable
conviction of truth in every spoken word." His studio was "an
immaculate room, the almost fastidious neatness of the man himself, the
sensitive, large white hands that gleamed in the half light, told
almost as much of the inner man as any careful study." He was 67
years old, but "his laugh was as spontaneous and infectious as a young
Of his life he said: "I was born in Warrenton, VA, and have always made
my home there as much as I could ever since. When I was nineteen,
I studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and had 197
pupils. Afterward I was at the Virginia Military Institute where
they had created a chair of fine arts. Shortly afterward, I went
as consul to La Rochelle, France, for four years, but did not do
anything but charcoal work. Bonnat was my real teacher, and I
studied with him in Paris, returning home with a canvas which now hangs
in the Corcoran Art Gallery."
(This picture has attracted widespread attention for many years, being
one of the few paintings of that era of negro subjects. It is
called The Pastoral Visit, and shows an old negro preacher making a call upon some of his colored parishioners.)
Of the painting, he said: "You see I saw the opportunity with the
eyes of one from the Continent. . . .My painting was a true
picture, a sincere reproduction of a phase of pastoral life familiar to
every American. But the war changed everything. The
romance, the essential pastoral qualities of negro life, were
undermined. I had caught the last flashes of a fast changing
Richard Brooke was not adverse to change. He said: "We
needed cubism. It has helped the world of art more than most
people can understand. The ultra-impressionists have heightened up
color in a remarkable manner. . . .I have taken black, burnt
siena, and almost all of all the darker colors gradually off my
Of his commitment to art he said: You see, that sincerity and
broad mindedness, being one's best self, is what counts in art as well
as in anything else."
Tragically 225 of his paintings were destroyed in a fire in his home.
|Biography from Charleston Renaissance Gallery:|
|Born in Warrenton, Virginia, Richard Norris Brooke studied with Edmund Bonsall and James Lambdin at the Pennsylvania
Academy of the Fine Arts, where he also exhibited. He taught at several
schools, including the Virginia Military Institute (1871-1872).
From 1873 until 1876, Brooke served as U.S. Consul at La Rochelle,
France, and subsequently studied under Benjamin Constant and Leon
Bonnat in Paris. |
On his return to the United States he settled
in Washington, D.C., on Vernon Row at 10th and Pennsylvania, and
painted two well received genre pictures of African-American life, The Pastoral Visit (1880; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.) and Dog Swap (1881; National Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C.).
interest in black genre subjects was successful but short-lived.
After 1881, he devoted himself almost entirely to landscape painting,
forming, with William Holmes, Edmund Messer, James Moser, Max Weyl and
others, the "Washington Landscape School." Inspired by the French
Barbizon masters and their Dutch and American followers, many of whom
were represented in the Thomas E. Waggaman collection begun by Brooke
in 1882, the group recorded the fast-fading arcadian beauties at the
Capitol, especially around Rock Creek Park and along the Potomac. In
later years he shared studio space with Max Weyl in what were known as
the "Barbizon Studios" near the White House, and lived with his nephew
Nancy Rivard Shaw, 2001 © Robert M. Hicklin Jr., Inc.
Catalogue Fine Arts Section: Appalachian Exposition. Knoxville, Tennessee: 1910, page 66, no. 240.
Cosentino, Andrew J. and Henry H. Glassie. The Capital Image: Painters in Washington, 1800-1915. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Press, 1983.
Kelly, James C. Virginia Visions: Selections from the Collection of Robert M. Hicklin, Jr., Inc. Richmond,Virginia: The Virginia Historical Society, 1995.
|** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at registrar@AskART.com.|
Richard Brooke is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
San Francisco Panama-Pacific Exhibition 1915