|This biography from the Archives of AskART:|
|Portrait painter and etcher Margaret Lesley Bush-Brown, born in 1856,
was well aware of the difficulties of being a woman artist, and alert
to the steps she had to take to insure the continuance and success of
her chosen path in life. |
She first worked making geological
models for her professor father. Her mother, Susan Lyman Lesley, a
social reformer and writer, was no doubt influential in establishing
the independence of her daughter's thinking. Bush-Brown gained a
commitment from her husband, sculptor Henry Kirke Bush-Brown, whom she
married in 1886, that she would continue to be an artist following
their union. In this capacity, she often made drawings for his
sculpture as well as pursuing her own talents.
Active in the
National Alliance of Unitarian Women, and a supporter of the Women's
Suffrage Movement, she traveled frequently to fulfill portrait
commissions. She lectured on "The Relations of Women to the
Bush-Brown studied at the Philadelphia
School of Design for Women and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine
Arts, also in Philadelphia. She was fortunate to study with an
artist and teacher of Thomas Eakins' insight and stature from 1876 to
1880 at the latter institution after working with Christian Schussele
there. In 1880 in Paris, she continued her work with
Emile-Auguste Carolus-Duran, then at the Academie Julian with Gustave
Boulanger, Tony Robert-Fleury and Jules Lefebvre. Back in Philadelphia
in 1883, she learned etching from Gabrielle De Vaux Clements.
and her husband were in Italy and France in 1888-1890, where she gave
birth to a son and daughter. They moved to New York City, living
there until 1910, when they went to Washington, D.C.
exhibited etchings at the Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois and the
Union League Club, New York Etching Club, Salmagundi Club, and National
Arts Club in New York City. Her paintings were regularly on
exhibit at the National Academy of Design, New York City; Pennsylvania
Academy of the Fine Arts, Boston's St. Botolph Club, Boston Art Club,
and the Paris Salon in France. In addition to several world
expositions, Bush-Brown also showed at the Corcoran Gallery of Art,
Washington, D.C. in 1911 and Boston's Doll and Richards Gallery in 1923.
was a member of the National Association of Women Painters and
Sculptors, Woman's Art Club, National Arts Club and the Washington
(D.C.) Society of Mural Painters. Her mural, "Spring," was painted for
the Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois.
Her portrait of Ellen Day Hale,
1910, depicts her good friend and fellow artist in her middle years,
her face a glowing island of light contrasting with her black dress and
hat. This work is in the collection of National Museum of
American Art, Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.
paintings may be found in the collections of the National Museum of
Women in the Arts, and Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.;
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts; New York Public Library; Boston
Museum of Fine Arts and Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts.
Lesley Bush-Brown died in 1944 in Ambler, Pennsylvania. Her
children were also noted for their talent. Her daughter Lydia,
born 1887, was a well-known designer; her son James became a landscape
architect, and her son Harold became professor of architecture at the
Georgia Institute of Technology.
Jules and Nancy Heller, North American Women Artists of the 20th Century
Peter Falk, Who Was Who in American Art
|** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at registrar@AskART.com.|
Margaret White Lesley Bush-Brown is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
San Francisco Panama-Pacific Exhibition 1915