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 Mollie Boyd  (1870 - 1928)

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Lived/Active: Hawaii      Known for: plein-air landscape, figure

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Biography from Charleston Renaissance Gallery:
Mollie Boyd was born in Rome, Georgia, and showed sufficient artistic talent to be allowed to go to New York with a sister in the early 1890s to study art.  She supported herself by decorating porcelain and pillowcases for department stores while attending classes at William Merritt Chase's New York School of Art and the National Academy of Design.  Summers were spent at Chase's school at Shinnecock on Long Island, about a hundred miles from New York.  Chase, one of the most admired American painters of his time, developed his sparkling, painterly style of Impressionism at Shinnecock. Under Chase's critical eye, his students followed a strict routine of open-air painting, using the grassy sand dunes as their major subject.

Several of the Chase students, including Mollie Boyd, went on to study in Munich, an important artistic center at that time.  Boyd absorbed the rigorous Munich realism with its accurate observation from nature and skillful technique.  Her figure drawings and character studies of Bavarian peasants are impressive examples of this style, yet the works were largely unknown until a group of these drawings was exhibited in the art gallery of Georgia State University in the early 1970s.  The High Museum acquired an example at that time.

After her student years, Mollie Boyd returned to the South.  She had won the Silver Elliot Medal at the National Academy of Design, the first woman ever to achieve this recognition.  Years of teaching followed as art department head at Shorter College in Rome and in other institutions.

She died in a fire in her home.


Gudmund, Vigtel, 100 Years of Painting in Georgia, published by Alston and Bird, Atlanta, GA on the occasion of its Centennial, p. 16.

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