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 Sarah Ellen Blackwell  (1828 - 1901)

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Lived/Active: New York/Massachusetts      Known for: landscape painting, drawing

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Miss Sarah Ellen Blackwell (1828-1901) born in Bristol, England to Samuel and Hannah Lane Blackwell. The family arrived in America when she was the age of four.  Sarah was home-schooled by her older sisters in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Blackwell studied in Philadelphia at the new School of Design at nineteen. She won a literary contest for a story and decided to further her literary and art careers in Europe.  She did this by securing weekly engagement letters from two leading Philadelphia papers providing four years of art opportunity for her in Europe.  In Paris she joined the government girls school for design and studied with Rosa Bonheur and Julie Peyrol.  She painted in the London National Gallery. Her studies in London were with John Ruskin and the Leigh Studio, and she did sketching "plein air" that summer in Wales, Switzerland, and the Isle of Wight.

Blackwell returned to New York and opened her studio teaching drawing and painting.  She later abandoned her art career to assist her sisters, the Doctors Blackwell, working with the New York Infirmary of Women and Children in the medical college established by them.  When her responsibilities lightened she returned to her painting and writing.

She authored A Military Genius" Life of Anna Ella Carroll, the Great Unrecognized Member of Lincoln's Cabinet printed in 1891.

She spent her summers on a farm at Martha's Vineyard, and wintered in New York City or Washington DC, creating many paintings throughout her life.

Note: Additional information on the Blackwell Family is at the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute.  The finding aid is located on-line and the information contains diaries, photographs and four generations of Blackwell family papers.

Written and submitted March 2004 by Janet G. Smith, art historian, art consultant and art authenticator.

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