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 Eda Nemoede Casterton  (1877 - 1969)

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Lived/Active: Illinois/Montana/California/Wisconsin      Known for: portrait-miniature on ivory

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Ad Code: 3
Eda Nemoede Casterton
An example of work by Eda Nemoede Casterton
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following is from Marilee Bryant, granddaughter of the artist:

Eda Nemoede was born April 14, 1877, in Brillion, Wisconsin, of German immigrant parents. She was next to the youngest of eight children. She was very bright in school, but was not allowed to go past the sixth grade because her father wanted the children to go to work.

Eda showed a talent for drawing at an early age, and the little museum in Oconto, Wisconsin displays a drawing of a child done by Eda at the age of fifteen. Her older sister, Agnes, recognized her ability and sent her to the Minneapolis Academy of Art.

Following the death of her father, Eda, her mother, and most of the children moved to Chicago. Eda got a job as a stenographer and took up miniature painting. The miniatures were painted in watercolor on a thin sheet of ivory. She studied at the Chicago Art Institute, and under Virginia Reynolds, who was the most famous miniature painter in the country. Mrs. Reynolds was so impressed with Eda's talent that she bequeathed her unfinished orders to her.

While she was still in her twenties there were many glowing articles about Eda in the press. In 1905 she went to Paris and received much favorable attention there. She exhibited at the Paris Salon, and critics were astounded that anyone who had only studied in the United States could show such skill. An article in the "Chicago Chronicle", June 21, 1903, said: "Eda Nemoede bids fair to become one of the greatest miniature painters of America and those who have seen her work praise it unstintingly."

Lawton S. Parker, an artist and an authority on miniature painting, after viewing the work of the young Chicago girl said, "There are miles upon miles of miniatures in the French salon every year that will not compare with the best Miss Nemoede has done. Mrs. Virginia Reynolds, acknowledged to be the most famous and the best miniaturist in America, said Miss Nemoede was the most talented pupil she ever had, and that is high praise, for Mrs. Reynolds has had classes in Paris, New York and Chicago."

Back home, in 1911 she married William Casterton, and they had two daughters. As time went on Eda was forced to support the family with her art work, which now included large portraits in oil or pastels, as well as the watercolor miniatures. When the marriage of her older daughter, Jane, ended in divorce, Eda was also supporting Jane and her two young sons for a number of years.

In her later years Eda moved to Montana to look after her sister, Bertha. Her portraits were very popular there, and Eda loved the Northwest.

At the age of eighty-nine she was still earning her living doing portraits, but her younger daughter, Virginia, thought it was time for her to be closer to her family and moved Eda to her home in California. After the move, Eda completed a couple of unfinished orders, but she missed the blue skies of Montana and had little incentive to paint any more. However, she was always ready to give helpful criticism to
Virginia, who was now doing portraits in oil and pastel.

Special Awards and Exhibitions:
In a brochure from a showing at the galleries of Carson Pirie Scott & Company in 1927 it is stated that "Mrs. Casterton...received Honorable Mention at the
International Art Union, Paris, in 1907 and 1908, and was awarded a Silver Medal at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition (1915) and a Bronze medal at the Sesqui-Centennial Exposition at Philadelphia (1926).

She is a member of the American Society of Miniature Painters, and Pennsylvania and Chicago Societies of Miniature Painters.

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Eda Casterton is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
San Francisco Panama-Pacific Exhibition 1915

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