|This biography from the Archives of AskART:|
|Following are excerpts from a letter submitted by Peter Kostoulakos,
ISA, Fine Art Consultant, Lowell, Massachusetts. The letter to
Kostoulakos is from Jack Dean, a descendant of the artist, who is
researching to write a book on Walter Lofthouse Dean:|
wanted to let you know that I had a wonderful visit in Washington, DC
last week to see the Peace painting that my great, great uncle Walter
L. Dean painted in 1891. The painting was even more impressive
than I expected it to be. It is a huge work of art (9' wide by 6'3"
high plus a 10-12" frame), the painting is absolutely magnificent and
the massive, sculpted, gold frame is incredible. I was also excited to
finally find a good portrait of Walter, along with a letter he wrote to
the government in 1900 offering his help with a planned move of the
I also found more details about the purchase.
Although the painting was in the government's possession since 1900,
his daughters had to prove in the late 1920's that it had never been
paid for and that they were the rightful heirs, which they finally did
through a series of letters and an Act of Congress to get the $5,000
payment. The original legislation was drafted in 1900, while he
was living, to pay him $15,000, but unfortunately this was never acted
upon for reasons unknown.
It is interesting to me that Peace
hung in the Capitol unpaid from 1900 - 1928. I am convinced now
that Walter clearly understood the historical significance of this
painting and placed that as a higher priority over the recognition
and/or monetary gain he might have enjoyed by hanging it in a museum or
selling it to a private investor. The fact that it has been
hanging in relative obscurity since 1900, however, to some extent may
have kept him from greater recognition as a major maritime artist.
Anyone who sees this painting would agree that it is the work of a
It hangs now in a very important and frequently used
meeting room in the Cannon House Office Building which is right next to
the Capitol and connected thereto by an underground passageway.
There is a new Curator responsible for this painting who has plans to
completely renovate the room and clean and conserve the painting during
this summer recess. They had tested a cleaning process and you
can clearly see that the painting will be even more spectacular when
The most exciting part is that they are also planning
a major re-dedication ceremony for the painting in September or
October. They were extremely happy to have someone from the Dean
family to connect with and would love to have any family members or
appreciators of his work present at the event. I will keep you
posted when I get more specific information if you are interested.
my effort to write a book about Walter L. Dean, I welcome any input you
may have and your help with locating owners of his works. This
re-dedication ceremony adds some urgency to the project, so your help
right now is greatly appreciated.
Specifically, I am looking for
stories about Walter and his artwork, I am looking for current owners
of his works, and I am looking for help from anyone who can help me to
track down living family members and current owners. E-mail
addresses would be wonderful for anyone you know who might have an
interest in this endeavor.
My ultimate goal is to have a Walter
L. Dean Art Gallery, probably in Cohasset, where I can sell
reproduction prints of his works, buy and sell his originals and offer
other nautical artwork. I would also love to print a
"coffee-table" type book about Walter and his art.
|Biography from Whistler House Museum of Art:|
|The following is from Peter Kostoulakos, ISA ˜ Fine Art Consultant www.pkart.com|
Walter Lofthouse Dean was born in Lowell, Massachusetts on June 4,
1854 and died at his home on March 13, 1912 in East Gloucester,
Massachusetts. He is remembered for his landscapes, coastal
scenes, marines, harbors, and boats.
Dean's family moved to Boston when he was a young boy, but his strong
ties to Lowell made him a constant visitor. He spent many hours
on the water and became an expert sailor at a young age. Dean
entered MIT to study architecture but soon left to enroll in the
Massachusetts Normal School (now Massachusetts College of Art). He
worked hard and, upon graduating, he landed a position as a drawing
teacher at the Boston Free Evening School. He worked there for
two years and left for an appointment at Purdue University in Indiana —
a position he held for almost three years.
Dean's yearning for the coast led him back to Boston where he worked as
a marine artist and, in July of 1874, he met and later married Katie
Bates Whiting. With encouragement, he left for Paris in 1882,
where he studied at the Academe Julian under Gustave Boulanger and
Jules Joseph Lefebvre. Achile Oudinot, a friend of Corot, was a
teacher and friend to Dean for one year.
Dean's studies led him along the coasts of Italy, France, Belgium,
Holland, and England before he once again returned to Boston. He
bought a yacht he named Undine in 1885 and in 1887 he was off to
Gloucester to paint coastal, fishing, and harbor scenes which, of
course, included a yacht or two.
He kept a summer studio in East Gloucester for almost thirty years and,
just a year before his death, he built a house near his studio. Dean
worked in his Boston studio during the winter months and then, during
the warmer months, he sailed his "studio" along the coast. Exhibitions
were sparse up to his early thirties and his first major exhibit was at
the Boston Art Club Show of 1887. Dean exhibited with the Boston Art
Club from 1879 to 1881 and then again — when he returned from his
European studies — from 1886 to 1909.
Dean was a member of the Boston Art Club; Paint and Clay Club; Copley
Society, 1906; Salmagundi Club, NY; and several Massachusetts North
Shore Art Societies. In addition to the Boston Art Club, he exhibited
with the National Academy of Design 1881-96; Pennsylvania Academy of
the Fine Arts; Massachusetts Charitable Mechanics Association, 1887
(medal), 1895 (gold); and the St. Louis Exposition, 1904 (medal). One
of Dean's paintings, Peace, by a legislative act approved May 14, 1928,
hangs in an office of the House Committee on Naval Affairs — an
appropriate venue for a work produced by a man who lived and worked on
and by the sea.
Who Was Who in American Art, vol. I, page 154;
Davenport's Art Reference 2001/2002, page 507;
Redicovering Some New England Artists 1875-1900, pages 185-201;
Boston Art Club 1855-1950,
Vose Galleries, page 70;
Leslie Whiting Poitras.
|** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at registrar@AskART.com.|