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 Alice Kerr-Nelson Hirschberg  (1856 - 1913)



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Lived/Active: New York/New Jersey / England/France      Known for: watercolor landscape, portrait and genre painting

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Ad Code: 3
Alice Kerr Hirschberg
from Auction House Records.
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Alice Kerr-Nelson was born in England, February 12, 1856.  She came to America with her husband in 1884.  Her family heritage dates back to 1377, Burke’s Landed Gentry to Richard Nelson.  Her father was George William Kerr-Nelson, the Lord of Chaddleworth Manor in Northcutt, Middlesex, England.  She is also a descendent of Elizabeth Kerr, England’s painter of flowers, who dared to enter a man’s world by becoming a professional woman artist in 1763 exhibiting her art in London.
Kerr-Nelson’s primary education did not apply itself to the study of the arts.  The Royal Academy rejected her first watercolor submitted.  Without art studies in life drawing or from plaster casts she courageously attended art school at Heatherly’s in London.  Her first works were heads and costumed figures.  These were sold in England at country exhibits.  Her instructor, Raphael Collin visited the women’s art class once a week.
She married fellow artist, Carl Hirschberg in 1882.  The husband and wife artist team originally met at art school, and she attributed her art education to her husband, Carl Hirschberg, versus all other instructors.  The newlyweds moved to Paris in 1882 and studied there for two years.
At the Paris Salon in 1884 her work was exhibited.  After success in Paris the couple traveled to America in 1884, where she exhibited with the American Watercolor Society, where she continued participating in exhibitions.  In 1893, sshe made her home and studio in Morristown, New Jersey.  Her watercolor Melody, was exhibited April 8-29, 1893 at the Boston Art Club, Boston, Massachusetts, as no. 161.
The Hirschberg artist team of husband and wife team became known as the movers and shakers in the American Art Movement.  They were key American art influences as acknowledged by William Merritt Chase.
September 1901 Exposition Art Gallery at the Pan-American was opened with an exhibition of her painting, The Lace Maker, which indicated the artist was now living in Buffalo, NY.  At the same exhibit was art by John S. Sargent, Robert Henri, Robert Reid, John McClure Hamilton, Alexander Harrison, James MacNeil Whistler, Charles C. Coleman, Kenyon Cox, Edith Mitchell Prellwitz, Julian Story, Walter Gay, Eugene Vail, E L. Weeks, Thomas Eakins, J.H. Twachtmann, Howard Russell Butler, Walter MacEwen and many other artists of the day.
The American artists, William Merritt Chase and C. Y. Turner collaborated with Alice Hirschberg in many of their works.  Both artists acknowledged her as a liberated woman, great artist and a master of oil, watercolor, etching, wood engraving, fashion designer, and illustrator.
Her son was George Laurence Nelson, born in New Rochelle, NY on September 26, 1887.  He continued the family heritage as an artist professional and credited his mother as the major artistic influence.  His home was in Kent, CT and he gifted artwork to the Kent Historical Society.
The following are some titled works created to her hand:
A Lesson
An Interesting Spectator
At Meeting
Aunt Phoebe
Beach Plum Gatherers
Hide and Seek Look, then, into Thine Own Heart and Write
Maggie Tulliver
Niagara Falls
Sunday Afternoon
The Lace Maker
The Trysting Place
Vieille Normande

Submitted February 2007 by Janet Smith, Art Historian, Art Authenticator and Curator, Omaha, Nebraska.

Sources include:
Willard, F, A Woman of the Century, 1893.
Repository Location: Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution,Washington, DC, 20560 – personal and private papers of Carl Hirschberg.

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