|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,
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:
An Interesting Spectator
Beach Plum Gatherers
Hide and Seek Look, then, into Thine Own Heart and Write
The Lace Maker
The Trysting Place
Submitted February 2007 by Janet Smith, Art Historian, Art Authenticator and Curator, Omaha, Nebraska.
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
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