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 Louis Loeb  (1866 - 1909)

About: Louis Loeb
 

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Lived/Active: New York/New Hampshire / France      Known for: magazine illustration, allegorical figure and landscape painting, lithography

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Louis Loeb
from Auction House Records.
Scene at Christmas party
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Louis Loeb began his career as an illustrator during the early 1890s, achieving considerable renown in the realm of black and white. However, he later turned his attention to painting, garnering widespread acclaim for his portraits and figural work. His many admirers in the New York art world included the painter William A. Coffin, who lauded his technical acumen and described him an artist who “was as sincere in his art as he was in his conscientious and upright life.” 1

Loeb was born in Cleveland, Ohio on November 7th 1866, the son of Alexander Loeb, a dry-goods merchant, and his wife, Sarah. After attending a local public school, he served as an apprentice at the lithography firm of Johns and Company. He later worked for a French lithography firm based in Cleveland, during which time he attended evening sketch classes at the Cleveland Art Club.

In 1887 Loeb moved to New York, continuing his work as a lithographer and taking evening classes at the Art Students League. Three years later he went to Paris, studying at the Académie Julian under Gustave Boulanger and Jules-Joseph Lefebvre and at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts under Benjamin Constant and Henri-Lucien Doucet. Loeb was also a pupil in the atelier of Jean-Léon Gérôme.

After returning to New York in 1892, Loeb worked as an illustrator for Century Magazine. His numerous projects included executing a series of illustrations for Mark Twain’s serialized novel, The Tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson, which were based on sketches he did while visiting the South. In about 1895, Loeb returned to the French capital to focus on easel painting, remaining there for three years.  During this period, he exhibited figure subjects at the annual Salon, where he won a medal in 1897. He also continued his activity as an illustrator for Century, executing, among other commissions, a selection of drawings to accompany Thomas A. Janvier’s article, “The Comédie Française at Orange.” He also traveled to locales such as England, Spain and Italy.

Upon moving back to New York, Loeb established his studio in the Sherwood Studio Building at 58 West Fifty-Seventh Street. In the ensuing years, he exhibited his portraits and figure paintings at venues such as the National Academy of Design, where he received the Hallgarten Prize in 1902 and was elected an academician in 1906. He also contributed his work to the exhibitions of the Society of American Artists, winning that organization’s prestigious Webb Prize in 1903. He likewise received medals at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo (1901) and the St. Louis World’s Fair (1904). An exhibition of his paintings, held at the New York Cooperative Society in 1903, drew praise from local critics, who admired Loeb’s sure draftsmanship and refined sense of color.

Loeb often taught life and portrait classes at the Art Students League, and was a founder of the Society of Illustrators in New York. He typically spent his summers in Canterbury, New Hampshire, although he is known to have made at least one seasonal visit to the Adirondacks.  In 1906, he conducted summer art classes in France, Holland and Belgium. In addition to working in oil, Loeb painted many watercolors.  His oeuvre includes allegorical subjects, as well as landscapes executed in a Barbizon-inspired manner.

Loeb’s career was cut short by his untimely death in Canterbury on July 12th 1909 at the age of fifty-three. A memorial service held at one of his clubs, The Judeans, was attended by many of his friends, including the painter William Merritt Chase and the collector William T. Evans. In one of the many obituary notices appearing in the wake of Loeb’s death, he was aptly referred to as a “memorable American artist . . . [who] possessed true genius and was an idealist in his art.” 2 An exhibition of Loeb’s work held at the Folsom Galleries in 1910 was followed, one year later, by a show at the Lotos Club.

Loeb is represented in public collections throughout the United States, including the Akron Art Museum, Akron, Ohio; Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts; Washington County Museum of Fine Arts, Hagerstown, Maryland; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the New Britain Museum of American Art, New Britain, Connecticut; the Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Museum of the City of New York; the National Academy of Design, New York; the National Arts Club, New York; the Nassau County Museum, Syosset, New York; the M. H. de Young Memorial Museum, San Francisco; the St. Louis Art Museum; the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.; the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.
 

1. William A. Coffin, “Art of Louis Loeb,” New York Times, 20 July 1909.
2. “A Memorable American Artist,” Harper’s Weekly 53 (31 July 1909): 33.

Source:
Spanierman Galleries, New York City

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