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 Mary Louise Fairchild  (1858 - 1946)

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Lived/Active: New York/Connecticut      Known for: figure, portrait, landscape, genre

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Mary Louise Fairchild Low is primarily known as Mary Louise Fairchild

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Ad Code: 2
Mary Louise Fairchild
from Auction House Records.
Portrait of Berthe Helene MacMonnies
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in New Haven, Connecticut, Mary Fairchild was a painter of both light-filled and tonalist figure, portraits, and landscapes, and won numerous awards and recognition including membership in the National Academy of Design.

She was of "blue-blood" lineage as a descendant of Governor William Bradford of the "Mayflower."  When her parents moved her to St. Louis, she began art study at the St. Louis School of Fine Art, and then she studied in Paris at the Academie Julian and with Carolus Duran.

In 1888, she married sculptor Frederick MacMonnies, and they lived and entertained fashionably in Paris where among their frequent guests was James McNeill Whistler. The couple summered with their two daughters in a 14th-century monastery in Giverny where they became good friends with Claude Monet and his family.  A next door neighbor was Isadora Duncan, who danced nude in her garden.

Both she and her husband earned high recognition at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. She had a large mural, displayed opposite one by Mary Cassatt, and two paintings, and her husband's large fountain was the central feature of the exhibition.

Frederick MacMonnies left Mary for one of his art students, and her second husband was Will Hickok Low, a mural painter, and they lived in Bronxville, New York from 1909 to 1932.  Bitter and feeling disgraced from her divorce, she dropped all personal references to the name MacMonnies.

She later returned to New Haven where she died.  Between 1886 and 1907, she exhibited regularly at the Paris Salon.  She also exhibited in 15 exhibitions at the Art Institute of Chicago.

David Zellman, 300 Years of American Art

Biography from The Caldwell Gallery - I:
Mary Fairchild Low studied art at the St. Louis School of Fine Art and at Acadamie Julian in Paris. She married in 1888 and resided in Paris, spending summers in Giverny. She later divorced her first husband and married painter Will Low in 1909. Her portraiture received acclaim at the 1893 Chicago Exposition.

Low's work reflects several phases of development. In the beginning she worked in a sunlit style reminiscent of her professor at Acadamie Julian. Later, however, her work became more tonal and misty. Low painted her portraits in very dark colors after her second marriage but gradually returned to a lighter, Impressionistic palette in the final phase of her career.

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