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 Blondelle Octavia Edwards Malone  (1877 - 1951)

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Lived/Active: South Carolina/California      Known for: landscape-floral outdoor

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Ad Code: 3
Blondelle Octavia Edwards Malone
from Auction House Records.
Lily Pond
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Blondelle Malone was an impressionist painter who was a student of John Twachtman and William Merritt Chase. She was one of several American artists to be dubbed the "Garden Painter of America". In 1904 she was living and painting in Paris, France. Around the summer of 1904 she traveled to Giverny, France at the recommendation of Mary Cassatt, rented her own house there, and settled in the Giverny art colony for the year. While living in Giverny, she befriended a number of important American artists who also lived there. The highlight of her stay in Giverny was when she met Claude Monet on December 20, 1904. During their initial meeting he showed her the paintings he was working on at the time, which included his famous water lily series. He also looked at some of her works and critiqued them. The meeting went well between them and Monet allowed her to return to his garden over the next year and paint his garden.

Blondelle Malone, who was a great admirer of Monet, was so taken by Monet's water lily paintings that she executed her own series of water lily paintings from his garden. Blondelle Malone may have been the only American painter to have painted Monet's water lilies during the period (In my research of many books I could not find any mention of any other artists who painted Monet's water lilies during the period, nor could I find any photographs of paintings of Monet's water lilies that were executed by any other artists).


Written and submitted January 2005, by Brad Aron.

Sources:

'Paint as I See Not as Others Paint, The Life and Career of Blondelle Malone', by Meg Moughan, Spring 1999 version of the Caroliniana Columns, "Newsletter of the University of South Caroliniana Society".

"Blondelle Malone Papers 1800-1956", Compilation from Blondelle Malone, family and friends, University of South Carolina, South Caroliniana Library. This contains Great biographical information on artist.

William Gerdts, "Monet's Giverny-An Impressionist Colony"

Website for the papers of Blondelle Malone:
www.sc.edu/library/socar/mnscrpts/malone4.html
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Born near Bostwick, Georgia, Blondelle Malone became a painter of Impressionist landscapes, directly inspired by Impressionist French painter, Claude Monet. Her family settled in Columbia, South Carolina where at age 15, she entered Converse College and studied art. Her education was followed by classes at the Art Students League in New York City with John Henry Twachtman and William Merritt Chase.

In the early 1900s, Malone went to California where she visited Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and Monterey. She became a close friend of Lucy Bacon, who is credited with historical significance to California art because, as a student in France of Camille Pissarro, she is "the only California artist who is known to have studied directly with one of the French Impressionists" (Gerdts 111).

In 1903, Malone went to Japan for a year and then to France, where she spent time with Claude Monet at his home at Giverny. He allowed her to paint scenes of water lilies in his garden.

Blondelle was a member of the National Association of Women Artists and exhibited with the San Francisco Art Association, the Pennsylvania Academy and the Society of Independent Artists. Her work is in the California State Capitol, the library of the University of South Carolina and the Columbia Museum in South Carolina.


Source:
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
Peter Falk, "Who Was Who in American Art"
William Gerdts, "California Impressionism"

Biography from The Johnson Collection:
Blondelle Malone lived an interesting and independent life and came into contact with some of the eras most noted artists. She was born into a prosperous family near Bostwick, Georgia, and spent her childhood in Columbia, South Carolina. In 1892, she entered Converse College in Spartanburg, where she studied art. In 1897, following college and desperate to expand her horizons, she went to New York and enrolled at the Arts Students League where she took classes with noted impressionists William Merritt Chase, John Henry Twachtman, and Robert Blum. She spent the summer of 1899 in the artists’s colony of Cos Cob, Connecticut, where she continued study with Twachtman and gained exposure to other Connecticut impressionists whose work greatly informed her development.

At the request of her parents, she briefly returned home to South Carolina, but eventually convinced them to let her return to New York where she resumed studies with Twachtman, and began to gain some recognition with book cover designs. Again she was persuaded to return home, but only for a brief period before she left for California, and then went on to visit Japan, for one year; and to Europe. She initially visited Italy in 1904 and spent an extended period in Venice. She also traveled in France, England, Holland, and Ireland. In France, she sought out prominent artists, such as Auguste Rodin and Mary Cassatt, as well as dignitaries and aristocrats. The highlight of her sojourn, however, was a visit in December 1904 with the artist she held in the highest esteem--Claude Monet, who lived in Giverny. She gained his acquaintance, solicited a critique of her work, and was allowed to paint in his famed garden. She also encountered other American expatriates working in the area, including Frederick MacMonnies and Theodore Butler.

While in Europe, Malone grew more serious about her art, exhibiting in some notable venues and dedicating herself to working in a modified impressionistic approach. She is best known for colorful floral landscapes. Her carefree existence came to an abrupt end when she received word from her father in December 1915 that her mother had died and that she must return home. She acquired a home and studio in Aiken, South Carolina, in 1916, but in 1920, she moved back to New York. After her father passed away in 1930, she purchased property in Alexandria, Virginia, became active in historic preservation, and continued painting into the 1940s. In her last years plagued with health problems, Malone returned to Columbia, South Carolina, where she lived out the remainder of her life in a nursing home until her death in 1951. She left a sizable bequest of her artwork to the Columbia Museum of Art and her work is also represented in the permanent collection of the Morris Museum, Augusta.

The Johnson Collection, Spartanburg, South Carolina
www.thejohnsoncollection.org

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