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 Allen Erskine Philbrick  (1879 - 1964)

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Lived/Active: Illinois      Known for: landscape painting, etching

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Ad Code: 4
Allen Erskine Philbrick
from Auction House Records.
Dunes Coastal
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:

The following information was submitted in November of 2006 by his great-grandson:

Born in Utica, New York, Philbrick lived in Winnetka, Illinois, a northern suburb of Chicago.  He began his art studies at the Art Institute of Chicago, then went to Paris to study at the Académie Julian and Académie Colarossi, and traveled extensively throughout Europe.  Philbrick exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago, the National Academy of Design, and the Paris Salon.

He was a teacher for nearly fifty years at the Art Institute of Chicago, and dedicated  summers in maine and Michigan to his painting.  During the years 1908 to 1918 and again 1932 to 1960, Philbrick and his family spent summers in Damariscotta, Maine, where he painted the local scenery and the places and towns where people gathered.  He also painted the small town during the Great Depression. 

The Depression in Maine hurt most those areas that were already poor, especially in the already hard-pressed areas, including the midcoast region.  Although the popular tourist resort community of Boothbay Harbor was only ten miles south,  for the people in Damariscotta and on the outskirts life was difficult.  Philbrick’s painting of the town including the Damariscotta River flowing underneath the bridge on a lovely summer day, appears peaceful and even cheerful.  In Maine Street, Damariscotta, Maine, he included hints of the depressed condition of the community just below the surface of the brightly colored buildings. There is little commercial activity on the street, and although several parked cars line the street, none are shown moving.  Of the few figures in the townscape, three are on the bridge and have stopped to look down at the rushing water of the Damariscotta River below.

From 1918 to 1932, the family spent the summers in White Lake Michigan, where his paintings of the dunes and the surrounding countryside were created. 

1932 to 1942, back in Maine, marks the artist's most innovative period, and also the last years he painted in oil. He employed vibrant colors, often switching between brush and palette knife.  In the 1940s he switched to watercolor as his primary medium, creating his own technique by layering pale washes to create a blending of shapes.

November 11 to December 30, 1988 "Allen Philbrick Rediscovered: An Exhibition of Paintings and Etchings from 1905 to 1936, Adams Davidson Galleries, Washington, D.C.
October 5 to December 4, 1980 "Allen E. Philbrick: American Impressionist", Farnsworth Museum of Art

Sources include:
Farnsworth Museum of Art, Maine.
Adams Davidson Galleries, Washington, D.C., Exhibition Catalogue

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