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 Daniel Burleigh Parkhurst  (1859 - )

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Lived/Active: Pennsylvania/New York/Massachusetts      Known for: portrait and landscape painting, teaching, physician

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Ad Code: 4
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
Rocky coastal seascape at Eagle Rock in Manchester, MA
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Daniel Burleigh Parkhurst (born 1859)
Artist, Teacher, Writer

The artist Daniel Burleigh Parkhurst, M.D. was born in Gloucester, Massachusetts to David Otis and Fratonia Elizabeth (Smith) Parkhurst on December 26, 1859.  It was in the grammar and high schools of Gloucester that Parkhurst received his early schooling, as well as in the private boarding schools of Philadelphia. He is believed to have studied with the American artist William Sartain and with the French artists William-Adolphe Bouguereau and Tony Robert-Fleury. Parkhurst lectured in art, for a while, at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He never did receive a formal degree in art.

Parkhurst seems to have held three careers during different periods of his life:  teacher, artist, and physician.  His career as a teacher was brief, spanning only from 1883 to 1885 in Jacksonville, Illinois, and again from 1894 through 1896 in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.  From 1887 through 1894, Parkhurst worked as an artist and decorator, at first in Philadelphia, then in New York City beginning in 1890.  It was in this same year that he published his first book on art, entitled Sketching from Nature: Hints and Suggestions. In 1890 the artist and his wife, Anna H. Morrill Parkhurst, were living at 240 Main Street, Orange, New Jersey.  According to one source, their children Dorothy and Morrill Holden Parkhurst were born in Orange, New Jersey in 1902 and 1904, respectively, although another source lists 1894 as the year of Morrill’s birth.

Throughout the 1880s and 1890s, Parkhurst participated in art exhibitions, including at the National Academy of Design in New York (four exhibitions from 1883 to 1890); the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (1888 and 1891); as well as the Art Institute of Chicago (1890), where he exhibited his painting, The Opal Sea, which was also later exhibited by the Orange (New Jersey) Art Association.

Parkhurst was a member of the New York Water Color Society.

It was in 1898 that Parkhurst completed the book for which he is best known, The Painter in Oil: A Complete Treatise on the Principles and Technique Necessary to the Painting of Pictures in Oil Colors.  Since its publication, art scholars and amateurs alike have considered this an essential addition to the library of any oil painter.  Even today, it remains a much sought after book on the techniques of the old masters.  Interestingly, Parkhurst’s The Painter in Oils may have been the first American art instruction book to tell artists that they could choose not to varnish an oil painting, a great departure from the views of previous artists.

Parkhurst must have painted his portrait of Emory Rounds Tuller, M.D. (Vineland NJ Historical and Antiquarian Society) in the later part of the 1880s, while living as an artist and decorator in Philadelphia. It is in homeopathy that we find a link between Parkhurst and Tuller, the subject of the portrait. Dr. Tuller had moved to Vineland, New Jersey in 1866 because of his wife's ill health.

Parkhurst – despite having a seemingly successful art career, with exhibitions and two published books – studied at Harvard University for a time, then graduated from Hahnemannn Medical College in Pennsylvania on May 17, 1900 with a degree in Homeopathy.  It is possible that Dr. Tuller influenced Parkhurst to the point that he gave up his art career to study medicine. After all, the artist did publish his best known book while he was in medical school.

Parkhurst focused the rest of his career on medicine, first as a physician in Clinton, New Jersey, then in Los Angeles, California until 1905, and finally in Amherst, Massachusetts, where he spent the remainder of his life.

References:

William Richard Cutter and William Frederick Adams, ed., Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of the State of Massachusetts, vol. 2 (New York:  Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1910), 944.  Available online.

Edward Hale, ed., General Catalogue of the Divinity School of Harvard University (Cambridge:  Harvard University Press, 1915), 120.  Available online.

Daniel Burleigh Parkhurst, Sketching from Nature:  Hints and Suggestions (Orange, New Jersey:  Press of the Orange Chronicle, 1890). Available online.

The Art Institute of Chicago, Catalogue of the Third Annual Exhibition of American Oil Paintings, June 9 to July 13, 1890 (Chicago:  The Art Institute of Chicago, 1890), 20. Available online.

Daniel Burleigh Parkhurst, The Painter in Oil:  A Complete Treatise on the Principles and Technique Necessary to the Painting of Pictures in Oil Colors (Boston, Lee and Shepard Publishers, 1903), title page.  Available online.

Daniel Burleigh Parkhurst, The Painter in Oil, by Daniel Burleigh Parkhurst, Gustav's Library Vintage Reprint. Available online.  Interestingly, before modern republications, this book sold for $500+ and unbound photocopies sold for $60–80.  A beautiful reprinting is now available for $24.95 at this website.

Amherst College Bulletin. Massachusetts Obituary Record of Graduates and Non-Graduates of Amherst College for the Academic Year Ending June 18, 1919. No. 7. (Amherst, MA: Published by the College, 1919), 650. Available online.

Vineland Historical and Antiquarian Society, The Early Physicians of Vineland, N.J. (Vineland:  The Vineland Printing House, 1903), 16–17.  Available online.

William Richard Cutter and William Frederick Adams, ed., Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of the State of Massachusetts, 944–945.  Available online.

This biography was written by Jesse Kraft, a graduate student in American Studies at The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. 

Submitted by Kate Ogden, Jesse Kraft's instructor at Stockton College.



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