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 Margaret Foster Richardson  (1881 - 1945)

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Lived/Active: Massachusetts/Illinois      Known for: portrait, figure, interiors, coastals

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Ad Code: 3
Margaret Foster Richardson
from Auction House Records.
Portrait of Clarence Thulin in a Thulin Frame
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Margaret Foster Richardson, best known for her portraits in oil, also drew portraits in silverpoint and exhibited landscape sketches and genre scenes. Richardson studied with Joseph DeCamp and Ernest L. Major at the Massachusetts Normal School from 1900 to 1905. She then attended the MFA School from 1905 to 1908, where she was a student of Tarbell from 1906 to 1907 and assisted Anson Cross in his perspective class.

Richardson achieved tremendous early success. Her work was selected for numerous national exhibitions beginning in 1908 with the Corcoran Gallery Biennial, and she was given her first solo show at the Copley Gallery in 1910. In 1913, her self-portrait "A Motion Picture" was purchased by the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts for their collection of artists' portraits. After having an early success, Richardson took a five-month study tour of Europe in 1913. She also traveled to the American West in 1923 and returned to Boston in 1926.

Recognized for her uncanny ability to obtain an almost photographic likeness, Richardson was also praised for her capacity to express individual character and for her strong draftsmanship. Critics also noted the complete lack of flattery in her portraiture. In 1927 her prices were $150 for a bust and $200 for a half-length.

Richardson continued to receive commissions and exhibit widely until 1930. However, the demand for portraits was greatly diminished by the Depression and World War II, and Richardson was forced in 1943 to close her studio in the Fenway, put her painting supplies in storage.

Hirshler, E. "A Studio of Her Own, Women Artists in Boston 1870-1940"

Biography from Whistler House Museum of Art:
This biography was submitted by Whistler House Museum of ArtThe following is from Peter Kostoulakos, ISA ˜ Fine Art Consultant

Margaret Foster Richardson — best known for her portraits in oil — was born in Winnetka, IL on December 19, 1881 and probably died in Boston, MA in 1945. Richardson arrived in Boston in 1900 at the age of nineteen and began her studies at the Massachusetts Normal School from 1900-1905 with Joseph Rodefer DeCamp (1858-1923) and Ernest Lee Major (1864-1950). Then, from 1905-1908, she studied portraiture with Edmund Charles Tarbell (1862-1938) and assisted Anson Kent Cross (1862-1944) with his perspective classes at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Richardson's Boston studios include 14 St. Botolf Studios from 1905; 739 Boylston St. from 1910-1918; and 410 Fenway Studios from 1920-1922, and 1935. Her formal oil portraits were extremely faithful representations and, to the dismay of some, often unflattering to the sitter. She also drew in silverpoint and exhibited landscape sketches, coastal scenes, children, figures, interiors and genre scenes.

Richardson was an advocate for strict, academic art training and wrote articles condemning modernistic views.

Some of her sitters were fellow artists Laura Coombs Hills, Arthur Clifton Goodwin and Henry Hammond Ahl. Other notables were Mary Baker Eddy, founder of the Christian Science Church; and Mrs. Theodore Edson Parker. Strong, active women were among the many portraits she painted until the Great Depression lessened the demand for portraiture and, in 1943, Richardson was forced to close her Fenway studio, store her art supplies, and try to find another way to earn a living.

Richardson was a member of the Guild of Boston Artists, 1921; American Federation of the Arts; and Union Internationale de Beaux-Arts et des Letters. Her very early success brought her first solo show at the Copley Gallery in 1910. Other exhibitions and awards include the Corcoran Gallery Biennial; Norman Wait Harris Bronze Medal, $300. prize, at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1911; the Isaac N. Maynard Prize, $100., at the National Academy of Design in 1913; second prize at the Duxbury Art Association in 1920; and the Boston Art Club in 1909.

Her self-portrait, "A Motion Picture" was purchased by the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in 1913 and, a short time later , she started a five-month study tour of Europe. In 1923, Richardson traveled to the American West and returned to Boston in 1926.

Margaret Foster Richardson is represented in the collections of the Whistler House Museum of Art; Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, MA; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Boston University; Theodore Roosevelt School, Boston; Boston Public Library; American Legion Post, Lynn, MA; Public Library, Lawrence, MA; Mechanic Arts High School, Boston, MA; and the U.S.S. Phelps.

Peter Falk, "Who Was Who in American Art", vol. I, page 516
Ray Davenport, "Davenport's Art Reference 2001/2002", page 1543
Glenn Opitz, "Mantle Fielding", 1986, page 772
Daniel Mallett, "Index of Artists", page 369
Boston Art Club Exhibition Record 1873-1909, page 328
Ray Kreps, "Dealer's Choice Biographical Encyclopedia of American Painters"... page 1154;
Erica Hirshler, "A Studio of Her Own"... pages 138-139, 192-193 Whistler House Museum of Art files.

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