Information courtesy Peter Wynne, independent researcher, and Kate Ogden, The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.
Marion Swinton (d. 1939)
The artist Marion Swinton of Hackensack, New Jersey, was born on Staten Island, New York. She was a daughter of the painter Alfred or Albert Swinton from London, England.
Marion Swinton studied art with her father before entering the school of William Merritt Chase in New York City. She also trained with F. Louis Mora at the National Academy of Design in New York. For a time she maintained a studio in Chelsea, London; this was followed by a stint in Montreal, Canada, where she worked on portrait commissions.
Swinton and her sisters, Lucy and Clara Swinton, had a home at 407 State Street, Hackensack, for some 35 years. During the latter part of her career, she devoted her time to art instruction. She was also active as the local chairman of the League of Nations Non-Partisan Association in Hackensack.
According to her obituary, Swinton was "well-known for her local and historic paintings." The New-York Historical Society owns a series of watercolors by Swinton depicting the Victory Fleet in New York Harbor in 1919. One painting is titled "Victory Fleet Searchlight Display." All nineteen watercolors were the gift of George A. Zabriskie, one-time governor of the New York Commodities Exchange.
Swinton was also credited with having painted a widely admired portrait of President Woodrow Wilson. The portrait was reproduced frequently during the President's re-nomination campaign and was exhibited at Holland Art Galleries on Fifth Avenue, New York. Of the portrait Swinton commented, "I studied the President in various moods until I finally secured what I believed to be his characteristic attitude and expression." The portrait now hangs in Prospect House on the Princeton University campus in Princeton, New Jersey.
In April 1908, Swinton exhibited her work in a group show with other women artists at the Knoedler Gallery in New York. A portrait of hers was singled out for favorable mention by the critic Giles Edgerton, reviewing for Gustav Stickley's magazine, The Craftsman.
Other known paintings by the artist include "Triumphant Return of Woodrow Wilson on the S.S. George Washington" and a portrait of Colonel Larmany of the British Army. The latter was exhibited at the Royal Institute of Painters at Piccadilly, London. Swinton's portrait of the actor Joseph Jefferson in the role of Rip Van Winkle was painted when both were residents of an artists' colony at Ho-Ho-Kus, New Jersey. Swinton also painted a portrait of Miss Mary J. Reilly for the Randall Library of Stow, Massachusetts, which was founded by Reilly's uncle.
The New Jersey Historical Society owns lists of works exhibited by the artist, newspaper clippings, and letters and from the period 1922 to 1936.
Swinton died at home on February 12, 1939, and was buried at Valleau Cemetery in Ridgewood, New Jersey.
"Marion Swinton," New York Times, January 20, 1907
"American Art Notes," New York Times, February 17, 1907.
Edgerton, Giles. "Is There a Sex Distinction in Art? The Attitude of the Critic Toward Women's Exhibits." The Craftsman, June 1908.
"League Association Plans Program," New York Times, May 15, 1926.
"Marion Swinton Dies at Home," Bergen Evening Record, February 13, 1939.
Obituary and other clippings courtesy Peter Wynne