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 Raphael Senseman  (1870 - 1965)

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Lived/Active: New Jersey      Known for: seasonal landscape painting

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Ad Code: 4
Raphael Senseman
from Auction House Records.
Wooded landscape with creek
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following text, written June 14, 2011, by columnist Kevin Riordan, is from, online from The Philadelphia Inquirer:

South Jersey painter Raphael Senseman had a popular touch

Richard Pillatt talks about Raphael Senseman's painting of Lord Camden, to his… (RON TARVER / Staff Photographer)

The painter Raphael Senseman, who mass-produced and then peddled his pastel pictures door to door, "wasn't a great artist," Richard Pillatt observed.

"He was the epitome of a commercial artist," the historian added, describing the "amazingly prolific" Collingswood painter during a talk at the Camden County Historical Society on Sunday.

"He rarely worked in oil, because oil was expensive," said Pillatt, who owns a gorgeous, golden Senseman seascape. "He painted what he knew would sell."

Senseman (1870-1966) had a good eye not only for local beauty, but for the local market. He made art out of South Jersey's woods, waterways, and changing seasons - working on as many as six pictures at a time - and made them affordable to working people. He'd even throw in a frame free.

No wonder Senseman is still beloved by fans - like the dozen people gathered at the society's museum on Park Boulevard in Camden for a one-day exhibit. About 20 watercolors and oils were on display, most depicting pastoral vistas.

"It was in the window of an antiques store in Collingswood, and I fell in love with it," Gail Valente recalled, describing an impulsive purchase she made 20 years ago of a signature Senseman view of Newton Creek.

"I was feeling down in the dumps, and the painting was so beautiful," said Valente, 62, of Collingswood. "I didn't necessarily have the means at the time, but I bought it for 50 bucks. And I treasure it."

Others talked about a similarly personal connection to the Senseman pictures that now grace their homes. Two sisters - Phyllis Wills and Carol Moan - remembered their mother buying them each a painting.

Senseman "came down Crestmont Terrace in Collingswood, peddling them," added Moan, 66, of Berlin Borough. She has since bought two more and describes all three as "very soothing."
In a 1986 issue of the Camden County Historical Society Bulletin, Peter P. Childs wrote that Senseman's uncle, the respected artist William L. Lippincott, informally taught his nephew.
From 1893 to 1898, Senseman painted labels at the Campbell Soup Co., and by 1906 he had moved to Collingswood and was selling his own work.

"It was [his] well-established routine to paint three or so days a week then to bundle up these works and sell them door to door . . . for as little as 50 cents or as much as $5 or $6," Childs wrote.

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Active in New Jersey as a watercolor painter and commercial artist, Raphael Senseman supported his family with his artwork for over seventy years. Often he was a visitor from his environs of the South Jersey woods to Washington DC to visit his son and to sell his work in that area.

His son in Washington DC was Ronald Senseman, the architect. Another son, Raphael ("Ray"), started the first hospital in Lancaster, CA. Another son was Lawrence Senseman, a psychiatrist. His last child is Miriam Senseman Perry Brown, a watercolor artist in her own right.

Peter Hastings Falk, Editor, Who Was Who in American Art
Joyce Rapp, whose grandmother was the sister of the artist

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