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 William Edward Starkweather  (1879 - 1969)

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Lived/Active: New York/Connecticut / Spain      Known for: marine, landscape, portrait and genre painting

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Ad Code: 3
William Edward B Starkweather
from Auction House Records.
Outdoor Painter, Karl Larsen
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
An American Impressionist painter, he was born in Belfast, Ireland in 1876. (The artist long believed that he was born in Edinburgh, Scotland but later found evidence about his actual place of birth).  Soon after bringing him to the United States in 1884, his mother died, and William Edward Bloomfield was adopted by the Starkweather family of Winchester, Connecticut.

Leaving the United States in 1899, he enrolled at the Academie Colarossi in Paris and there discovered the painting of Joaquin Sorolla at the Universal Exposition. In 1901, he returned to the United States and taught at the St. George's School for Boys in New York and did illustrations for popular novels.

He also studied at the Art Students League in New York City, with Kenyon Cox, J. Carroll Beckwith and John Henry Twachtman.

In 1904, he went to Spain and found Sorolla who influenced Starkweather's fascination with dappled light and the effects of shadow. Sorolla told him to learn directly from nature and to have the drawing skills of Old Masters and the color of the Impressionists.

In 1909, Sorolla introduced Starkweather to Archer Huntington and for the next seven years he was assistant curator of paintings at the Hispanic Society in New York.  He subsequently taught at various New York City art schools, including Cooper Union, Hunter College, the Pratt Institute, and the Traphagen School of Design. He taught a number of well-known artists, including Luigi Lucioni, Paul Cadmus, and Wilfred Conrow.

Starkweather was a member of the American Watercolor Society, the Society of Independent Artists, Allied Artists of America, and the New York Watercolor Club.

His work is represented at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Hickory Museum, the San Diego Museum, the Tides Institute, Yale University, and the New York Hispanic Society.

He wrote articles for magazines and journals, and published books about John Singer-Sargent, Francisco Goya, and others.

Some exhibitions:
"William E. B. Starkweather: The Travel Pictures", The Bertha and Karl Leubsdorf Art Gallery/Hunter College, September 15 to October 31, 1988

"The Works of William Starkweather 1879-1969", Hickory Museum of Art April 16 to June 25, 1989 and St. John's Museum of Art, July 6 to August 20, 1989.

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The following is from Renee Gluckman:

I purchased a Starkweather oil on board a few years ago entitled "The Port at Peggy's Cove, N.S. Canada" painted 1948. On the back was a page from Who's Who in America 1936-57 as well as the following obituary from the New York Times, 1969:

"William Starkweather, Artist, Teacher, and Writer, dies at 89. New Haven, May 15--William E.B. Starkweather, artist, teacher, writer and lecturer, died yesterday at the Golden Home convalescent home. He would have been 90 years old tomorrow. His home was at 98 State Street Brooklyn.


Biography from Spanierman Gallery:
Distinguished painter, teacher and writer, William Starkweather was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1879.  His parents immigrated to America when he was four, settling in New Haven, Connecticut.

After graduating from high school, Starkweather decided to pursue a career as an artist.  He initiated his studies at the Art Students' League in New York during the late 1890s.  In November of 1899, he traveled to Paris where he studied at the Académie Colarossi.  In January of 1900 he saw The Sad Inheritance by the Spanish painter Joaquín Sorolla at the Exposition Universelle.  Starkweather came away deeply inspired by Sorolla's rich color and vibrant brushwork, characteristics which had led to his being dubbed the "Spanish Sargent."

Returning to New York in 1901, Starkweather settled into a small garret on Washington Square South.  He supported himself and saved for a trip to Spain by teaching at a private boys' school and illustrating books.  In 1903, he arrived in Seville and immediately contacted Sorolla, who agreed to take him on as his student. Starkweather worked under the Spanish master of the next three years.

He was back in New York around 1906, painting landscapes and urban scenes in a style based on Sorolla's colorism and fluid technique as well as his own powerful draughtsmanship.  In 1909, Sorolla came to New York to attend the opening of an exhibition of his work organized by the Hispanic Society of America.  Starkweather was invited to coordinate Sorolla's American itinerary.  He also lectured on his teacher's work, and Spanish art in general, and published what would be the first of many articles and essays.  A year later, Starkweather was appointed an assistant curator at the Hispanic Society.  As part of his work there, he traveled throughout Spain, Europe and the United States, while continuing to paint in his spare time.

Starkweather's association with the Hispanic Society ended in 1916.  During the 1920s, he made a number of painting trips throughout New York State and the northeast, spending much of his time at Eastport, Maine and Grand Manan Island, New Brunswick.  He also visited Italy in 1925.  He continued to write about Spanish art as well as other artists whose work he admired, including Sargent, Winslow Homer and Anthony van Dyck.

He also taught at several institutions including the Cooper Union School, Pratt Institute and the Traphagen School before joining the faculty at Hunter College as an instructor of watercolor painting in 1936.  During this decade and the next, he continued his frequent painting trips, going as far north as the Magdalen Islands in Quebec.  He also produced many views and interiors of his home in Brooklyn Heights.

Starkweather had many one-man shows in New York, at such venues as the Folsom Galleries and the Fifteen Gallery.  He also exhibited with the Society of Independent Artists, the American Water Color Society and the Allied Artists of America.  He continued to work in a realist style, with much success, at a time when most American artists had turned to abstraction.  In 1948, Major Edward Brown helped establish a museum dedicated to Starkweather's work.  Situated at Endless Caverns in New Market, Virginia, the museum had a permanent display of Starkweather's oils and watercolors until its closure in 1976.

William Starkweather died in 1969.

Examples of his work can be found in many prominent collections, including the Metropolitan Museum, the Brooklyn Museum and the Hickory (N.C.) Museum of Art. In 1988, an exhibition of his travel pictures was held at the Bertha and Karl Leubsdorf Art Gallery of Hunter College. 1

Carol Lowrey

© The essay herein is the property of Spanierman Gallery, LLC and is copyrighted by Spanierman Gallery, LLC, and may not be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission from Spanierman Gallery, LLC, nor shown or communicated to anyone without due credit being given to Spanierman Gallery, LLC.

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at registrar@AskART.com.
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