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 Wesley Elbridge Webber  (1841 - 1914)

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Lived/Active: Massachusetts/California/Maine      Known for: marine, landscape, historical genre

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Ad Code: 3
Wesley Elbridge Webber
from Auction House Records.
Near North Head, Grand Ma
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
These Notes from AskART represent the beginning of a possible future biography for this artist. Please click here if you wish to help in its development:
Born in Gardiner, ME in 1841. Webber was a self-taught, Eastern artist who was active in Yosemite in 1886. He died in Wollaston, MA on Nov. 4, 1914. Exh: Boston Art Club, 1874-91; Williams & Everett Gallery (Boston), 1877.
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
Dictionary of American Painters, Sculptors & Engravers (Fielding, Mantle).
Nearly 20,000 biographies can be found in Artists in California 1786-1940 by Edan Hughes and is available for sale ($150). For a full book description and order information please click here.

Biography from Pierce Galleries, Inc.:
Webber, Wesley (American, 1839-1914)

Landscape and marine painter Wesley Webber was born in Gardiner, Maine and died in Wollaston, Massachusetts in November 1914. He lived in Boston from 1870 to 1890 and in New York City from 1892 and was self-taught. He is considered one of the finer landscape painters who painted from life in the Conway area of New Hampshire and along the New England coast and he is reminiscent of the Hudson River School in style and manner.

Webber served in the Civil War (Company B of the Sixteenth Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment) and was present at General Lee's surrender at Appomattox. His original sketches made at the surrender, along with his finished illustrations of the Civil War were shown at the Boston Art Club and brought Webber considerable fame, recognition and fortune. Many of his Civil War scenes were published as wood engravings in Harper's Weekly and as a lithograph published by J.H. Bufford of Boston. He was discharged from Civil War service in Augusta, Maine, June 15, 1865 and he opened a studio in Gardiner, where he became a carriage painter. Thereafter, Webber earned a fine reputation as a marine and landscape painter, but at the end of his life (ca. 1900-1914) he became an alcoholic and his style weakened along with his reputation.

Webber shared a Boston studio in Pemberton Square and then shared a Boston studio with marine painter William P. Stubbs (1876-) and kept other studios in New York City until his death. Every summer he went to Conway, New Hampshire to paint the hillside, where painters John J. Enneking, Frank Shapleigh and others joined him to paint. He also painted in Manchester-by-the-Sea, in Nova Scotia and in Canada. Two of his most famous paintings are "Kennebec River", "Maine Boat Shop and Unidentified Vessels Ice-bound at Gloucester" (both at the Peabody Museum, Salem, MA). He is also represented in the permanent collections of the Boston Athenaeum; New York Public Library; the Brooklyn Museum; Portland Museum of Art (Maine) and elsewhere.

From 1897 to 1914 Webber's New York City studio at 11 East 14th Street was filled with artists. In 1914, he left the city for his daughter's home in Wollaston, MA, where he died. In February 1915, his family sold the contents of his studio at the Boston auction house of C.F. Libbie and Company. The artist is buried in Gardiner, Maine.

References: American Art Analog, vol. 1; Who Was Who in American Art, vol. 3, p. 3489; Campbell, New Hampshire Scenery, p. 171.

Biography from Schwarz Gallery:
Wesley Webber was born in Gardiner, Maine and became interested in art at an early age. About 1858 he went to Boston and was apprenticed for three years to J.C. Roberts of Haymarket Square, an ornamental sign and carriage painter. Webber entered the Sixteenth Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment in July 1862 and was reportedly the only artist on hand at the surrender of Lee's forces at Appomattox. He produces sketches of the surrender that were later published as lithographs in Harper's Weekly. He continued to paint scenes from the Civil War throughout his career.

Webber exhibited frequently at the Boston Art Club, the New England Manufacturers and Mechanics Institute, Boston, and at the National Academy of Design, New York, and the Brooklyn Academy, Brooklyn, and the Peabody Museum, Salem, and the Portland Museum of Art, Portland.

Webber maintained a studio in Boston from 1870 to 1889, and by 1892 he moved his studio to New York City. He was married twice, the first marriage ended due to his problem with alcohol. Soon after his death, in 1915, C.F. Libbie and Company of Boston held an auction of Webber's work. More than one hundred and forty of Webber's paintings were represented in this auction, including, in addition to his sought after seascapes, landscapes, were animal studies, depictions of the Civil War, and still lifes.

Source: Frank S. Schwarz and Son, Philadelphia

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Wesley Webber is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
Civil War Art

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