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Adeline Wigand

 (1852 - 1944)
Adeline Albright Wigand was active/lived in New York, New Jersey, Iowa.  Adeline Wigand is known for Portrait and figure painting.

Adeline Wigand

Biography from the Archives of askART

Biography photo for Adeline Wigand
Biography for Adeline Albright Wigand

Excerpted from:
Bland, Bartholomew. "Reclaiming Reputations: The Art of Otto and Adeline Albright Wigand" in Patricia Salmon, ed. Proceedings, 2006, vol 36, no. 1.  New York: The Staten Island Museum, 2006.

Adeline Albright was born in Madison, New Jersey and raised in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  The third of six children born to James and Mary Albright, the Albrights were a family that moved west to Iowa in the 1850s to farm, before James found relative prosperity as a furniture dealer.   Although some family documents indicate she was born on June 26, 1855, Adeline's birth certificate reveals that she was born on June 24, 1852.   It appears that she may have concealed her age, since she was five years older than her husband.  Her actual age is cited in none of the standard references nor in any of her obituaries.   She was from a family of comfortable means who sent her to New York to study at Cooper Union and the Art Students' League in Manhattan, and from there to Paris to study at the Academie Julian, an institution known for its receptive attitudes towards female artists.   The role of artist that Adeline chose for herself was a challenging one, since female artists in the late nineteenth century were not widely accepted in either the United States or France. She would not have been permitted to study at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, the most prominent academy in France. Even at the comparatively liberal Academie Julian, women artists paid double the fees of men.  This travel abroad to study was an opportunity that had only recently become available to American women in the third quarter of the nineteenth century. And Adeline, in Paris during the mid-1880s, may well have taken inspiration from such American female artists abroad as Mary Cassatt, who had arrived in Paris in 1874, and was the only American fully accepted into the Impressionist circle.   Although over thirty, and probably considered beyond the age of needing a chaperone, it is uncertain if Adeline traveled with any other members of her family or perhaps with another female artist. 

Before going to France, she was already finding commissions as a portrait painter in Cedar Rapids, and her earliest paintings date to the 1870s. It is possible that Adeline went East to study art at Cooper Union in the early 1870s and then returned to Cedar Rapids to work as a painter for a few years, where the competition was undoubtedly less than she would find in either Paris or New York, before leaving for Paris around 1885.  In Paris, she refined her technique studying with the famous salon painter Adolphe-William Bouguereau, who was idolized by his students and considered one of the great painters of his day (and another artist whose reputation went into a steep decline, from which it is only now beginning to recover). She exhibited at the Paris Salon and spent one year studying in Germany, where she painted steadily and produced several noted pictures, including Morning in Rothenburg and Woman in a Brown Cape, painted in Munich.  By that time, she was probably close to Otto, and may well have been in Germany because of his family connections.

In New York, she studied with William Meritt Chase and Tony Robert-Fleury.  At some point after her return from Paris in the late 1880s, Adeline was maintaining a studio in Englewood, New Jersey.  By 1890 she and Otto, now married, were living in Mt. Vernon, New York. In 1896 the couple was recorded as living at 8 East 17th Street and the following year at 96th Fifth Avenue, where they resided or kept studios for several years.   During the 1890s through the 1910s, Adeline's career outpaced that of Otto in terms of public recognition to some degree.  Her specialization in portraiture may have contributed to her success, as portraits were the genre most likely to attract commissions.   Documentation in the Staten Island Museum archives suggests that Adeline continued to return to Cedar Rapids, Iowa to visit relations and undertake commissions as late as 1916.   Among the various portraits she painted there were those of Dr. Henry Ristine and Mr. and Mrs. W.O. Wyman and their daughter, Katherine.

Adeline was one of the first presidents of the National Association of Women Artists  and among her many honors were the New York Women's Art Club prizes in 1905 and 1908; the 1909 Shaw Memorial prize from the National Academy of Design (where she exhibited as least four times); the Simpson Prize from the New York Women's Art Club (also 1909); the National Arts Club prize of the New York Women's Art Club, 1912; and a prize from the National Association of Women Painters and Sculptors, 1920.  She became the head of the Art Committee of the Staten Island Institute of Arts and Sciences from 1925 to 1931. 

Adeline Wigand won several important awards during her career that suggest both critics and her fellow artists were taking notice of her work, although being a woman had an obvious impact on her career. It is interesting to note the gendered language, which strongly suggests the role of female artists as outside the artistic mainstream.  In 1897, The New York Times, reviewed the 10th exhibition "of the band of women artists of this city known as the Woman's Art Club. The general effect is one of decorative prettiness and refinement. . . . there are a few canvases which would do credit to several of the strongest American male painters, such, for example, is A.A. Wigand's Portrait of an Old Lady, [Portrait of My  Mother]  very simple and yet strongly painted, the color scheme one of soft grays and blues and very refined."    Eight years later the Woman's Art Club was still without a permanent exhibition space as The New York Times noted that "the Woman's Art Club has again accepted the hospitality of the National Arts Club and filled the small galleries on West 34th Street. Mrs. A.A. Wigand has been awarded a prize of $100 for her full-length seated portrait of Mrs. Wyman."  Adeline's portrait Woman in Blue, awarded a prize when it was shown in 1909, was described by one critic as "a delicious symphony in blues, enriched by indefinable touches of mauves and greys, pinkish tans with greens and violets, the whole relieved and accented by a wonderful little touch of gold in the finger ring. Mrs. Wigand reminds us strongly of Whistler in her feeling for subtle color harmony. There is, too, an unusual charm of delicate line in the slender rounds of the chair, repeated in the half felt pattern of the background." 

Adeline Albright Wigand died on March 31, 1944 after an unspecified six-week illness. The New York Times called her "a well-known woman painter who had exhibited in art galleries across the country and won many prizes for her work." The Staten Island Museum's memorial exhibition had called Adeline one of the "noted women portrait painters of her time . . . who has received the highest praise from the critics of art. Her portraits are to be found in the homes of the most prominent persons throughout the country."

Submitted by the author, Bartholomew F. Bland, Curator of Exhibitions, The Hudson River Museum.

Biography from Cincinnati Art Galleries (For Sale/Wanted #1)
Adeline Albright Wigand was born in Iowa and studied art in New York at Cooper Union and the Arts Students League under William Merritt Chase. She also studied in Paris at the Academie Julian with Bouguereau and T. Robert Fleury. 

After marrying artist Otto Wigand (who also exhibited at the 1893 Exposition), she maintained a portrait studio in New Jersey, moving later to New York.  Wigand's subject matter was typically portraits and figures.

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About  Adeline Wigand

Born:  1852 - Madison, Iowa
Died:   1944
Known for:  Portrait and figure painting