St. ives colony

DEFINITION

A group of American and British painters and sculptors who have worked and socialized together in St. Ives, a fishing village in Cornwall, England. Continuing as an active colony into the 21st century, it began in the late 19th century with British painters Julius Olsson, Adrian Stokes and Louis Grier. They set up an organization called the St. Ives Arts Club, composed of visiting and resident artists. St. Ives in its early years attracted many American painters who found the extraordinary light conducive to their newly-adopted style of Impressionism. The town of St. Ives with its cobbled streets, fishermen???s cottages and exotic harbor views, was on an early railroad line, which facilitated visitors who came in droves beginning in the late 1870s. One of the early arrivals was James McNeill Whistler who visited in 1883 with British painter Walter Richard Sickert. Among the American artists to spend time at the newly-established colony of St. Ives was Edward Emerson Simmons who arrived in 1886. He became a key figure in the colony, and did "a series of marine paintings that remain his best-known easel paintings". (Gerdts) Impressionist Francis Brooks Chadwick was there in 1887, and Walter Schofield arrived in 1903. George Gardner Symons arrived in 1898, and inspired by the scenic outdoor vistas, adopted plein-air painting techniques. Hayley Lever was at St. Ives in the 1890s and began his signature seacoast paintings. Modernist painter Edith Cockcroft was there in the early 20th century, and exhibited one of her resulting paintings at the National Academy of Design in 1908. Canadian Emily Carr was there in 1901, and painter and illustrator Anne Fish was at St. Ives before World War I. George Turland Goosey arrived in 1921. Many of these artists took over fishermen???s cottages, which were increasingly vacated with the decline of the marine industry. Ironically the influx of artists boosted the local economy at a time of economic depression. During World War II, the St. Ives School of Paintings, was established under the influence of British sculptors Barbara Hepworth and Ben Nicholson. American sculptor Brian Wall became Hepworth's assistant there in 1954. Sources: "Phaidon Dictionary of Twentieth Century Art"; William Gerdts, "American Impressionism"; AskART database; http://www.bbc.co.uk/legacies/work/england/cornwall/article_1.shtml

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