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Joseph Decamp BiographyAmerican Impressionist painter
born 1858 - died 1923
Also known as: Joseph Rodefer Decamp.
A native of Boston, was known for Joseph DeCamp portraits
paintings of women in interiors and in girl body
poses, Joseph DeCamp portraits and some landscapes. His
work reflected both realism and
impressionism, and as an evolving
impressionist Joseph Rodefer DeCamp was one of the "The Ten", a
group of ten American artists whose members
with avant-garde ideas about painting styles
and exhibitions rebelled against the more
staid Society of American Artists. It is
said that after his affiliation with The Ten
and especially after spending time in
Gloucester, summer of 1900, with
Twachtman, DeCamp became much
more committed to Impressionism.
|He returned to Boston in 1880, and established a career as a teacher and portrait painter. Joseph Rodefer DeCamp had been a prominent member of The Boston School of painting, which focused in realistic style primarily on figural subjects of beauty, elegance and refinement. A Joseph Rodefer DeCamp portraits in this style and one of particular significance is that of Theodore Roosevelt, which Joseph Rodefer DeCamp painted for Roosevelt's Harvard classmates. Even this formal portrait shows the influence of Vermeer in the broad expanse of wall and the use of atmospheric light which serves as a backdrop to silhouette Roosevelt.|
Because portrait painting was his focus,
only relatively few landscapes by DeCamp are
found. However, this circumstance likely is
affected by the studio fires that occurred
in Boston in the Harcourt Building in 1904,
where hundreds of Joseph DeCamp paintings were destroyed.
Joseph Rodefer DeCamp also was an art educator with a long-time teaching assignment at the Massachusetts Normal Art School in Boston. Other teaching assignments were the Boston Museum School of Fine Art and the Pennsylvania Academy.
- - oil on canvas 27 1/4 x 24 1/8 in. (69.2 x 61.3 cm.)PROVENANCEEstate of the artistAlexander Moffatt, Manchester, MassachusettsMarine Art Gallery, Salem, MassachusettsEXHIBITEDPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Art, Exhibition of Paintings by Ten American Painters, April-May 1908, no. 24Boston, St. Botolph Club, Feb.-Mar. 1911Boston, St. Botolph Club, Memorial Exhibition of the painting of Joseph Rodefer Decamp, Jan. 1924, no. 32, as ll Pensieroso (possibly this work)Pittsburgh, Museum of Art, Carnegie Institute. Directions in American Painting 1875-1925, June-Aug. 1982, pp. 28-29, illus. (this exhibition travelled to various locations, 1982-1987)Youngstown, Youngstown State University, The John J. McDonough Museum of Art, Inaugural Exhibition, Oct. 1991-May 1992, p. 26LITERATUREW. H. Downes, "Joseph Rodefer DeCamp and His painting," Art and Progress, April 1913, p. 921W. H. Downes, Dictionary of American Biography, New York, 1959, p. 186RELATED LITERATURER. V. S. Berry, "Joseph Decamp: Painter and Man," American Magazine of Art, April 1923, pp. 183-184La Penserosa, or the thoughtful one, was one of ten paintings that Joseph Rodefer DeCamp sent to the major retrospective of the Ten's paintings held at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Art in 1908, and was probably painted after a devastating fire in his studio in 1904 destroyed much of previous Joseph DeCamp painting.
|It is typical of his interior figure scenes of the period in its dramatic side-lighting and focus on the mood rather than the features of the sitter. His student at the Massachusetts Normal Art School, Rose V. S. Berry, later described Joseph DeCamp painting method as follows: "he seldom required a fixed, rigid pose of his model. Joseph Rodefer DeCamp walked around the sitter, the artist felt of the head, discovered the texture of the ear, examined its placement upon the head, and proceeded in general with much the line of attack which a sculptor takes..." (Berry, pp. 183-184). The tactile quality of Decamp's surfaces reflects this approach, as does the strong modeling of his figures.In his article on DeCamp for the Dictionary of American Biography, William Howe Downes lists La Penserosa as one of best known Joseph DeCamp portraits.|
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