Joan M. Rehlin
In honor of Women's History Month, our March mini art history post highlights Lydia (Lilla) Cabot Perry. An American Impressionist painter who was influenced by the work of her mentor, Claude Monet, Perry (1/13/1848–2/28/1933) painted portraits and, to a lesser degree, landscapes. Although she created sketches at an early age, she received no formal artistic training until age 36 when she began taking lessons in Boston.
In 1874, she married Thomas Sergeant Perry, and in 1887 when her husband’s career required a move to France, the family settled in Paris where she enrolled in the Académie Colarossi. Unlike the government-sanctioned École des Beaux Arts, the Académie Colarossi was more progressive and accepted female students. Between 1889 to 1909, Perry spent nine summers in Giverny, France, where she formed a friendship with Claude Monet whose impressionistic handling of color and light greatly inspired her work. In 1897, Perry moved with her husband to Japan where she found new inspiration for her creative process and developed a unique style that combined western and eastern traditions.
Perry was dedicated not only to her own artistic evolution and career, but also to the careers of other artists. Her efforts enabled a new generation of women to stake their claim in the art world, and through her advocacy for the Impressionist movement in the United States, she helped American Impressionists, such as Mary Cassatt, to gain exposure and acceptance. Perry also furthered the American career of Claude Monet, by lecturing on his talents and showcasing his works, and she helped found the Guild of Boston Artists, which supported Impressionism as a respected artistic style in the United States.
Beginning in the early 1890s, Perry’s Impressionist paintings won medals at important exhibitions in Boston, St. Louis, and San Francisco. Between 1894 and 1897, her work achieved international acclaim, including being exhibited in Paris at the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts, Champ de Mars.
The Green Hat, self-portrait, 1913, Lilla Cabot Perry
Welcome to our Art Blog where we occasionally present topics of interest in the fine art world, including featuring artists other than Jim Rehlin. Some of the artwork has been created by long-departed but well-known greats; some, by compelling contemporary artists. All will be pieces we find worthwhile to share with you. If you like any of these, consider sharing the posts forward to your own blogs and other social media.