Sophie Gengembre Anderson
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A Girl Reclining
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Sophie Gengembre Anderson (Paris 1823 – 10 March 1903 Falmouth) was a French-born British artist who specialised in genre painting of children and women, typically in rural settings. She began her career as a lithographer and painter of portraits, collaborating with Walter Anderson on portraits of American Episcopalian bishops. Her work, Elaine, was the first public collection purchase of a woman artist. Her painting No Walk Today was purchased for more than £1 million.
The family left France for the United States to escape the 1848 revolution, first settling in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she met her future husband British genre artist Walter Anderson. Her brother Henry P. Gengembre (b. 1825) was also an artist, active in Cincinnati in the early 1850s.
Her portrait, figure and Brittany landscape paintings were exhibited in October 1849 at the Western Art Union Gallery. Also exhibited was a three panel set of Victorian London scenes entitled The Ladder of Love, which was described as "the lady, in her flowery 'May of Life,' awaits in her father's garden a stolen interview with her lover; in the second, she is seen eagerly caught in his impatient arms, ere he has yet left the ladder upon which he surmounted the garden wall; in the third, having received and given reveals of unfaltering love, she walks alone again - beautiful in the enrobing light of a summer moon, happy in the assurance that the warmth and devotedness of her affection is reciprocated."
Four or more of her illustrations were included in the Historical Collections of the Great West by Henry Howe. She collaborated with Walter Anderson, her future husband, on portraits of Protestant Episcopal bishops and created other portraits in her business.
She then lived in Manchester, Pennsylvania with her parents, where she is believed to have married Walter Anderson. She work there for the chromolithographers Louis Prang & Company.
A portrait of a fairy, by (1869). The title of the painting is Take the Fair Face of Woman, and Gently Suspending, With Butterflies, Flowers, and Jewels Attending, Thus Your Fairy is Made of Most Beautiful Things - purportedly from a poem by Charles Ede.
In 1854 the Andersons moved to London, where Sophie exhibited a still life of fruit, vegetables, game and fish entitled An American Market Basket at the Society of British Artists by 1855. It was considered an "admirable composition" made with "surprising truth". Her works were also exhibited at the Royal Academy. They returned to Pennsylvania in 1858 for a long visit with her family, during which time she exhibited at the Pittsburgh Artist's Association in 1859 and 1860. The latter year she and her husband had work shown at the National Academy of Design. She then settled in London again around 1863.
Anderson's work was widely exhibited at venues including the Royal Academy, the Royal Society of British Artists (RBA), and the British Institution.
To manage her health issue, they moved to the Isle of Capri in 1871, where they lived, painted, and entertained society in a house with a large garden called Villa Castello. Capri was an artist colony at that time, its residents included Frederic Leighton, Walter McLaren, John Singer Sargent, Edouard Alexandre Sain, and Jean Benner. She exhibited at the Grosvenor Gallery between 1878 and 1887. Anderson made Italian genre and Neoclassical paintings, including paintings of peasant women and children. At a time when it was difficult for women to have a successful artistic career, these paintings, generally made by men, allowed for her to have a successful career.
Later years and death
They moved to England in 1894 and painted and lived in Wood Lane Cottage in Falmouth, Cornwall. She continued to exhibit her work in London. She died 10 March 1903 at home in Falmouth. Her husband Walter died 11 January 1903. She was buried at Swanvale cemetery in Falmouth in the same grave as her husband.
Sophie Gengembre Anderson - Capri Girl with Flowers
A world record price for her work of more than £1 million was achieved by No Walk Today at Sotheby's, London, in November 2008. It made her "Cornwall's first million-pound female artist."
Her works are in the following collections:
A Neapolitan Boy, oil on canvas, New Walk Museum & Art Gallery, Leicester Arts and Museums Service
A Neapolitan girl, Leicestershire Museum and Art Gallery
Capri girl with flowers and Neapolitan 'ragazza' at Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum, Bournemouth
Carl Linnacus, 1858, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Elaine, 1870, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool. It was purchased in 1871 by the Liverpool Corporation, it was the first painting to be purchased by a public institution
Foundling girls in the chapel at the Foundling Hospital, Foundling Hospital, London
Lucy Goodman, 1849, private collection
Portrait of Susan Richards, c. 1849-1850, Neville-Strass Collection, Lake Mary, Florida
The children's story book at Birmingham City Art Gallery
The Neapolitan, Atkinson Art Gallery, Southport, Lancashire
The pet canary and Scheherazade, Museum and Art Gallery, Walsall, Staffordshire
The song and Children in the wood, Wolverhampton Art Gallery, Staffordshire
List of works by Sophie Gengembre Anderson
English women painters from the early 19th century who exhibited at the Royal Academy of Art
Ann Charlotte Bartholomew
Joanna Mary Boyce
Margaret Sarah Carpenter
Mary Ellen Edwards
Mary Harrison (artist)
Jane Benham Hay
Anna Mary Howitt
Martha Darley Mutrie
Ann Mary Newton
Emily Mary Osborn
Elizabeth Emma Soyer
Isabelle de Steiger
Her father was born in 1790 and began working as an architect at age 19. He worked primarily in municipal commissions, like Mint of the City of Cassel which he designed and built when he was 19. He was injured during the Revolution of 1830 on the same day that his son Philip was born. The family then went to London and Gengembre worked as an architect for Charles Fourier. He returned to France and continued his work as an architect, designing communal schools in each district in France. After living in Cincinnati, he settled in Manchester, Pennsylvania and designed pro bono the Allegheny City Hall by 1863. He stopped speaking English in protest after he was offered a share of the graft of over-inflated construction costs.
Charlotte Yeldham. Biography of Sophie Anderson (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography - accessed 26 June 2007)
Anderson biography (London Atelier of Representational Art at Clapham).
Mary Sayre Haverstock; Jeannette Mahoney Vance; Brian L. Meggitt. Artists in Ohio, 1787-1900: A Biographical Dictionary. Kent State University Press; 2000. ISBN 978-0-87338-616-6. p. 329.
Colomb Gengembre. Union Dale Cemetery. Retrieved 6 March 2014.
Ellen Creathorne Clayton. English Female Artists. Tinsley Brothers, 8 Catherine St., Strand; 1876. pp. 7-8.
Sophie Gengembre Anderson Cornwall Artists. Retrieved 6 March 2014.
D.J. Posner. Cerebrations of a Flower Child. Xlibris Corporation; 19 January 2012. ISBN 978-1-4771-6629-1. p. 2.
Ellen Creathorne Clayton. English Female Artists. Tinsley Brothers, 8 Catherine St., Strand; 1876. p. 9.
Denney, Colleen . At the temple of art: the Grosvenor Gallery, 1877–1890 (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2000) p. 130.
Mary Sayre Haverstock; Jeannette Mahoney Vance; Brian L. Meggitt. Artists in Ohio, 1787-1900: A Biographical Dictionary. Kent State University Press; 2000. ISBN 978-0-87338-616-6. p. 18-19.
Sophie Anderson. Falmouth Art Gallery. Retrieved 6 March 2014.
Capri: Island of Pleasure. Faber & Faber; 29 November 2012. ISBN 978-0-571-29783-2. p. 1872.
Colleen Denney. At the Temple of Art: The Grosvenor Gallery, 1877-1890. Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Press; 2000. ISBN 978-0-8386-3850-7. p. 130.
Bailey, Charlotte (4 November 2008). "No walk today". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 2 July 2013.
Gallery buys new Anderson work" This is Cornwall. The Cornishman. 11 April 2011. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
Sophie Anderson paintings. Your Paintings. BBC. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
Christopher Wright; Catherine May Gordon; Mary Peskett Smith. British and Irish Paintings in Public Collections: An Index of British and Irish Oil Paintings by Artists Born Before 1870 in Public and Institutional Collections in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Yale University Press; 2006. ISBN 0-300-11730-2. p. 67.
Sophie Anderson. Smithsonian Institution Research Information System. Retrieved 6 March 2014
Sophie Gengembre Anderson. Smithsonian Institution Research Information System. Retrieved 6 March 2014.
Gaze, Delia (Ed.). Dictionary of women artists, Volume 1 (Routledge, 1997) pp. 186–187.
Vigué, Jordi. Great women masters of art (Watson-Guptill Pubs., 2003) p. 197 ff.
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