biography of James Carroll BECKWITH (1852-1917)

Birth place: Hannibal, MO

Death place: NYC

Addresses: Chicago, 1878; NYC, 1879-1910, and 1914-on; Italy (1910-14); Tannersville, NY (summers)

Profession: Portrait, genre, and landscape painter

Studied: Walter Shirlaw, Chicago, 1868; NAD, with Lemuel Wilmarth, 1871; privately with Carolus-Duran in Paris, 1873; also Ecole des Beaux-Arts and L. Bonn‚t

Exhibited: NAD, 1877-1917; Brooklyn AA, 1878-82, 1892; Paris Salon, 1877, 1882, 1883, 1887 (prize), 1889, 1890; PAFA, 1879-1905; Boston AC, 1879, 1880s-1908; AIC; Paris Expo., 1889 (med.), 1900 (med.); World's Columbian Expo., Chicago, 1893 (mural); Atlanta Expo., 1895 (gold); Charleston Expo., 1902 (gold); Corcoran Gal, 1907-08

Member: ANA, 1886; NA, 1894; SAA, 1881; AWCS; ASL; A. Fund. C.; Century Assoc.; NIAL; Lotos C.

Work: NMAA; MMA; TMA; AA, Indianapolis; Albright Gal.; Detroit Mus. A.

Comments: Although Beckwith painted some murals early in his career, he turned to portrait painting to make his living, and it is for this genre he became best known. While studying in Paris with Carolus-Duran, Beckwith and Sargent shared a studio. Beckwith visited Europe frequently, living in Italy 1910-14, painting many plein-air landscapes and studies of monuments. He was also a highly influential teacher at the ASL during the 1880s-90s. His poor health may have been one of the reasons for his suicide. Most of his paintings were sold at auction in NYC after his death.

Sources: 300 Years of American Art, vol. 1: 459; Fink, American Art at the Nineteenth-Century Paris Salons, 319; Falk, Exh. Record Series.