biography of Maria Oakey DEWING (1845-1927)

Birth place: NYC

Addresses: NYC

Profession: Painter, author

Studied: William Rimmer and Robert Swain Gifford at Cooper Union, 1866-71; John La Farge, NYC; NAD, 1871-75; William Morris Hunt, briefly in Boston, 1875; T. Couture, in Paris, 1876.

Exhibited: NAD, 1873-79, 1882; Brooklyn AA, 1875; SAA, 1877; PAFA Ann., 1879-1910 (9 times); PAFA, 1907 (solo); Copley Soc.; Columbian Expo, Chicago, 1893 (medal); Pan.-Am. Expo, Buffalo, 1901 (medal); AIC, 1908, 1910; Corcoran Gal, 1908, 1910.

Work: Smith Col.; NMAA: AGAA

Comments: During the late 1860s, Oakey shared a NYC studio with artist Helena de Kay Gilder and was friendly with Henry James and the artists Abbott Thayer and John LaFarge. She helped form the ASL in NYC. She was primarily a figure painter at the time of her marriage in 1881 to artist Thomas Wilmer Dewing; but after the birth of her daughter she focused her attention on floral still-lifes and garden pictures that reflect her interest in Japanese aesthetic principals. A devoted floraculturist, she often used her Cornish, NH, garden as a subject (she and her husband were significant figures in the Cornish art colony, spending summers there from 1885-1903). Although she returned to figure painting late in her career, Dewing regretted that she did not produce a greater number of ambitious figural works. Author: From Attic to Cellar: A Book for Young Housekeepers (1879); Beauty in Dress (1881); Beauty in the Household (1882).

Sources: WW27; Rubinstein, American Women Artists, 141-42; Baigell, Dictionary; Falk, Exh. Record Series.