(1854 -  1922)

Ralph Wormeley Curtis (* 1854 in Boston , † 1922 in Beaulieu-sur-Mer ) was an American painter and illustrator. The artists living in Europe, primarily under the influence of his painter friends John Singer Sargent and James Abbott McNeill Whistler. Among his most famous subjects include cityscapes of Venice in the style of Impressionism.


Ralph Wormeley Curtis came in 1854 in Boston, the eldest son of the lawyer Daniel Sargent Curtis and his wife Ariana Randolph Wormeley to the world. Both parents came from wealthy families of Boston's upper-middle class. In 1858, the younger brother Curtis Osborne Sargent was born. To the family environment also included two well-known artists: the sculptor Richard Saltonstall Greenough (1819-1904), an uncle of Daniel Sargent Curtis, and the painter John Singer Sargent , the son of a cousin of the father. The family first lived in the Boston district of Beacon Hill , before 1863 in the suburb make Chestnut Hill moved to settle again in 1869 in Boston.


Upon completion of school education Ralph Curtis studied law at the Harvard University . He graduated in 1876 and then went to Europe to be trained as a painter. In Paris he attended the Académie Julian , where his teachers the salon painter Gustave Boulanger and Jules-Joseph Lefebvre , as well as a history painter Joseph Nicolas Robert-Fleury belonged. He then joined the studio of Emile Auguste Carolus-Duran . This was already a group of American painters that included his distant cousin, John Singer Sargent was one, whom he met in Paris for the first time. Between Sargent and Curtis developed a close personal and artistic friendship, which clearly influenced Sargent Curtis.

In the fall of 1877 moved the parents of Ralph Curtis to Europe and were first settled some time in Rome and later in Florence. In the spring of 1878 he visited his parents for some months in Rome, also took painting lessons here and spent the summer together with the parents in Venice. In the fall of 1878 he returned to Paris and took his own studio. Together with Sargent, he made ​​several sketches in the following years traveling. These two painters in the Netherlands in 1880 led to the work of Frans Hals, studying. A testimony of the friendship between the two artists is Sargent's on the beach of Scheveningen resulting portrait of Ralph Curtis. Other common travel undertaken by the two painters to London in 1882 and 1886, according to Lucerne .

In 1879, Curtis learned in Venice James Abbott McNeill Whistler to know, who maintained a studio in the Palazzo Rezzonico on the Grand Canal. Curtis made ​​at this time to several portrait drawings by Whistler. Also on the Grand Canal, the Palazzo Barbaro, where in 1881 the parents of Ralph Curtis einmieteten before they bought the apartment in 1885 after all. The parents' apartment in Venice developed in the period following a meeting place for art lovers, artists and writers to the next Ralph Curtis and Son Singer Sargent such famous contemporaries such as Isabella Stewart Gardner , Henry James , Edith Wharton , Vernon Lee and Claude Monet were. During his frequent visits came in the summer of 1880 in Venice, a number of works by Ralph Curtis.

As a renowned and successful artist Curtis introduced from 1881 to 1893, his work regularly in the Salon de Paris from. At the Paris World Exhibition of 1889 he received for his painting Vue à Venise an honorable mention. He also repeatedly showed his work in London at the Royal Academy of Arts and the prestigious Grosvenor Gallery and also in the Manchester Art Gallery . Together with his friends Curtis Sargent and Whistler in 1884 took part in an exhibition in Dublin Sketching Club.

1897 Curtis married Lisa de Wolfe Colt. This marriage produced a daughter Sylvia. The family settled in Beaulieu-sur-Mer down in Monte Carlo, where Curtis died 1922nd.


For the work of Ralph Curtis include portraits, genre scenes, interiors, still life and landscape paintings in particular. Dieaw show coastal views, river landscapes or urban scenes, where a large part of his work focuses on Venice. His Venetian genre scenes, let the influence of Edouard Manet recognize and are in close relationship to the works of Italian painters such as Giuseppe de Nittis and Boldini Giovanni . Furthermore, it was the work of Sargent and Whistler friends who inspired Curtis. Especially in his views of Venice showed Curtis a masterful play of light effects on the water in the style of Impressionism . In addition to paintings he created numerous drawings and watercolors.

Works in public collections

§  Return from the Lido - Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum , Boston

§  A Japanese Teahouse - Palazzo Rucellai , Florence

§  Portrait of Robert Browning - Armstrong Browning Library , Waco


§  Ralph W. Curtis . In: Ulrich Thieme , Felix Becker and a.: General lexicon of visual arts from antiquity to the present . Volume VIII, EA Seemann, Leipzig 1912, p. 214

§  Ralph Curtis Wormsley . In: The Artists of lexicon (AKL). The visual artists of all times and peoples. Bd 23, Saur, Munich 1999, p. 186

§  Elizabeth Anne McCauley: Gondola Days, Isabella Stewart Gardner and the Palazzo Barbaro Circle . Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston 2004, ISBN 0-914660-21-7 .

External links

image002_363cdfe089.gif Commons: Ralph Curtis  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Source: Wikipedia
Contributed by Anonymous
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