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"The landscape painter is of necessity, an outdoorsman... For vitality and convincing quality only come to the man who serves, not in the studio, but out in the open where even the things he fights against strengthen him, because you see, nature is always vital, even in her implicit moods and never denies a vision to the real lover."
-Walter Elmer Schofield
Walter Elmer Schofield was a landscape painter associated with the Pennsylvania impressionists. Known for his masculine style of painting, Schofield specialized in snow scenes painted in Bucks County and other locales in the Delaware River Valley, as well as marine landscapes often painted in Cornwall, England. A strapping outdoorsman who stood 6 feet 4 inches, Schofield generally painted outdoors, en plein air, savoring even the bitterest winter weather. Although Schofield's early landscapes were soft and romantic, featuring muted greens, grays, and browns in a tonalist manner, his mature work was characterized by bold realism and impressionism. These paintings are vibrant, exulting in the energy of coursing, frosty streams, while showcasing bold colors using broad, thick, heavy brushstrokes. Schofield divided his time between the United States, where he was based in the Philadelphia area and Cornwall, England, where his wife, Muriel, and children resided. Schofield descended from an illustriously creative family. His mother, Mary Wollstonecraft Schofield, was the grand-niece of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, the author of Frankenstein.
Walter Schofield, silver print by R.S. Bates, c. 1930. James A. Michener Art Museum archives.
Education and Training
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1889-1892
Academie Julian, Paris, France, 1892-1893
Teachers and Influences
Robert Henri and Thomas Anshultz at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
Edward Redfield, Adolphe Bouguerueau, Gabriel Ferrier, Aman-Jean, Henri Lucien Doucet
Influenced by Paul Cezanne, Pierre Bonnard, and Jean Edouard Vuillard
Connection to Bucks County
As a student at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and a young artist, Schofield painted several Bucks County landscapes. Although he never resided in Bucks County, he spent a great deal of time in the area from 1902 to 1904, especially when visiting friends, such as Edward Redfield. In 1904, Schofield's painting of Center Bridge, Across the River, earned a Carnegie Institute medal. Redfield claimed that the composition was initially his own idea and that Schofield stole it. Redfield warned Schofield to stay away from the area, and Schofield obliged. Even so, Schofield remained friendly with several younger painters associated with the New Hope School of Landscape Painters, including Charles Rosen and Daniel Garber, and continued to influence them, while deriving inspiration from their work.
Colleagues and Affiliations
Robert Spencer, Edward Redfield, Charles Rosen, and Daniel Garber, William Glackens, C. Lewis Hind, John Sloan, George Oberteuffer, Charles Grafly, Everett Shinn, George Luks, A.S. Calder, Hugh Breckenridge, and Julius Olsson
Major Solo Exhibitions
Buffalo Academy of Fine Arts, Buffalo, New York, 1912, 1920
Memorial Gallery, Rochester, New York, 1915
Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1932
Stendahl Art Gallery, Los Angeles, California, 1928, 1929
Grand Central Art Galleries, New York, New York, 1934
Woodmere Art Museum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1945
Brandywine River Museum, Chaddsford, Pennsylvania, 1983
Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, 1991
Major Group Exhibitions
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 1891-1892, 1898-1915, 1920-1922, 1924-1926, 1930-1933, 1935-1937, 1946
Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1899
National Academy of Design, New York, New York, 1901-1902, 1904, 1907, 1908, 1909, 1910-1915, 1920-1924, 1926, 1927, 1930-1933, 1936, 1944-1945
The Pennsylvania Impressionists: Painters of the New Hope School, Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, 1990
Objects of Desire, Michener Art Museum, New Hope, Pennsylvania, 2005-2006
Artists of the Commonwealth: Realism and Its Response in Pennsylvania Painting, 1900-1950
Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, 2007
Hallgarten Prize, National Academy of Design, 1901
Jennie Sesnan Gold Medal, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 1903
Medal of First Class, Carnegie Institute, 1904
Inness Gold Medal, National Academy of Design, New York, 1911
Gold Medal, National Arts Club, New York, 1913
S.A. Temple Gold Medal, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 1914
Silver Medal, Panama-Pacific International Exposition, 1915
Altman Prize, National Academy of Design, 1920
Mrs. Keith Spalding Prize, Art Institute of Chicago, 1921
Silver Medal, Sesquicentennial Exposition, Philadelphia, 1926
William A. Clark Prize, Silver Medal, Corcoran Gallery of Art, 1926
Teaching and Professional Appointments
Art Instructor, Santa Monica, California, 1935
Juror, Carnegie Institute, 1905
Untitled (Stream in Winter)
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