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Edward Willis Redfield

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Edward Willis Redfield

(Bridgeville, Delaware, 1869 - 1965, Centre Bridge, Pennsylvania)

Edward Willis Redfield was born in December 1869 in Bridgeville, Delaware. From 1887 to 1889 he studied painting under Thomas Anshutz, James Kelly, and Thomas Hovenden at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia. While attending this institution he met Robert Henri, a fellow artist with whom he would be lifelong friends. The two traveled to France and studied at the Académie Julian. Redfield's experiences in the French countryside led to an interest in landscape painting, and his studies at the Académie Julian and the Ecole des Beaux-Arts peaked his admiration for impressionist painters such as Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, and Fritz Thaulow, whose influences can be seen in Redfield's own impressionistic style. During the year of 1891, Redfield stayed at the Hotel Deligant in the town of Bois-le-Rois. It was there that he met and fell in love with the innkeeper's daughter, Elise. In 1893 the two were married and they eventually settled in Center Bridge, Pennsylvania. His presence there is thought to have been a major draw for young artists all around the country. For this reason Redfield is sometimes considered a co-founder of the artist community that grew in New Hope, a town near Center Bridge, although he did not consider himself part of that group. Redfield mostly painted large-scale snow scenes, painting en plein air, directly from nature. Because of the idea of "one go" painting that he had practiced from the beginning of his career, he often spent hours at a time out in the snow, preferring to create and finish his works all in one sitting. He also explored various other landscape scenes, including seascapes, sleigh scenes, spring scenes, and rock garden scenes. He also practiced with New York skyline paintings. Later he went on to paint scenes that depicted man's devastating effect on nature, a direct departure from the previous trend of painting the untouched tranquility of nature. In 1947, shortly after his wife's death, Redfield burned hundreds of his paintings that he considered to be of lesser quality. His painting became more linear and defined, and by 1953 he stopped painting all together. He died in October, 1965, at 96 years of age. Today, the works of Edward Willis Redfield are displayed in many major museums, including the Luxembourg Museum in Paris, Boston's Museum of Fine Arts, the Detroit Institute of Arts, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the Metropolitan Museum of art in New York City, and in Washington D.C.'s Smithsonian American Art Museum.

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