James Carroll Beckwith
on gray wove
15.2 cm (actual)
of Mrs. Francis
J. C. Beckwith / June 1874
was another American artist at Carolus-Duran's atelier. Having been
prior to Sargent, Beckwith already knew a number of the expatriate
students -- many of whom came from the New York National Academy of
Beckwith's account of meeting Sargent)
Singer Sargent -- drawn from Life 1876
John and Carroll
using his first name) became fast and dear friends and would share
space in Paris. It would be through Beckwith that Sargent quickly
acquainted with the other expatriates.
Carroll was four
years older than
John. He was born in Hannibal Missouri (the same town Mark Twain came
but grew up in Chicago where his father started a business. In 1868 he
studied art at the Chicago Academy of Design under Walter Sherlaw until
the great fire of 1871 destroyed eveything (including much of the heart
of the city). He then went to New York and studied at the National
of Design under Lemuel Wilmarth, but eventually, like many other
traveled on to Europe to learn from the Mecca of the art world -- Paris
-- arriving there in November, 1873 (six months before John).
Like John, his
timing wasn't good.
The ateliers were mostly filled having resumed in October to coincide
the term of the Ecole
des Beaux-Arts. Beckwith tried two other ateliers before finding
Carolus-Duran picked both
Sargent and Beckwith to help him with the mural decoration work for the
Palais du Luxembourg, The
triump of Maria de Medici.
In the Summer of
left Paris and returned to the United States. He eventually became an
member of the National Academy of Design (don't know if he ever became
a full member) and taught at the Cooper Union.
He married Bertha
Hall, June 1, 1887,
and Sargent gave them a Venetian watercolor as a present.
Beckwith took an
active part in the
formation of the Fine Arts Society and was president of the National
Art league which worked to secure the repeal of the US duty on works of
Art into the United States. Among his portraits are those of W.M. Chase
(1882) (Sargent painted Chase), X. Jordan (1883),
Mark Twain, T.A.
Janvier, Gen John
Schofield, and William Walton.
many awards including
Honorable Mention at the Paris Exposition of 1889 and a Gold Medal at
Atlanta Exposition in 1895. He exhibited at the St. Louis Worlds Fair
showing "The Nautilus" along with a portrait of his wife
Carroll returned to
paris in 1893
to paint a number of murals and then back for murals in the Liberal
Building at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. He lived
in Italy from 1910 to 1914 and painted many plein-air studies of
buildings, and landscapes.
He died in New York
City on October
This is one
of Sargent's longest
friendships. Beckwith visited John in London and they see each other
he was in the States.
Most of this
information comes from
Olson's book which shows 28 references between the pages of 40 and 266.
Also, Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol. 3, William Benton, 1962, P.291