On this Date in History, May 1: Birth of Theo Van Gogh, Inness and Beaux

On this date in history: May 1

What happened in the world of Art History on May 1?  During the 19th century three influential figures were born: George Inness in 1825, Cecilia Beaux in 1855 and Theo Van Gogh in 1857.

George Inness, In the Adirondacks, c- 1862. Yale University Art Gallery

In 1825 American landscape painter George Inness (May 1, 1825 – August 3, 1894) was born in New York.

Inness started studying art when he took classes at the National Academy of Design.  He was also very interested in the work of the Hudson River School artists. In the 1850’s he went to Rome to study the Baroque landscape painters and then went to Paris to study the work of the Barbizon school.   

When he returned to America Inness spent his career as a landscape painter on the east coast and painted dozens of works during his lifetime.  He was influenced by all of the earlier landscape artists that he saw, but developed his own style of panoramic views which are infused with deep color.

George Inness, On the Delaware River, Brooklyn Museum

Cecilia Beaux, the renowned American portrait painter was born in Philadelphia (May 1, 1855 – September 7, 1942).

Beaux is known as one of the most important American portrait painters of the late 19th and early 20th century.
She studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts from 1877-1879 and later returned to teach there, when she was studying at PAFA the painter Thomas Eakins was teaching at the school.  After she studied in Paris.

During her lifetime Beaux had fourteen one-woman shows and won numerous prizes, she was the first female artist to teach at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.  

Dorothea and Francesca, Cecilia Beaux, 1898, Art Institute of Chicago

Vincent Van Gogh's famous brother, art dealer Theo van Gogh, Dutch art dealer (May 1, 1857 – January 25, 1891) was born in the Netherlands.  Besides being a successful art dealer, Theo helped encourage and support his older brother Vincent Van Gogh.  Theo suggested that Vincent move to Paris where he met the French Impressionists, he paid him for many of his paintings and hung them in his gallery in Paris and he gave him a stipend so he could move to Arles. 

Theo also collected and stored his brother's paintings and letters which allowed Theo's widow Johanna to share after his early death at age 33.  If Theo hadn't preserved these and especially if Johanna had not worked to exhibit Vincent's work and have the brothers correspondence published, the world may never know about Vincent Van Gogh.

Today the brothers Vincent and Theo Van Gogh are buried next to each other at the cemetery in Auvers-sur-Oise. 

A Wheatfield with Cypresses, Vincent Van Gogh, 1889

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