Pauline L. Palmer

American, 1865 - 1938

Patsy, 1914
Oil on canvas, in original frame
66 x 34 inches (framed 71 x 39 inches)

Signed and dated Pauline Palmer, 1914 lower right.


Pauline Lennards Palmer became one of the most notable American woman painters to emerge from the Midwest during the early Twentieth Century. An accomplished artist, lecturer and first woman president of the Chicago Society of Artists, Palmer enjoyed a successful career which spanned for over half a century. Palmer began her studies in 1892 at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, working under William Merritt Chase, the renowned master of American Impressionism. In 1900, Chase persuaded Palmer to study in Paris at the Académie Julian, where she painted for three years. In Paris, Palmer studied under the American Impressionist figure painter, Richard E. Miller, as well as the noted French painter Gustave Courtois. Palmer's work received international acclaim, winning a bronze medal at the Académie Colarossi and a silver medal at the Académie de la Grande Chaumiere. Palmer exhibited at the Paris Salon consecutively from 1903-1906, participating again in 1911.

Upon her return to the United States, Pauline Palmer settled in her native Chicago, establishing a studio at the city's historic Tree Studio Building, home to many notable Chicago artists. There Palmer associated with fellow painters John and Anna Lee Stacey, Oliver Dennett Grover and Louis Betts, among others. Palmer's repeated participation at the annual exhibitions of the Art Institute of Chicago is quite impressive. From 1896 to 1938 she exhibited her work thirty-two times at the museum's prestigious annual juried shows, frequently receiving medals and honors for her paintings. She received her first solo exhibition at the Art Institute in 1913. Palmer gained national attention for her paintings exhibited at the St. Louis Exposition of 1904, the Panama-Pacific International Exposition of San Francisco in 1915 and the National Society of Women Artits in 1924. Palmer often summered in Massachusetts at the Cape Cod artist colony of Provincetown. There she became an active member of the notable Provincetown Art Association, painting frequently with its leading painter, Charles Hawthorne.

Pauline Palmer achieved sustained recognition as an artist through her figurative and landscape painting. Her vibrant, colorful work was typically executed en plein-air, painting out-of-doors where she could effectively and spontaneously capture the light, atmosphere and color of her subjects.

Paintings by Pauline Palmer are in the collections of institutions including the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago; the San Diego Galleries of Fine Arts, San Diego; the Delgado Museum of Art, New Orleans; the Union League Club of Chicago, among others.

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