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COLIN CAMPBELL COOPER (AMERICAN, 1856 -1937)

"Picnic in Tuileries Garden"

"Picnic in Tuileries Garden"

Oil on Panel 8" x 18"

"Picnic in Tuileries Garden"

"Picnic in Tuileries Garden"

Oil on Panel 8" x 18"

ARTIST BIOGRAPHY

Colin Campbell Cooper, Jr. was an American impressionist painter of many subjects including architectural paintings, especially of skyscrapers in New York City, Philadelphia, and Chicago, an avid traveler, he was also known for his paintings of European and Asian landmarks, as well as natural landscapes, portraits, florals and interiors. He was also a teacher and writer.

Cooper was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on March 8, 1856, into a well-to-do family of English-Irish heritage, Young Colin had been inspired by the art which he discovered when he attended the Philadelphia Exposition of 1876. 

In 1879, he enrolled in the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art studying art under the famed controversial realist painter, Thomas Eakins for three years. In 1886, he embarked on the first of his many travels to foreign lands, visiting the Netherlands, Belgium, and Brittany. Afterward, his art education resumed at the Académie Julian in Paris from 1886 to 1890. With Henri Lucien Doucet, William-Adolphe Bouguereau and Joseph Lefebvre. He also studied at Académie Delecluse and Académie Vitti.

Back in Philadelphia, Copper taught watercolor classes and architectural rendering at the Drexel Institute of Art, Science, and Industry from 1895 to 1898. Many of Cooper’s paintings were destroyed in an 1896 fire at Philadelphia’s Hazeltine Galleries, as a result relatively little of his early works exist today.

While at Drexel, he spent his summers abroad, primarily in the Dutch artists’ colony of Larne in North Holland and in Dordrecht in South Holland where he met his wife and renowned painter, Emma Lampert.

In 1898, the Coopers returned to Europe for a few years and during that period, Cooper developed the Impressionist style which he used for the rest of his artistic career.

Cooper and his wife exhibited together in several two-person shows, including a May 1902 exhibit at the Philadelphia Art Club and a 1915 show at the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester. They moved to New York City in 1904 where he would remain, other than his many travels until 1921. Here he continued work, which he began in Philadelphia, on his famous skyscraper paintings. His painting Broad Street 1902 brought him great success and in ``903 the painting was honored with the W.T. Evans Award of the New York Watercolor Club.

In 1911, The New York Times, citing Cooper as the artist who best captured modern, towering structures on canvas, declared him to be “the skyscraper artist par excellence in America”.

 

In 1911, Cooper’s painting,”  Fifth Avenue” was purchased by the French government for the Musee du Luxembourg .which was quite rare for an American artist. Critics at that time and up to the present frequently compared the works of Cooper and Chide Hassam.

 

Cooper exhibited in San Francisco’s Panama-Pacific International Exposition of 1915, winning the gold medal for oil and the silver medal for watercolor. He also participated in the Panama-California Exposition in San Diego in 1916. The Coopers spent the winter of 1915-1916 in Los Angeles which was a key factor in Cooper’s later decision to move there permanently. His wife dies of tuberculous in July 1920.

 

After his wife’s death, Cooper moved to Santa Barbara in January 1921 where he resided for the rest of his life. He spent two years in northern Europe and Tunisia and became Dean of painting at the Santa Barbara Community School of Arts.

 

He died in Santa Barbara on November 5, 1937, In 1938, Santa Barbara’s Faulkner Memorial Art Gallery paid tribute to Cooper’s legacy by presenting a memorial exhibition of his work.

 

During his lifetime, Cooper participated in both solos and group exhibitions from 1895 until he died in 1936. He exhibited in Chicago, Pittsburgh, New York City, Washington DC, Santa Barbara, Pasadena, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia. After his death, many exhibits of his work were held from 1936 through 2018 throughout the United States.

 

Today, Colin Campbell Cooper’s paintings are in private and public collections, worldwide, including in many museums most notably The Brooklyn Museum of Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Musee du Luxembourg, Paris, France, The Museum of the National Academy of Design, NYC, The National Arts Club, NYC, The New York Historical Society, The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and the White House.

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