Cecilia Beaux was an American society portrait painter. She was born in Philadelphia in 1855 as Eliza Cecilia Beaux and the daughter of a French silk merchant. Her grandmother and aunts raised her following the death of her mother. It was unusual for a man to raise a daughter alone, and Beaux's grief-stricken father returned to his native France.
Famous Cecilia Beaux paintings include Portrait of Flora Whitney and After the Meeting, painted in 1914. It resides at the Toledo Museum of Art. One of our most popular oil painting reproductions is Twighlight Confidences, painted in 1988. It is held in a Private Collection.
Beaux was a contemporary of Mary Cassatt who painted in the style of another famous American portraitist artist John Singer Sargent. Although she is generally regarded as an artist of Impressionist oil paintings, her art does not fall within the parameters of any particular art movement. Impressionism is, in fact, the very opposite of her style of painting.
Cecilia Beaux studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, where she later became the Academy's first female teacher. Aged 28, Beaux opened her first studio in Philadelphia. Last Days of Infancy is her first major portrait. It was exhibited at the 1886 Paris Salon and previously at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art. During 1880-1889 she traveled across Europe and attended the Academie Julian, where she trained with William Adolphe Bouguereau and was associated with Academic art style.
Returning to America, Cecilia Beaux earned a well-deserved reputation as a portrait painter who was very much in demand. Cecilia Beaux painted a portrait of Mrs. Theodore Roosevelt, her daughter Ethel, and many other famous people of the time. However, her oil painting of Dorothea and Francesca sealed her position as a true rival of John Singer Sargent.
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