Edward Emerson Simmons Sconset Beach, Nantucket, 1916
oil on canvas board, 12 x 16 in.
Edward Emerson Simmons was a key member of the group known as The Ten American Painters (or more commonly “The Ten”), an important association of artists who came together in 1897. The group was formed for the purpose of exhibiting the members' works, independent of any gallery or museum establishment, which they did successfully over the next 20 years. The Ten included other celebrated American artists such as Childe Hassam, John Twachtman, Julien Alden Weir, and William Merritt Chase.
Simmons was born in Concord, Massachusetts and was related to—as well as named after—the great writer and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson. Simmons graduated from Harvard in 1874, and began his formal artistic training at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston in 1877. From there he went on to Paris to study at the prestigious Académie Julian, and the École des Beaux-Arts, the preeminent art school in France.
The murals that Simmons created throughout his career are perhaps his most acknowledged works, but he did produce a significant number of oil paintings as well. He achieved notable success and critical acclaim for his colorful Impressionist landscapes, several of which appeared in exhibitions produced by The Ten.
Simmons visited Nantucket on various occasions, completing this particular work in July 1916 in Sconset. The piece was later exhibited in the 1916 and 1917 exhibitions of The Ten in Providence and New York.
Simmons' public murals were created for Harvard University's Memorial Hall; the Manufacturers and Fine Arts Building at the World's Columbian Exposition held in Chicago, IL in 1893 (aka the Chicago World's Fair); The Massachusetts State House, Boston, MA; Library of Congress, Washington, DC; The Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, New York, NY; and the State Capitol buildings of St. Paul, MN and Pierre, SD.
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