“Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures. ” ‘ Henry Ward Beecher
If one were to believe that destiny is mapped out even before we are born, then Marguerite Pearson’s life in art began in the closing months of the nineteenth century; an epoch rich in music and culture, art and architecture.
Marguerite Pearson, doted on by her parents and an extended family of aunts and uncles, enjoyed a genteel middle-class childhood, if one concurs with the description of middle class offered by Gertrude Stein, “I simply contend that the middle-class ideal which demands that people be affectionate, respectable, honest and content, that they avoid excitements and cultivate serenity is the ideal that appeals to me’.” Marguerite loved nothing better than joining with other children of the neighborhood in a constant round of tea parties and charitable events, such as fund raising for victims of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.
After a near fatal brush with polio in her teens, Marguerite turned to drawing for solace during months of illness and depression, deciding eventually to pursue a life in art, once she recovered enough of her motor skills. As a student at the Fenway School of Illustration and the Boston Museum School, Marguerite kept copious notes of her instruction, which is as valid today as it was in 1917.
Pearson was an active member of numerous art organizations during her career, including Rockport Art Association, the North Shore Arts Association, and the Boston Art Club. She often made the long and uncomfortable journey from Boston to Cape Ann to attend members’ meetings regardless of inclement weather and personal discomfort.
Considered one of America’s top ten portrait artists early in her career, Pearson was also noted for her classic Boston School interiors: genre paintings executed in the traditional manner favored by the Boston masters such as Edmund C. Tarbell, William M. Paxton and Joseph R. DeCamp. Despite the difficulty of getting to outdoor locations, Pearson also loved painting landscape, and figures en plein air, in addition to views of New Hampshire and Maine from travels further afield.
An accomplished artist, author, instructor, and juror, Marguerite Pearson made her mark as an enduring icon of the American art world, not only as a woman in an era dominated by male artists, but also as an individual overcoming the difficulties of daily living faced by the physically challenged. As Boston Globe art critique A. J. Philpott said after reviewing a 1924 Somerville exhibition of her work:
“Her paintings are the work of a young woman of exceptional talent. The fact that she has had to battle against great odds to achieve the place she has achieved in the art world gives the pictures an added interest for many people familiar with that battle. But aside from that, the pictures, judged by the highest art standards, require no adventitious sentiment to bolster them up. For these are the works of a rare genius ‘ of one who already ranks high and is destined to achieve unusual distinction in the art world.” – Judith Curtis
Related special events . . .
‘ Gallery walk with Mary Minifie ~ Wednesday, August 10 @ 7pm $5
‘ Closing Tea ~ Period dress optional ~ Sunday August 21 ~ 2-4pm ~ Open Free To The Public