Theodore Earl Butler
1861-1936 | American
Cliffs and Sea
Pastel on paper
Theodore Earl Butler was a leading figure of the American Impressionist movement, and this pastel is exemplary of his light-filled style. The work represents the artist's lifelong experimentation with atmosphere and color, revealing Butler's impressionist technique that was greatly influenced by his father-in-law Claude Monet. In fact, the present pastel, entitled Cliffs and Sea, recalls Monet's famed coastal views in Pourville and Dieppe. Almost certainly painted en plein air, the pastel embodies the informality and spontaneity of the Impressionist approach, which sought to capture the fleeting atmosphere of a moment in a single composition.
Born in Ohio in 1861, Theodore Earl Butler spent most of his life and career living abroad in France. He studied briefly under William Merritt Chase at the Art Student's League in New York before traveling to Paris in the 1880s. Once there, he entered the famed Académie Colarossi and Académie Julian, and he won his first honorable mention at the Paris Salon in 1888.
That same year, Butler traveled to Giverny, where he became an intimate friend of Claude Monet. He became so close to the family that he eventually married the famed French Impressionist’s step-daughter, Suzanne Hoschedé. Though relatively unknown early in his career, by the turn of the century, Butler was among the most celebrated American artists working in France. He had several one-man shows in New York City, including a 1900 exhibition at the famed Paul Durand-Ruel gallery. In 1913, he contributed two works to the Armory Show in New York and became a founding member of the Society of Independent Artists in 1916. Today, the artist's works can be found in important collections around the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), the Musée des Impressionnismes (Giverny), the Carnegie Museum of Art (Pittsburgh) and the Birmingham Museum of Art.
Paper: 12" high x 19" wide
Frame: 21" high x 28" wide
Maxwell Galleries, San Francisco
Private Collector, Maryland
Private Collector, New Orleans