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Name: Charles Sprague Pearce
Dates: (1851 - 1914)
Nationality: American
Biography: Charles Sprague Pearce was born and educated in Boston, where he spent some time working in his father's mercantile business. He started painting in 1872 and, on the advice of the Boston artist William Morris Hunt (1824 1879), went to Paris to study with Leon Joseph Florentin Bonnat (1833 1922), where one of his fellow students was John Singer Sargent (1856 1925). In Paris, Pearce became part of a group of American painters who would spend many years as expatriates, which included William Henry Lippincott (1849 1920), Chester Loomis (1852 1924), Edwin Howland Blashfield (1848 1936), and Frederick Arthur Bridgman (1847 1928). In 1873 74 Pearce and Bridgman traveled in Egypt, which would inspire much of Bridgman's work in future years. Pearce also painted some Orientalist subjects, as well as portraits, religious subjects, and genre scenes, and he first exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1876. That same year he also sent work to the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia. His favorite subjects came to be scenes of peasant life in the north of France, in which he was influenced by the work of the French artists Jules Bastien Lepage (1848 1884) and Jules Adolphe Aime Louis Breton (1827 1906). Pearce remained in France for the rest of his life, settling in 1885 some twenty miles from Paris at Auvers sur Oise. By that time, he had somewhat modified his earlier meticulous painting style in favor of more Impressionistic color and technique.

Pearce served on numerous international art juries and executed a series of six murals for the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. He exhibited widely and won numerous prizes, including silver medals at Boston in 1878 and 1881, a gold medal at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia in 1881, the Temple gold medal at the Academy in 1885, and an honorable mention at the Paris Salon in 1881. Pearce was made a chevalier of the French Legion of Honor in 1894 and an associate member of the National Academy of Design in New York. His paintings are in The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, The Art Institute of Chicago, and the Pennsylvania Academy.

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