|Biography: ||Born in Philadelphia, Walter Elmer Scofield attended nearby Swarthmore College before enrolling at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, where he studied with Thomas Anshutz (1851-1912) from 1892 to 1895. Perhaps equally important to his development was his contact at the Academy with other students who would become influential artists. These included Robert Henri (1865-1929), John Sloan (1871-1951), Everett Shinn (1876-1953), and William Glackens (1870-1938), who began their careers as illustrators in Philadelphia before moving to New York, where they exhibited together in a group known as The Eight. Even more crucial to Schofield's development was his friendship with fellow student Edward Redfield (1869-1965), who would become the leader of the Pennsylvania Impressionists of the New Hope School.
Following Redfield's example, Schofield went to Paris for three years of study at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and the Academie Julian with William Adolphe Bouguereau (1825-1905) and Gabriel Ferrier (1847-1914). Many young American artists of the time went to Paris for a thorough academic training without necessarily expecting to adopt the narrative subject matter and technical polish of their teachers. They were often equally open to the broken color and informal compositions of the Impressionists and went, as Schofield did, to places like Fontainebleau to paint in the open air.
After leaving France, Schofield divided his time for some years between Philadelphia and England, where he found challenging subjects, especially along the rocky coast. He traveled around the country and found Saint Ives, an artists' colony in Cornwall, particularly exhilarating.
Through Redfield, by 1898 a resident of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, Schofield began to paint in the New Hope area. Schofield never lived in Bucks County and, unlike most of the well known New Hope artists, never exhibited at Phillips Mill, but he did exhibit with them elsewhere, especially in the annuals of the Pennsylvania Academy (1891, 1892, 1898, 1900-1915, 1920-22, 1924-26, 1930-33, 1935-37, 1946). Schofield used the long brush strokes that are so evident in Redfield's work and, like his friend, would often try to finish a canvas in one day in the open air. Unfortunately, competitiveness put an end the two artists' friendship in 1904. Still, Schofield continued to emphasize the heavy application of paint and expressive brushwork to create an expressionistic portrayal of atmospheric effects.
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