Edmund Darch Lewis
View of Narragansett
Watercolor, 11 × 23 3/4 inches
Edmund Darch Lewis was born in Philadelphia, the
son of a prominent businessman. According to family tradition, he was educated
at a private school and studied painting with the German-born landscapist Paul
Weber (1823–1916). He first exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine
Arts in 1854, where he was elected an associate in 1859 and a full academician
in 1862. He also exhibited at the Boston Athenaeum from 1858 to 1869, and at
the National Academy of Design in New York in 1860. Lewis never married and
lived a comfortable existence with his parents until he was fifty.
Lewis was a prolific
artist whose landscapes were avidly collected by Philadelphia art patrons, and
by the early 1880s he had made a fortune. He devoted the last thirty years of
his life to amassing a huge collection of fine and decorative arts that he
displayed in his sumptuously furnished townhouse on 526 South 22nd Street. Late
in his career Lewis lost interest in oil painting, and the quality of his work
in that medium declined.
View of Narragansett is typical of the artist’s late phase, when he worked almost exclusively in
watercolor for his own pleasure. Many of these views represent popular resorts
such as Cape May in New Jersey, where his younger brother owned a house.
Located in Rhode Island on Narragansett Bay, Narragansett was one of the most
fashionable American resort towns of the “Gilded Age.”
Copyright©2008 The Schwarz Gallery