Gifford Beal (1879-1956)


Gifford Beal was an American painter, watercolorist, printmaker and muralist who gained great acclaim both during and after his lifetime.

Beal was the youngest of six children, in a family that created not one but three artists of renown including elder brother Reynolds Beal and niece Marjorie Acker.

Gifford Beal knew he wanted to be an artist from a young age, and he started studying with the great William Merritt Chase in 1892, at the age of 14, working with him on weekends and over the summers. After nine years with Chase, he would go on to study at Princeton University and then at the Art Students League of New York.

Beal would paint a large number of subjects throughout his career and took great inspiration from his surroundings including landscapes along the Hudson River and maritime scenes in Gloucester and Rockport, Mass. as well as his native New York. Though it's easy to see the influence of W.M. Chase, particularly in his compositions and linework, Beal also developed his own style of American Impressionism, bringing in French Impressionist elements of color and light. The result is a dynamic synthesis best shown in scenes of drama and motion.

Gifford Beal was recognized widely in his lifetime, winning a long list of awards and prizes for his work. He was also a distinguished member of several organizations for the advancements of the arts including the National Academy and in time became an art teacher himself.

Examples of Gifford Beal's work are held in a large number of American Museums and institutions worldwide including:
The Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C., which also holds Beal's archive of his personal papers and documentation of his career.
Metropolitan Museum Of Art, New York
The British Museum, London, UK
The Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA
The Mariner's Museum, Newport News, VA
The US Department of State, Art of the US Embassies, Washington D.C.

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