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Cecilia Beaux papers, 1863-1968

Beaux, Cecilia, 1855-1942

Art teacher, Painter, Portrait painter

The papers of Cecilia Beaux in the Archives of American Art were digitized in 2007. The papers have been scanned in their entirety, and total 6,022 images.

Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art

Collection Information

Size: 3.3 Linear feet

Summary: The papers of the painter Cecilia Beaux measure 3.3 linear feet and date from 1863 to 1968. Papers document her education, career and personal life through family and professional correspondence, twelve diaries, lectures, essays, poems, notes, clippings, catalogs, pamphlets, exhibition records, business records, photographs, certificates, diplomas, and artifacts.

Biographical/Historical Note

Cecilia Beaux was born in Philadelphia in 1855. Her mother died just days after her birth, and Beaux and her sister went to live with their grandmother and aunts. Her adoptive family exposed her to fine art throughout her childhood and, once in school, Beaux excelled in her drawing classes and began training in the studio of Catherine A. Drinker, an artist and a cousin of her uncle Will Biddle. From 1881-1883 she attended life classes directed by William Sartain, who traveled to Philadelphia from New York to give criticisms. She also counted the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts master Thomas Eakins among her early influences, though she did not receive direct instruction from him.


Portions of the papers were first lent for microfilming by Harrison Cultra in 1968. The bulk of the collection was donated in1970-1971 by Catherine Drinker Bowen, Beaux's niece, and by Cultra. In 1985, the sketchbook on reel 3425 was lent for microfilming by art dealer Jeffrey Brown with additional material by The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. A palette was donated by Helen Seely Wheelwright, whose former husband, Paul Seeley, was an artist and friend of Beaux. Awards and diplomas were gifted in 1995 by Cecilia Saltonstall, a descendant of Beaux. Material and a poster reproduction of Beaux's portrait of Rear-Admiral Sampson advertising an article in Century Magazine, 1899, was donated in 1991 by Alfred J. Walker, a dealer who organized a Beaux exhibition. He received the material along with artwork he exhibited from the estate of Richard Barker, who had received them from Harrison Cultra. Cultra had inherited them from Beaux's niece, Ernesta Drinker Barlow.

Related Materials

Language Note

English .


Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art