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Biographical Note | A Finding Aid to the Edwin Ambrose Webster papers, 1821-1968 | Digitized Collection

Edwin Ambrose Webster papers, 1821-1968

Biographical Note

Painter and educator Edwin Ambrose Webster (1869-1935) lived and worked in Provincetown, Massachusetts and was known for his vibrant landscapes and for opening the first modernist art school in Provincetown.
Born in Chelsea, Massachusetts, Webster began his art studies at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts under Frank Benson and Edmund Tarbell, where he received a three year scholarship to study abroad at the Academie Julian. There, he studied under Jean Laurens and Jean-Joseph Constant and was awarded several additional student prizes for his work. Upon his return, Webster established himself as a founding member of the burgeoning art colony in Provincetown, opening his Summer School of Art in 1900, which he operated for the next thirty five years.
Alongside his teaching duties, Webster continued to develop a modernist style and was invited to exhibit in the 1913 Armory Show. In 1918, he traveled to France to study Cubism under Albert Gleizes and Jean Metzinger, and upon his return to Provincetown, began incorporating these techniques into his paintings as well as into his lectures and classes. As an active organizer within the art colony, Webster helped to found the Provincetown Art Association in 1914 and served as its director from 1917 to 1919. In 1916, he also hosted the first exhibition of the woodblock carving group, the Provincetown Printers, at his studio. Webster died at his Provincetown home in 1935.