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Ernest Lawson papers, 1907-1967

Ernest Lawson papers, 1907-1967

Lawson, Ernest, 1873-1939

Art teacher, Painter

Collection Information

Size: 0.5 linear feet

Summary: The scattered papers of painter Ernest Lawson measure 0.6 linear feet and date from 1907 to 1967. The papers consist of family correspondence with daughter Margaret, and between Margaret and her mother Ella Lawson; a dismantled scrapbook containing exhibition announcements, catalogs, and clippings; and a 1937 photograph of a group of artists at a dinner at the Salmagundi Club honoring Lawson along with a photograph of a work of art by Lawson signed by the numerous artists attending the dinner, including Victor C. Anderson, George Elmer Browne, Gordon Grant, Eugene Higgens, Ivan G. Olinsky, Eugene Speicher, Guy Wiggens, and Keith Shaw Williams, among others.

Biographical/Historical Note

Ernest Lawson (1873-1939) was painter active in New York City and member of the group of American early modernist painters known as "The Eight."

Provenance

Margaret Lawson Bensco donated her father's papers in 1976. In 1985, Lawson's granddaughter Alice Simon donated the 1937 photograph of artists at the Salmagundi Club and the photograph of a work of art by Lawson signed by numerous artists.

Funding

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

A Finding Aid to the Ernest Lawson Papers, 1907-1967, in the Archives of American Art
AAA.lawserne
Author
Finding aid prepared by Jayna M. Josefson
Biographical/Historical note
Ernest Lawson (1873-1939) was painter active in New York City and member of the group of American early modernist painters known as "The Eight."
Born in Nova Scotia, Canada and raised in Kansas, Ernest Lawson moved to New York City in the 1880s. There, he studied at the Art Students League and studied under John Twachtman. He also studied at the Cos Cob Connecticut summer art school before moving to Paris in 1893 to study at the Académie Julian. While in Paris he also shared a studio with W. Somerset Maugham, who is believed to have used Lawson as the inspiration for the character "Frederick Lawson" in his 1915 novel
Of Human Bondage .
Lawson returned to the United States in 1896 and transitioned from his Impressionist style to a Realist style, painting primarily cityscapes. Lawson had his first solo exhibition at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1907 and won a prize for a winter landscape. Lawson joined the group painters that would become known as "The Eight," whose members included Robert Henri, William Glackens, John Sloan, George Luks, Everett Shinn, Arthur B. Davies, and William Prendergast. These painters protested that the exhibition system in New York was a closed system that did not welcome change and modern style. In 1908, Macbeth Galleries staged the seminal show of the "The Eight."
Lawson married Ella Holman and they had two daughters Margaret and Dorothy. Lawson tragically drowned in Florida in 1939.
Arrangement note
The collection is arranged as 1 series.
Series 1: Ernest Lawson papers, 1907-1967 (0.5 linear feet; Box 1, OVs 2-4)
Scope and Contents note
The scattered papers of painter Ernest Lawson measure 0.6 linear feet and date from 1907 to 1967. The papers consist of family correspondence with daughter Margaret, and between Margaret and her mother Ella Lawson; a dismantled scrapbook containing exhibition announcements, catalogs, and clippings; and a 1937 photograph of a group of artists at a dinner at the Salmagundi Club honoring Lawson along with a photograph of a work of art by Lawson signed by the numerous artists attending the dinner, including Victor C. Anderson, George Elmer Browne, Gordon Grant, Eugene Higgens, Ivan G. Olinsky, Eugene Speicher, Guy Wiggens, and Keith Shaw Williams, among others.
Provenance
Margaret Lawson Bensco donated her father's papers in 1976. In 1985, Lawson's granddaughter Alice Simon donated the 1937 photograph of artists at the Salmagundi Club and the photograph of a work of art by Lawson signed by numerous artists.
Processing Information note
The Ernest Lawson papers were microfilmed upon receipt onto reel 1788. In 2014, Jayna Josefson created a finding aid to the papers with funding provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Additional Forms Available

Portions of the papers were microfilmed on reel 1788, which is available for interlibrary loan. Researchers are advised that the microfilm is incomplete.

The papers are also available on microfilm reel 1788 in Archives' offices, affiliate centers, and for interlibrary loan. The older arrangement of the papers for microfilming does not match the current arrangement of the papers as described in the finding aid.

Restrictions on Access

Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.

How to Cite This Collection

Ernest Lawson papers, 1907-1967. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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