Emile Gruppe (1896-1978, U.S.
Autumn in the Mountains, 1930-39
Oil on canvas, 76 x 102 cm.
Gift of David K. Anderson
Gruppe was born in Rochester, New York. He lived his early years in the Netherlands where his father Charles Paulo Gruppe painted with The Hague school of art and acted as a dealer for Dutch painters in the U.S. The family returned to the states around 1913 ahead of World War I. His brother Paulo played the cello, his other brother Karl became a sculptor and his sister Virginia a watercolorist. Gruppe studies at the National Academy in New York and the Acadèmie de la Grande Chaumière in Paris.
In the early 1930s, Gruppe moved to Gloucester, Massachusetts, particularly Rocky Neck and Cape Ann, one of the oldest artist communities in the U.S. He established The Gloucester School of Painting from 1940 to 1970 in an old schoolhouse with his mentor John Fabian Carlson. Gruppe was the teacher of artists including Otis Cook, Bill Wray and Nathalie Nordstand. Later, Jefferson, Vermont became a second campus for his students. And still later, Naples, Florida provided another palette for his landscapes.
These artists painted en plein aire (or outdoors) and captured scenes directly onto canvas. The Cape Ann School of American Impressionism remains a strong academic aspect of the history of American art.
Although Gruppe is best known for his variety of impressionistic landscapes, he also painted figures and portraits. His modern style was largely inherited from the French Impressionist Claude Monet. He is best known for his harbor scenes of Gloucester, Massachusetts and vistas in and around Cape Ann like Gloucester Morning.
During his lifetime, Gruppe received awards from The National Academy and Allied Artists among others. He published three books on painting: Gruppe on Painting, 1976, Brushwork, 1977, and Gruppe on Color, 1979. Gruppe conveyed innovative and groundbreaking information about the use of color, palette techniques, and color theory.
Public collections of Gruppe’s work are held at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and at the White House, Washington D.C.
This painting belonged to Julia Broadhead Bissell, wife of Philip TenBroeck Bissell, who taught languages at Cornell and the University of Rochester. They were residents of Geneva. Ms. Bissell’s father was George Broadhead who ran a prominent art gallery at 46 East Avenue in Rochester during the 20s-30s. Ms. Bissell left the painting to Mary Ellen Anderson, Mr. Anderson’s mother. When Mrs. Anderson died, David Anderson kindly thought the painting should come full circle and gave it to The Colleges.
Emile A. Gruppé (1896-1978) By: Lowrey, Carol. American Art Review, November/December 2008, Vol. 20 Issue 6, p100-109, 10p
The Wall. American Art Review, Jul/Aug2014, Vol. 26 Issue 4, p8-8, 1/4p, 1 Color Photograph