Crayon on Paper, 12 x 15.25 inches / Signed lower left
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Known variously as and "the American Van Gogh" or the “American Chagall”, Beal was an Impressionist painter born to a wealthy New York City family. He and his younger brother, Gifford, also an artist, often hiked the lower Hudson River valley while living at the family home in Newburgh, NY. He graduated from Cornell University at Ithaca, NY with a degree in naval architecture in 1887. Notwithstanding this degree and his skill as a yachtsman, he could not be deterred from pursuing art -- he had sketched around Lake Cayuga while at Cornell and the East River area close to home and had studied briefly at the Art Students League (NYC). Circa 1890 he traveled to Europe, spending time in Madrid, Spain and Portugal. When he returned home he studied under Impressionist painter William Merritt Chase at his Shinnecock summer school on Long Island. 1901 found him sketching on board the U.S.S. St. Mary’s, the school ship of the New York Nautical School (now SUNY Maritime College). During the years 1900 – 1907, Beal spent a good deal of time at the Nuank Art Colony, in Connecticut with Tonalist painter Henry Ward Ranger, founder of the Old Lyme Art Colony (Connecticut). Throughout the first 20 years of the 20th century, he enjoyed the camaraderie of not only Ranger, but of his brother Gifford, Impressionists Childe Hassam, Ernest Lawson, and William Glackens and Tonalist H. Dudley Murphy. Beal was well-traveled having visited Europe, Australia, Burma, the western United States, the Caribbean, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. He also enjoyed the coastal northeast, painting in Provincetown (MA), Rockport (MA), Key West (FL), Atlantic City (NJ) and Gloucester and Wellfleet (MA), in addition to the Adirondack Mountains (NY) and the White Mountains (NH). Beal’s landscapes were more often of the Hudson River Valley after 1912. Beal curtailed his long-distance sketching trips after 1940 and remained close to his home and studio at Rockport. He was a member of the New York City artist organizations -- Salmagundi Club, Lotus Club, Century Club, National Academy of Design (elected 1909), National Arts Club, Brooklyn Society of Etchers, and the American Water Color Society; the Boston Art Club, North Shore Art Association (Gloucester, MA) and the Society of American Engravers. In 1916 he, along with Glackens and others, founded the Society of Independent Artists (NYC). Beal exhibited at the Salmagundi Club (1902, Hurley Prize); Clausen Gallery (NYC, solo, 1905); The Panama–Pacific International Exposition (San Francisco, CA, 1915); Vose Galleries (Boston, solo, 1916); Musée du Luxembourg (Paris, France, 1919); and the Fitchburg Art Center (Fitchburg, MA, 1944).
High auction record for this artist is $107,000.