Part of the American History & Genealogy Project

Elizabeth Nourse 1859 ~ 1938


Elizabeth Nourse

Those who have closely followed the history of American art will be interested in the principal facts of Elizabeth Nourse's life. She is a descendant of an old Huguenot family who settled in Massachusetts some two or three hundred years ago. She was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. At the age of thirteen she showed such remarkable talent for painting that she attended the School of Design in that city. Her father losing his fortune, at the time of her parents' death, she found herself confronted by the necessity of earning money to undergo the course in art which she had so long desired. After school hours she taught design and decorated the walls in the homes of Cincinnati's wealthiest citizens.

After completing her four years' course in the School of Design, she was offered a fine position there as teacher of drawing, but having more ambitious projects in her mind, she refused this position.

Aided by her sister, she accumulated $5,000 and this, with the little rescued from their father's estate, insured them a living abroad for several years. When some of the young artists of Paris founded the Societe Nationale des Beaux-Arts, Miss Nourse decided to send her pictures to this new salon where they were received with acclamation. Three years later she was made an associate.

A sincere student of nature. Miss Nourse paints only what she sees, but hers is the vision of a noble soul, which pierces through conventionalities to the poetry and beauty that underlies all life. Her pictures are not portraits of models, but types of human character; all nature appeals to her, and some of her most beautiful pictures are landscapes of Brittany, and bits of the old forest of Rambouillet.

Happy Days

The art of Elizabeth Nourse has been influenced by no other painter. Years of study in Paris have broadened her technique. Her brush work has become more firm, her color more beautiful, but the character of her painting remains unaltered. In the work of Miss Nourse, is shown the broad, human sympathy of a strong woman who believes in art not only for art's sake but for the sake of humanity which it can uplift and spiritualize.

Women of America

Source: The Part Taken by Women in American History, By Mrs. John A. Logan, Published by The Perry-Nalle Publishing Company, Wilmington, Delaware, 1912.


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