Arrah Lee Gaul (American, 1883–1980) "Audrie" oil painting on board, signed and dated '"Arrah Lee Gaul 1923" top right; also signed and titled verso. Lovely impressionistic tonal work ahead of its time; here, Gaul brings out the delicate beauty of flowers and plants and a porcelain figure through her use of color and texture--all infused with light. Sight: 15.25" H x 19.5" W. Framed: 22.75" H x 27" W.
PROVENANCE: Private Collection, Chestnut Hill, PA. Gratz Gallery, Doylestown, PA. Private Collection, PA. Freeman's, sale of June 26, 2005, lot 143. Acquired directly from the above sale. Private Collection, PA. I purchased the painting from Freeman's.
Artist Bio: Earning her living as a portraitist, Arrah Lee Gaul was also an exceptional landscape and seascape painter. She was the granddaughter of John Parkinson Gaul, born and raised in Philadelphia and graduated from the Philadelphia High School for girls and the Philadelphia School of Design for Women.
A special influence on her art career was Henry B Snell, whose classes she attended in Brittany and Amalfi. In 1917, she joined a group of women artists who became known as "The Philadelphia Ten," and in 1918, according to some sources, she married artist-designer Alfred Laurens Brennan, who died three years later. In 1921, she signed her exhibition entries with the last name of Brennan at the Pennsylvania Academy, having used the name of Gaul in the entries of 1912 and 1916. Her own family doesn't believe that she married Brennan, and indeed, this 1923 paining is signed Gaul.
In 1921, she began teaching at the Philadelphia School of Design and eventually headed its art education department. She traveled extensively and in 1924, she and Jane Peterson (1876-1965) went to Turkey, Greece, and Northern Africa. From 1950 to 1957, she traveled in the Far East and supported herself by selling her paintings. Her portrait subjects included persons who were wealthy and poor, obscure and famous. Source: Peter Hastings Falk (ed.), Who Was Who in American Art.
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Arrah Lee Gaul, "Audrie" Still Life Oil Painting