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Constable

art, painting, academy and memoirs

CONSTABLE, John, English pastoral painter: b. East Bergholt, Suffolk, 11 June 1776; d. London, 1 April 1837. His father was a wealthy miller, and was at first desirous that his son should enter the Church, and then on finding him disinclined to this career„ proposed that he should follow his own business. At the latter employment he continued for several years, but his favorite pursuit was painting, and in this he would occupy his leisure hours. After considerable objection on the part of his father, but encouraged by Sir George Beau mont, he entered as a student of the Royal Academy in 1799. For many years his progress as an artist was extremely slow. He did not sell a single picture to a stranger until 1814, but he had one or two private buyers who de tected the promise of great things in his work In 1816 he married secretly Maria Bicknell, who died in 1828. In 1819 his (View of the River Stour) attracted some attention, and pro cured him admission as an associate of the Academy. His talent first received recognition abroad: he was awarded the medal at Lille in 1824, and another at Paris in the following year. Then followed his admission as a member of the Royal Academy (1826)— a tardy recogni tion which he did not value much. Constable's pictUTCS an remarkable for the truth and vivid ness with which country' scenes and natural phenomena arc represented. Fuseli said of them that they made him call for his umbrella; and a French critic declared that his leaves and grass were bespangled with morning dew. He

choSe ((unpicturesque° localities for his ex quisite pastorals, and was the first to abandon the brown grounding adopted by the Dutch School for fresh and natural tints. For the first 12 years of his career he was able to de velop along his own lines by having private buyers, and ever after that, it was by the in heritances to which he succeeded, not by what he earned, that he was enabled to live. Some authorities regard him as the founder of the impressionist school which culminated at Bar bizon. Among the finest of his works are (A View of Salisbury Cathedral' ; (The Corn field' ; 'The Lock); and 'The Valley Farm.> Lately several good examples of Constable's art have been added to the Louvre and the late Henry Marquand presented two Le pictures by him to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Consult Leslie, (Memoirs of Con stable> (1845) ; Wedmore, (Studies in English Art) (18'76-80); Brock-Arnold, (Gainsborough and Constable' (1881); Chesneau, (La Peinture Anglaise' (1882) ; Muther, (History of Modern Painting" (1896) ; Holmes, C. J., (Constable and his Influence on Landscape Painting) (New York 1903); and memoirs by Henderson, M. S. (1905), Tompkins (1907) and Bankart (1910).