WILLIAM AMSDEN (1859-1993, New York) Landscape
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Lot 0005 Details
Impressionist oil on board 5 1/2 x 3 1/2 in., 9 1/4 x 7 1/4 in. (framed).William (T) King Amsden (1859-1933)By Robert Harrod, Biographical Researcher, New York City, and Rebecca (Becky) Hill, Head Librarian at The Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center Library, Fremont, OhioWilliam (T) King Amsden, American Impressionist artist, was born on December 3, 1859 in Fremont, Ohio. His father, John Beaman (Beman) Amsden (1816-1893), was born in East Gainesville, N.Y. He was an ex-government surveyor and railroad official. Beaman was an early pioneer in Sandusky, Ohio. The town of Amsden, Ohio, was founded in 1850 and named after him. John Beaman Amsden and his second wife, Clara M. Cone (1822-1890) born in New Haven, Connecticut were married in Lee, Massachusetts on October 17, 1844. They had six children: sons, William T, Robert, Charles Heath and Beaman, Jr. and two daughters, Jeanette and Emma. Beaman Amsden also had two daughters, Ellen and Sarah, born during his first marriage to Patience Dayo (1819-1848) who died at the early age of 29. Initially, Beaman and Clara moved to Seneca County, Ohio, but eventually settled in Sandusky, Ohio. In 1880 Beaman and Clara moved to Dayton, Wyoming Territory. Clara Amsden died in Dayton, Wyoming in 1890. The exact date of Beaman Amsden's death is unknown but most records indicate 1893.Rebecca Hill has discovered records about the years William T. Amsden was living in Fremont, Ohio. He received his early education in the public schools of Fremont. The Lake Erie & Western Railway Gazetteer and The Directory of Fremont, Ohio for l879-1880 record Amsden (age 21) was boarding with his father, Beman Amsden in Fremont. His occupation was listed as being a salesman for The Leppelman Co., in Fremont, selling watches, clocks, jewelry, pianos and organs, among other items. On February 24, 1882 The Fremont Journal Newspaper reported that William T. Amsden (age 24) attended the wedding of his sister, Jeanette Clara Amsden, daughter of Beman and Clara, to William E. Lang, of Fremont.William T. Amsden left his home town of Fremont, Ohio when he was in his mid-twenties for New York City, to pursue a career as an artist. In 1887 he applied for a U.S. passport and traveled to Paris, France, where he studied at L'Academie Julien, and was taught by the famous European artist AdolpheWilliam Bourgereau (1825-1905). Amsden also studied at the atelier of Fernand Corman (1845-1924). While in Paris Amsden lived at 2 Rue Odessa. In 1890 he exhibited at the exclusive Paris Salon.Amsden returned to the U.S. in late 1890 and made his home in New York City. He set up a studio at 42 West 15th Street, where he lived from 1891-1893. He studied at The Art Students League in New York from December, 1890 to January, 1891. His teachers at this time were H. Siddons Mowbray and George DeForest Brush. While living in New York City Amsden was represented by the well-known art dealer William MacBeth (1851-1917). MacBeth was one of the first dealers to represent living American artists. Among those were: Arthur B. Davies, Theodore Robinson, and members of the "Eight" (Davies, Henri, Luks, Sloan, Glakens, Lawson, Shinn, and Prendergast).In 1893 Amsden exhibited at The World's Fair Columbian Exposition in Chicago. The New York Times reported on January 29, 1893 (p.16) in a story titled "Paintings For The Fair", that one of the paintings chosen to be exhibited as a class 3 oil painting by William T. Amsden of New York City, titled "Ipswich Meadows". This painting was listed in the catalogue of the 1993 World's Fair as "Spanish Meadows".1893 was also the year Amsden moved to Rockland Lake (Clarkstown), New York. For several years, while living in Rockland Lake, he was an instructor of painting and drawing at Willistine Hall, a private school for for young ladies in Nyack, New York. (Willistine Hall eventually became part of Rockland College). At his art studio in Rockland Lake, William T. Amsden was visited frequently by his friend and fellow painter, the famous American artist Arthur B. Davies. He also corresponded on a regular basis with William MacBeth, his art dealer in New York City. In or around 1896, while living in Rockland Lake, Amsden was adopted by a wealthy New York City art patron, Mrs. Isabella M. King, widow of Albert King (1838-1896), a New York City broker. After his adoption by Mrs. King, William changed his middle initial from "T" to "King", in honor of Mrs. King. All of Amsden's paintings after 1896 were signed "William King Amsden." In the 1900 U.S. Census for Rockland County, New York, William King Amsden and Isabella King were living in her home on the road leading to Slaughter's Landing in Rockland Lake. Amsden was described as the "adopted son" of Mrs. King. Her occupation was listed as "Capitalist". There was also one "servant" living in the house at that time. Rockland County Courthouse records (Indexes from 1798-1930) indicate that Mrs. Isabella M. King bought her home in Rockland Lake in April, 1900 Amsden lived in Mrs. King's home in Rockland Lake until 1905.In 1900, Amsden had an exhibition at The New York Water Color Club, which was a complementary organization to The American Water Color Society. A common goal allowed the two groups to combine their annual exhibitions beginning in 1922, and ultimately to merge in 1941 as the still extant American Water Color Society. Also in March, 1900, Amsden exhibited at the Providence (Rhode Island) Art Club annual exhibition with a painting titled "The Fields of Ecouen."In 1905 Amsden and Mrs. King left Rockland Lake and moved to Manhattan. They lived in The Metropolitan Opera Hotel Apartments, on Broadway, according to the 1905 New York State Census. Isabella King died in New York on December 17, 1906. In her will, which was written in Rockland County, N.Y. in 1901, Mrs. King left to William King Amsden, "her adopted son", her home and property in Rockland Lake, N.Y., and lifetime interest from a trust fund, which was to be set up for him. However, Mrs. King sold the Rockland Lake property on January 15, 1906, and died eleven months later. Her will was probated in New York City in May, 1907. Therefore, William King Amsden never actually owned the Rockland Lake property.In November 1906 Amsden exhibited at The Second Annual Exhibition of The Atlanta (Georgia) Art Association (Atlanta Constitution, 11/11/1906).It is also thought that Amsden may have lived in London, England, for several years between 1907-1923.Records from the 1920 census show that "William K. Amsden, 'artist'" was living in New York City. His age was listed as 52 (he was actually 62). His address was 51 West 10th St. This was an apartment building designed by Richard Morris Hunt, America's first French trained architect, as studios for artists to create, exhibit, and sell their work. Many artists of the Hudson River School lived and worked there. Research shows that while Amsden was living on West 10th St. the Director of the Cleveland (Ohio) Museum of Art wrote to him in February, 1921, asking his opinion on several portraits and miniatures that had been offered to the museum for its permanent collection. (Cleveland Museum of Art Archives 2/2/1921; 3/9/21)In 1923, The Atlanta Constitution Newspaper (June 29, 1923) reported that William King Amsden, of New York and London, had been commissioned to restore a valuable old painting of John Wesley, founder of Methodism. This was done for a celebration held in Savannah, Georgia, commemorating the 220th anniversary of the birth of John Wesley. Savannah was the site of Wesley's first Methodist Church in America. The meticulous restoration of the Wesley painting was done by Amsden and a student of his, Miss Emily Wilkins, of Savannah. The restored Wesley painting was hung in The Telfair Museum Art Gallery in Savannah. Upon sailing back to New York Amsden announced in The Atlanta Constitution story that he planned to come back "…to make his permanent residence in Savannah."In 1926 Amsden was living in Savannah while restoring the portrait of "Job Palmer (SC)" attributed to Rembrandt Peale. He also worked with the Telfair Academy of Arts and Sciences Museum between 1928-1929.The 1930 edition of The New York (City) Social Blue Book includes William King Amsden and shows that he was still living at the 51 West 10th St. address. Amsden retained his studio and apartment there from 1910 until his death in 1933. He had renewed his lease on this apartment in 1931 (New York Times 10/8/31). A certified copy of Amsden's death certificate, obtained from the Department of Health of The City of New York, verifies his date of death in Manhattan as October 8, 1933. His age was reported by a friend, George W. Harting, of New York, to be 77. The Campbell Funeral Church published a death notice for Amsden in The New York Times on October 11, 1933, also showing his age to be 77. However, Amsden's sister and primary heir, Jeanette Amsden Lang (1862-1954) of Fremont, Ohio, had his date at death changed to 74 in the obituary notices in the Ohio newspapers. Even though Amsden had requested that he be buried in Savannah, Mrs. Lang had her brother's body returned to Fremont from New York City for burial in the family lot in Oakwood Cemetery. The Oakwood grave marker reads "William K. Amsden, 1858-1933." (Oakwood Cemetery Records, 1940).A certified copy of Amsden's will, obtained from the Surrogate's Court of New York City, was admitted to Probate on July 3, 1934. It is interesting to note that the will was executed in Savannah, Georgia, on April 25, 1933, less than six months prior to his death in New York. Amsden never married. He was survived by his two sisters, Jeannette Amsden Lang of Fremont, Ohio, and Emma C. Amsden Topping, Borgas Hospital, Ancon, Panama Canal Zone, Panama; one brother, Beman Amsden, Jr. of Garden Montana; a nephew, Lt. William F. Amsden of Washington, D.C. (Army War College); and a niece, Sue Amsden Parker, of Coranado, California.CONCLUSION REGARDING WILLIAM T. AND WILLIAM KING AMSDENThe American Impressionist artists, listed separately in many reference books, refer both to William T. Amsden and William King Amsden. They were actually the same person.William T. Amsden1. United States Census Records and his U.S. passport application in 1887 make it clear that William T. Amsden was the son of Beaman and Clara Cone Amsden (1860, 1870, 1880) and he was the brother of Jeanette Amsden (1870, 1880).2. William is known as William T. Amsden in the Fremont, Ohio City Directory, and shown to be living with his father Beaman Amsden. He is also listed as working in Fremont.3. In 1882, Will T. Amsden is mentioned in the Fremont, Ohio Journal Newspaper, as being in the wedding party of his sister, Jeanette Amsden to William E. Lang, of Fremont.4. In 1887 William T. Amsden, Sandusky, Ohio, applies for a U.S. passport.5. 1891-1892, William T. Amsden had an apartment and art studio at 42 W. 10th Street, in New York City.6. March, 1892, William T. Amsden is listed in the New York Times "Society Pages."7. In 1893 William T. Amsden exhibits at The World's Fair Columbian Exhibition in Chicago, Illinois.8. 1894. William T. Amsden exhibits in The Society of American Artists Show.9. 1896. Letters to William MacBeth from William T. Amsden, New York.William King Amsden10. 1897. Letters from Rockland Lake to William MacBeth from William King Amsden.11. In the 1900 Census, Wm. King Amsden is an artist living in Rockland Lake, New York, an "Adopted Son" of Mrs. Isabella M. King.12. 1901. William King Amsden exhibits painting at The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts Annual Exhibition13. 1905-1933 Wm. King Amsden is an artist living in New York City (NYC Directories)14. Careful examination of signatures on paintings signed as William T. Amsden and William King Amsden are nearly identical, and exhibit the very same unique characteristics.15. William King Amsden died in New York City in October, 1933. His parents are listed as Beaman and Clara Cone Amsden of Fremont, Ohio. His official death notice and obituary state that he was born in Fremont, Ohio and that Jeanette Amsden Lang is his sister. His will, executed in Savannah, GA, lists his sister, Jeanette Amsden Lang, as his primary heir.16. William King Amsden is buried in Oakwood Cemetery, Fremont, Ohio, on the same lot as William E. Lang, the husband of his sister, Jeanette.17. The grave stone reads, "William K. Amsden, 1858-1933." In on-going efforts to gather additional biographical information, Amsden's official United States passport Application and passport, issued on May 13, 1887, was discovered. On this application William T. Amsden submitted information (that was sworn to and signed) that he was born on December 3, 1859, in Fremont, Ohio.18. From a certified copy of Amsden's Death Certificate we know that he died in New York City on October 8, 1933.EXHIBITIONS OF WILLIAM KING AMSDENFebruary 22, 2014-April 13, 2014. Painters and Paintings of Rockland County: The Hopper Years. The Edward Hopper House Art Center, Nyack (Rockland County), New York.September - October, 1984. 19th- Century Painters and Paintings of Rockland County, N.Y. The Edward Hopper Landmark Preservation Foundation and the Nyack Library, Rockland County, N.Y.1975 - American Painters of the Impressionist Period RediscoveredThe Colby College Art MuseumWaterville, MaineArt Institute of Chicago (1895-6)Atlanta Art Association, Second Annual Exhibit (1906)Boston Club Exposition (1892-1902)National Academy of Design (1890, 189l, 1892, 1894, 1895, 1900)New York Water Color Society (mid-1890's)Paris Salon (1890)Pennsylvania Academy of the Arts (1893, 1894, 1901)Society of American Artists (1894)World's Fair Columbian Exhibition, Chicago, Illinois (1893)Museum CollectionsColby College Museum of Art5600 Mayflower HillWaterville, Maine, 04901Litchfield Historical SocietyLitchfield, ConnecticutSmithsonian Inventories of American Paintings and SculptureSmithsonian InstitutionWashington, D.C.Tweed Museum of ArtUniversity of MinnesotaDuluth, MinnesotaWashington County Museum of Fine ArtsCity Park, 91 Key StreetHagerstown, Maryland 21740Research SourcesAmerican Watercolor SocietyAmsden Message Boards, Rootsweb.comAncestry.comArt Institute of Chicago, IllinoisArt Students League of New YorkAsk/ArtAtlanta Constitution Newspaper (11/11/1906;5/21/1911;6/29/1923)Campbell Funeral Home Records, New York, N.Y. (1933)Carnegie Institute Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PAChurch of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (www.family search.org)Cleveland (Ohio) Museum of Art (Ingall's Library Archives, 1921)Colby College Museum of Arts, Waterville, MaineFremont, Ohio Directory (1879-1880)Fremont, Ohio Monument Company (4/24/1940)Fremont, Ohio Oakwood Cemetery RecordsFremont, Ohio Courier Newspaper (2/20/1890)Fremont, Ohio Daily News Newspaper (10/9/1933)Fremont, Ohio Daily Messenger Newspaper (10/11/1933;10/13/1933)Fremont, Ohio Democratic Messenger Newspaper (2/20/1890)Fremont, Ohio Journal Newspaper (2/24/1882;2/28/1890)Hayes, Rutherford B. Presidential Center, Fremont, OhioHopper House Museum, Nyack, New YorkLitchfield Historical Association, ConnecticutWilliam Macbeth Galleries, New York CityNew York City Department of Health Records (1933)New York City DirectoriesNew York City Social Blue Book Directory (1930)New York City Surrogate's Court Probate Records (1934)New York Times (3/13/1892;3/11/1894;1/28/1903;10/8/1933;10/11/1933)Pennsylvania Academy of The Fine Arts (Records: 1876-1913)Providence, Rhode Island Art ClubRockland County, New York, Courthouse Records (1900)Rockland County, New York, Historical SocietySavannah, Georgia City DirectoriesSchwinn, Susan, Genealogist. Rockland County, New YorkSeneca County, Ohio, History and Families (1998)Smithsonian Archives of American ArtSociety of American ArtistsTelfair Museum of Art, Savannah, GeorgiaUnited States Census Reports (1850-1860;1870-1880;1900-1920)United States passport applications (1887)Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx, New York (1896)World's Fair, Columbian Exposition (1893)The Official Repository for records on the Life and Times of The American Impressionist artist William (T) King Amsden (1859-1933), is The Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center Library, Spiegel Grove, Fremont, Ohio, 43420-2796.
WILLIAM AMSDEN (1859-1993, New York) Landscape
Estimate $200 - $400Jul 12, 2020
Starting Price $100
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