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Sold at Auction: William McGregor Paxton

Figure painterPainterPortrait painter


(b Baltimore, Maryland 1869; d Newton Centre, Massachusetts 1941) American painter. In 1908 William McGregor Paxton was at the height of his career, and as a member of the celebrated painters of the Boston School, was creating many of his finest works. Paxton’s finest domestic portraits masterfully capture moments of quiet and introspection with a competence that has been compared to the Dutch painter Jan Vermeer, an artist whose work was admired by the Boston School painters. Paxton’s own colleagues of the Boston School, Edmund Tarbell, Joseph DeCamp, and Frank Benson, were known for depicting life's happier aspects; leaving the more earthy themes to Ash Can School artists such as Robert Henri, John Sloan, or George Luks. By 1908 Paxton was teaching with Tarbell and Benson at the Boston Museum School, and all three artists maintained studios in the Fenway Building. Their shared interests extended to a dedication to the observation of natural light and its effects. Portraits of women were among Paxton's most sought-after works. (Credit: Christie’s, New York, Important American Paintings, Drawings, and Sculpture, April 25, 2002, Lot 9).
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