Edmund Charles Tarbell

Edmund Charles Tarbell
Born April 26, 1862
Groton, Massachusetts
Died August 1, 1938 (at age 76)
New Castle, New Hampshire
Nationality American
Education School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Movement Impressionism, Ten American Painters
Field Painting
Works View Complete Works

Edmund Charles Tarbell was born in Massachusetts on April 26, 1862. From an early age, he demonstrated his love for art and his artistic skills. This led him to take evening art lessons while he was still a youth. In 1877, at the age of 15, he started an apprenticeship at the Forbes Litographic Company, and later in 1879, he commenced his studies at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Here he studied under the famous Otto Grundmann.

After matriculating he continued his studies in the Academie Julian in Paris. Later on, he earned his living with his artistic capabilities, by working as an illustrator and portrait painter. He was also a private art instructor. Tarbell was a popular teacher at the Museum school. His followers were commonly referred to as the Tarbellites. In 1919 he started his career as a principal at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, where he remained until 1926.

In 1888 he married Emeline Souther. They had four children. He and his family lived in Boston, and later on he retired in New Castle, New Hampshire. He died on the 1st of August 1938.


Edmund_Charles_Tarbell_-_Au_vergerEdmund Charles Tarbell is regarded as one of the best American Impressionist painters. He was a member of the Ten American Painters, which were major exponents of the Impressionist style. This style originated in the early 19th century, and its main characteristics include open compositions, the accurate depiction of light and rather thin, yet visible brush strokes.

Schooling_the_HorsesOne of Tarbell’s most famous paintings is In the Orchard. This painting dates back to the year 1891, and in it, Tarbell painted his wife and siblings in the orchard enjoying a beautiful day. Tarbell is famous for his tendency of depicting landscapes in an impressionistic manner. His restrained use of brushwork and the choice of colors bring out a unique beauty in his paintings.

Tarbell painted many paintings, including Three Sisters, Girl with Horse, The Bath, A Summer Idyll, and many others. As can be seen from the names of his paintings, a good percentage of them depicted one or more members of his family doing something in particular. He also painted portraits for various notable persons through the years. These include Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover and Henry Clay Flick.

Reputation and Style

The_Sisters_Edmund_TarbellTarbell’s paintings are held in various places, including the Corcoran Gallery, the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Academy of Design. In 1927 Tarbell was elected as a Fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Tarbell’s style evokes a sense of beauty and tranquility. Simple actions, such as reading, writing or playing a musical instrument, are commonly found in his paintings. Light was a major element in his paintings. A solemn, calm mood is prevalent in most of his works. The way Tarbell painted them inspires a sense of serenity and quietness in whoever sees them and truly appreciates them.