Friday, August 10, 2012


Daniel Garber 1900
Possibly photographed by Haeseler
Macbeth Gallery records
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution

Daniel Garber (1880-1958) was born in North Manchester, Indiana, the youngest son of a Mennonite family. He studied with Frank Duveneck at the Art Academy of Cincinnati and later at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts with Thomas Anschutz, J. Alden Weir, William Merritt Chase and Cecilia Beaux. In 1905 he traveled to England on a Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts fellowship, returning to America in 1907 and establishing a studio in Bucks County, just north of Philadelphia. In the years that followed, Garber became a central figure in the New Hope art community, a mainstay of the Pennsylvania Impressionist group of painters and one of the most significant and decorated artists of his generation. He also became a renowned teacher of drawing at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, loved and respected by generations of students. His drawings are used as teaching tools to this day.

Batter Sea Bridge 1905

Smithsonian American Art Museum
Bequest of Henry Ward Ranger
Through the National Academy of Design

Formerly a star pupil at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Daniel Garber returned in 1909 as a member of the faculty. For forty-one years he instructed students in drawing from antique casts and painting "en plein air". Renowned for his strictness, Garber stirred up a nervous silence in his students as he passed among them, correcting the mistakes in their work. The gruff severity of his remarks often reduced his students, especially women, to tears. "Can you cook?" he snapped. "You sure can't draw, so you'd better learn how to cook!" Garber's students respected his harshness, recognizing the high expectations and dedicated concern underlying it.

Self Portrait 1911

Returning to the United States, Garber and his wife Mary Franklin Garber settled on the Kenderdine Homestead, near Lumberville, Pennsylvania, which was purchased for them by Mary’s father. Garber renamed his home Cuttalossa after the creek that was adjacent to the property. Not far from his home, Garber could look across the Delaware River to the great stone quarries at Byram, New Jersey, which he often painted. Garber created a style of landscape painting characterized by romanticized, representational imagery. These scenes, often overlaid with extensive surface patterning, are dominated by blues, greens, and rich yellows. In his compositions, Garber often used a screening device of trees and vines with a sweeping vista behind. Garber was as talented a figure painter as he was a landscapist. He incorporated figures into many of his landscapes and, particularly in the period 1908-1924, he used the figure as his primary subject,
(Hollis Taggart Galleries at

Little Village Winter 1914

Garber and other artist’s contributions to the area were noted in Dubois’ 1915 article, when the critic observed that the New Hope artists had created a new and distinctly American style by adapting the technique of the French Impressionists. Garber’s adaptation was to employ the brushstroke techniques of French Impressionists, but creating highly stylized and flattened compositions. This was a reflection of his training and experience and an approach being explored by emerging abstract artists.
(Ackerman's Fine Art at

Pioneer's House 1920
Produced near Brownsburgh, Pennsylvania
James E. Roberts Fund
Art of the American West Gallery

Conowingo 1930

Green Pastures 1935

During the early decades of the twentieth century, an increasing number of art instructors and students favored new and modern aesthetics and teaching methods, thereby dividing the Pennsylvania Academy community. Although Garber faithfully defended the methods that had shaped his own education at the turn of the century, he insisted upon treating all students fairly. When he retired in 1950, the entire community of the Academy lamented the loss of one of America's best-loved art teachers.
Like most impressionist painters, Garber painted landscapes en plein air, directly from nature. He exhibited his works nationwide and earned numerous awards, including a gold medal at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition (1915) in San Francisco, California. He was elected a member of the National Academy of Design in 1913. Garber died on July 5, 1958, after falling from a ladder at his studio. Today, Garber's paintings are considered by collectors and art historians to be among the finest works produced from the New Hope art colony. His paintings are owned by major museums including the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC, and the Art Institute of Chicago.

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