Chester Loomis (1852-1924)
Artist and Illustrator
†This information was compiled by Henry H. Glassie, April 1, 1975 from information supplied by the artistís son, John P. Loomis (1889-1974).† Additional family information and illustrations supplied by his great-granddaughter, Lucy Elizabeth Loomis (b1958).
Artwork can be found at the bottom of the page. Click on the thumbnails to see larger views.
Chester Hicks Loomis was born near Syracuse, New York on October 18, 1852. He attended Cornell University where he later executed a mural. This was destroyed by fire, but is illustrated in the Brochure of the Mural Painters National Society (1916). Loomis first studied under Harry Ives Thompson in West Haven, Connecticut.
In 1874 he went to France where he remained for eleven years. Here he studied at the Julian Academy and under Leon Bonnat. During his stay in France, Loomis exhibited at six Paris Salons. Several of his paintings were reproduced by the famous French firm of Goupil, including La Presentation du Pretendu (1879) and Christopher Sly Metamorphose en Grand Seigneur (1882). The latter is now in the collection of the Indianapolis Museum of Art. (A full-page illustration of this painting appears in The Gallery of Contemporary Art, Vol. II, p. 39, Gebbie & Co., 1884). While living in Paris, Loomis also exhibited (in 1879) at the Royal Academy a painting entitled Fourteenth Century Justice showing a poacher being man-handled before a child prince. During this period Loomis traveled and painted extensively in Italy, especially in Capri.†
At some time during his years abroad he returned to the United States, for he married Sarah Sophia Dana on August 23, 1883 in Kansas City, MO. They returned to France in 1884, and their first son, Charles Dana Loomis, was born in 1884 in Paris. In 1885 they again returned to the States. First they lived with Chesterís brother, John Alonzo Loomis, at his ranch on the San Saaba River in Texas. While here, in 1887, he painted Antelope Hunters depicting his brother skinning an antelope while he stands nearby with the horses. This painting is now in the Anschutz Collection in Denver. It was included in the traveling exhibition of western paintings, September 15, 1974 to April 7, 1975, currently at the Wichita Art Association and is illustrated in the exhibition catalogue, American Masters in the West (1974). The painting also appears, along with a history of this time, in Texas Ranchman : The Memoirs of John A. Loomis, The Fur Press, c1982.† Paintings from the Anschutz Collection traveled the country in 2000 and 2001, and an impressive book entitled Painters and the American West was published to highlight the touring art exhibit.
In about 1889 Chester moved his family to Englewood, New Jersey, where his second son, John Putnam Loomis, was born. He maintained his studio in Englewood and resided there until his death on November 12, 1924. During these years, the artistís principal income, and a substantial one, was from portraits, murals, and the design of ecclesiastical stained glass windows (for example, the Presbyterian Church of Englewood, NJ). He illustrated childrenís books, some under his own name, including the Dutton 1892 edition of Mother Goose. He also used the pseudonym,† Valnotte. His work appears in many periodicals of the day, including Scribnerís Magazine.†His first love, however, continued to be the narrative painting and landscapes. He exhibited at the Columbian Exposition and one of the paintings exhibited there, Memoria, is illustrated in The Art of the World, (D. Appleton & Co., 1894). His Normandy Milkmaid won the first prize (gold medal) at the Massachusetts Char. And Mech. Institute in 1907.
In 1906 Chester Loomis was elected an associate member of the National Academy, and the Academy has his self-portrait in their collection. He was a member of the Salamagundi Club, and on intimate terms with many of the leading artists of his day.†Loomis was an ardent fisherman. He spent endless days fishing, but was always accompanied by his watercolors. Among the most charming of his works are small, intimate watercolors of fishing streams and pondsódone for his own pleasure. Very few of his easel paintings in oil have reached the market.†
Nantucket Dunes, painted July 13, 1897
Painting found on reverse of Nantucket Dunes, above.
Marsh Landscape, painted 1902
Antelope Hunters, painted 1887
John Loomis in Texas
"Nighthawk" illustration, signed Valnotte
"Seagull" illustration, signed Valnotte
"Snowman" illustration, signed Valnotte
"Hester" ca. 1892 --Exhibited at the 1893 Chicago World's Columbian Expostion
"Memoria" -- Exhibited at the 1893 Chicago World's Columbian Exposition
"Normandy Milkmaid" 1885
Sketches of a crowing rooster, 1890s
The letter H, sketch for alphabet book
A different version of the letter H
This page created by Lucy Loomis. Last edited 5/30/2002.
Contact her at [email protected]
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