William Worcester Churchill (1858 - 1926)
Woman Reading on a Settee, n.d.
Oil on canvas
23 x 30 inches
Signed at lower right: Churchill
Charles Prendergast style frame
Dr. James Ralph Taylor, Boston, Massachusetts
Mable Sealy Ludeman, his wife, Escondido, California, until 1975
Cathryn Ludeman, daughter of John and Mable Ludeman, until 1985
Kevin S. Mahoney, her son, and Mathilde Guedes Mahoney, Guilford, CT
Philip Neil Mahoney and Brian Thomas Mahoney, their sons
William Worcester Churchill was born in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, and studied briefly at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before entering the inaugural class of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in 1877. He studied under Emil Otto Grundmann before departing for Paris, where he was a pupil of Leon Bonnat from 1878 to 1885 and of Edmund Tarbell from 1884 to 1885 in Paris, and again in Boston from 1885 to 1888. Churchill was an active member of the Guild of Boston Artists, the St. Botolph Club, and the Boston Art Club. His first studio was on Irvington Street, where he received students on Saturday afternoons. He then moved to the Harcourt Studios, where the disastrous 1904 fire destroyed much of his lifeís work.
Following the fire, Churchill served on the five-person committee that organized the construction of the new, more spacious Fenway Studios on Ipswich Street, where he enjoyed a corner unit on the top floor of the building until his death. It was in this studio that Churchill painted Woman Reading on a Settee, which shows his talent for portraying light and conveying atmosphere. Like other Boston School painters, Churchillís interior scenes recall Dutch Old Master paintings in their quiet, restrained elegance, streaming light, and studied placement of objects. Churchillís refined brushwork, particularly his graceful handling of the modelís face, bears similarities to that of a younger Boston School painter, William McGregor Paxton.