Elizabeth Wentworth Roberts (1871 - 1927)
Figures on the Sand, Annisquam, 1915
Oil on canvas
15 x 18 inches
Monogrammed and dated at lower right: ERW 1915
Period Arts & Crafts frame
Newport Art Museum and Art Association, Remembering the Ladies: Women and the Art Association of Newport, June 11 – October 16, 2011, Illus. p. 21.
Elizabeth Wentworth Roberts was born into a wealthy family in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and first studied painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. After winning the Mary Smith prize in 1889, she went to Paris to study at the Academie Julian. Life abroad proved so appealing that she continued to live in Europe for the next ten years.
Upon returning to the United States in 1898, Roberts split her time between New York and Concord, Massachusetts, though she typically spent summers in Cape Ann. Roberts exhibited widely throughout the United States, including at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Corcoran Gallery, and the Society of American Artists. She had a solo exhibition in Detroit in 1909 and was given regular solo shows at Doll and Richards in Boston.
Beyond her active life as a painter, Roberts was also an arts organizer. She co-founded the Concord Art Association with fellow Concord residents Daniel Chester French and Mary Abbot. In charge of the contemporary arts exhibitions, Roberts organized a show including works by John Singer Sargent, Robert Henri and Claude Monet. She also hired the woman architect Lois Howe to renovate the Jonathan Ball house in Concord to furnish the Association with a permanent home.
Although Roberts had a flourishing career, she suffered from depression, which worsened to the point of requiring hospitalization in 1925. Doctors told her to give up painting, a thought Roberts found so awful that she hung herself in 1927.
Source: Erica Hirshler, A Studio of Her Own, p. 193