Mary Coleman Wheeler (1846 - 1920)
Oil on board mounted on panel
4 1/2 x 7 1/2 inches
Signed and dated at lower left: Mary C. Wheeler / 1903
Period gilded oak frame
Mary Colman Wheeler was born in Concord, Massachusetts. She graduated from Concord High School and Abbot Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. She started teaching mathematics and Latin at a Concord public school and moved to Providence in 1868 to teach at a finishing school. She was a friend of the Alcott family and traveled throughout Europe with May Alcott. She studied in Paris from 1876 to 1880 with Jacquesson de la Chevreuse and Raphael Collin. In 1880, a charcoal portrait by her was accepted at the Paris Salon. She taught art classes in Providence, Rhode Island from 1883 to 1920 and spent many summers in France. In Giverny she studied with American Impressionists Frederick Frieseke, Richard Miller, Karl Beuhr, and Guy Rose from circa 1907 to 1912. Frieseke and others rented her leased house when she was stateside (called the "Hameau," situated next door to Monet's home. Student letters document contact with Monet during these visits.) She also studied with Willard Metcalf in Old Lyme, Connecticut in 1905 and 1906.
In 1889, she founded the Wheeler School in Providence, Rhode Island.
Honors include "Officier d'Acadamie" from the French Government, 1911; Honorary Degree from Brown University, 1911; Elected as US Delegate for Congress on Drawing, 1900, 04, and 08, held in London, Paris, and Berne.
Wheeler died on March 10, 1920 after falling on an icy street. She is buried at Author's Ridge in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord.