Agnes Millen Richmond (1870 - 1964)
Woman with a Parasol, Gloucester, Massachusetts, c. 1920
Oil on canvas
20 x 24 inches
Signed at lower right: Agnes M. Richmond
Inscribed on stretcher on reverse: 120 East 59th, New York
Period Arts & Crafts frame
Private collection, Rhode Island
Agnes Richmond was born in Alton, Illinois, and studied painting at the St. Louis School of Fine Arts. By 1888 she had moved to New York and was taking classes at the Art Students League. There she studied with the American Impressionist masters John Henry Twachtman in 1901 and with Walter Appleton Clark and Kenyon Cox in 1902 and 1903. Richmond began teaching classes herself from 1910 to 1914 and was known for both her assured draftsmanship and her painterly brushwork in a heightened palette. While Richmond was able to suggest the dissolution of form with her brushwork, the forms always had a solid physical presence.
Richmond and her husband Winthrop Tunney spent many summers in the artist’s colony in Gloucester, Massachusetts. There, they were part of a close-knit circle of artists including John Sloan, Stuart Davis, and Charles and Alice Winter known as the Red Cottage Group (Judith Curtis, Rocky Neck Art Colony 1850–1950 (2008), 81). Richmond and her colleagues often went on paintings jaunts together, painting local scenes in a palette that deliberately contrasted vibrant elements with tonal notes (ibid, 73). Woman with a Parasol exemplifies this coloristic approach, as the bright emerald green trim of the woman’s parasol and the turquoise waters beyond are balanced by the neutral grays and brown of the rocks in the foreground.
The figure’s modern attire of a loose white top and jaunty knotted shawl are suggestive of the liberating woman’s fash- ions of the 1920s. The address of 120 East 59th Street written on the stretcher of the painting also helps date the present painting. Richmond is recorded as having lived there until 1924, when she moved across the bridge to Brooklyn.
Richmond had a significant exhibition record and won numerous prizes, including the Watrous Figure Prize in 1911. Richmond served on the selection and award jury committees alongside Bessie Potter Vonnoh and Cecilia Beaux. She exhibited at the Corcoran Gallery biennials in 1914 and 1919, at the Pan-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco in 1915, and exhibited frequently with the National Association of Women Artists. She also exhibited over a span of years at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and at the Society of Independent Artists, amongst many other national exhibition venues. Her work was the subject of an exhibition at the Jeffrey Alan Gallery in New York in 1981.