Oil on artist board, image size 8" x 10"Carle J. Blenner was born in Richmond, Virginia in 1864. He was educated at Marburg, Germany, and graduated from the Yale University Art School.
He studied for six years at the Academie Julien in Paris, under Bouguereau, Robert-Fleury, and Aman-Jean. He first exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1887, at age 23, and for the next three years. His first exhibitions in the United States were in New York, and these commenced around 1889. From the 1890s, he maintained a working studio on 57th Street in New York City for more than 50 years.
Blenner's talent was recognized in the United States early on, as two of his paintings were selected for exhibition at the important 1893 Chicago World's Fair Columbian Exposition. He also exhibited regularly at the National Academy of Design and won their prestigious Hallgarten Prize in 1899. Additionally, Blenner won a medal in Boston in 1891, a medal at the Pan Am Expo in 1901, a medal at the St. Louis Expo in 1904, a medal in Charleston, South Carolina, and won prizes in Springfield, Massachusetts and in New Haven, Connecticut in 1932.
The early years for Blenner were also his most successful commercially, as he was in high demand as a portraitist of the wealthy, titled and famous-- particularly women. His subjects included Lady Hamilton, granddaughter of the Duke of Cambridge; Mrs. Raymond White, Lady Chetwynde; and Madame Nordica, Isabel Irving and Evelyn Nesbitt of the theater. His male portraits were of such personalities as the Duke of Cambridge, the Earl of Yarmouth, Richard Henning and Henry Clay Pierce.
From about 1915, Blenner turned to still-life studies of flowers, and he continued to reap awards for these and other works--the last in 1932. His florals reflect his superb training. However, his own sense of textures and his superior use of pigment in the service of light create not only unlabored representations, but revelations of the flowers' essence.
Blenner was a member of several prominent art clubs and organizations including, the American Federation of Artists, the Greenwich Academy of Fine Arts, the Greenwich Art Association, the New Haven Paint and Clay Club, the Newport Art Association, Rhode Island, the Salmagundi Club, New York City, and the Washington Arts Club, Washington, D.C. His works can be found in the permanent collection of many American Art Museums.
Blenner died in New Haven, Connecticut in 1952.
Written and submitted July 2004 by Brad M. Aron who credits various reference books, including 300 Years of American Art by Michael Zellman, Who Was Who in American Art by Peter Falk, and Mantle Fieldings Dictionary of American Painters, Glenn Opitz, editor.