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Ellen Day Hale (1855-1940) was one of the hundreds of women who trained as an artist in Boston and France in the last quarter of the nineteenth century. She studied in Boston with William Rimmer in 1873 and at the Museum School with William Morris Hunt and Helen Knowlton from 1874-1877. She also trained at the Pennsylvania Academy in 1878 and 1879, and in 1881 studied in France at the studio of Carolus-Duran, who taught John Singer Sargent among others, and then at the Académie Julian.
In the 1890s Hale traveled to Giverny to learn from the Impressionist master Claude Monet. Her colors became lighter and her style more impressionistic. Mount Chocorua is clearly impressionistic, reflecting the artist’s interpretation of the newly prevailing style in France. Her vertical format places more emphasis on the water, which enables her to concentrate on blues and violets. Hale submitted Mount Chocorua to the 1885 Salon in Paris, but while another of her paintings was accepted, it was not. When displayed two years later in Boston, a local reviewer praised it as “refreshingly unconventional and lifelike.” After returning from France in the mid-1890s, she and her companion, Philadelphia artist Gabrielle de Veaux Clements, were among the founders of the popular artist colony at Folly Cove on Cape Ann in Massachusetts.
Hale’s father was author and minister Edward Everett Hale. Her brother Philip and sister-in-law Lilian Westcott Hale were successful artists. There are many powerful and creative women in her family, including her great-aunts Harriet Beecher Stowe and Catharine Beecher and her first cousin, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, the author of the landmark feminist novel The Yellow Wallpaper.
Mount Chocorua will be on display at the Eustis Estate beginning this February. It is one of many works of art on view in the house. Visitors will have an opportunity to see more paintings from Historic New England’s extensive collection when the exhibition Artful Stories: Paintings from Historic New England opens in May.