Paul Dougherty

(Brooklyn, New York, 1877 - 1947, Palm Springs, California)


Famed seascape artist, Paul Dougherty, initially trained as a lawyer at the urging of his father, who was himself a prominent lawyer in New York City. After passing the bar exam, Dougherty decided to enroll in classes at the Art Students League. In 1900 Dougherty traveled to Europe on a “grand tour,” visiting museums and painting in London, Paris, Munich, Florence, and Venice. In 1901 the prestigious Paris Salon accepted one of his paintings.

Shortly after his return from Europe in 1904, Dougherty began to paint seascapes depicting the coast of Maine. These lively marine works caught the eye of famed art dealer, William Macbeth, leading to a solo exhibition at Macbeth Gallery in 1905. He was elected to the Society of American Artists and the National Academy of Design the same year. Critics praised Dougherty’s ability to capture a sense of the frenetic energy of the sea, with one critic declaring he was a “virile optimal” and that “life was worth living in his outdoor pictures.” Through a combination of on-site studies and carefully-planned compositions, which were often composites of multiple sites, Dougherty was able to preserve some of the immediacy of a freshly-observed sketch in the final polished artwork.

Dougherty spent many summers painting in St. Ives, England, on the Cornish coast in the 1910s, and lived in Paris during the 1920s. He spent the last twenty years of his life painting the West Coast in Carmel, California.

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