Critcher, Catharine Carter – American Artist

An oil on canvas on board portrait of an indian by Catherine Critcher

p4A ItemID B199305
Oil on canvas painting by Catharine Carter Critcher, American, Indian Mystic, signed Catharine Critcher, lower center

p4A ItemID D9714165

Catharine Carter Critcher (American, 1868 to 1964)

Born in Westmoreland County, Virginia in 1868, Catharine Critcher received her formal training at New York’s Cooper Union School as well as the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, D.C. By 1900 she began a successful career painting society portraits of elite Virginians. Like many artist’s of her generation, Critcher eventually traveled to Paris to attend courses at the Academie Julian in 1904. While in Paris, Critcher developed and managed the “Cours Critcher,” a class for English speaking art students. In 1909, she accepted a teaching position at the Corcoran that she held for the next decade until she opened up her own art studio in Washington, D.C. on St. Matthew’s Alley.

She co-founded the Critcher-Hill School of Art in 1922 and the summer vacations gave Critcher took the opportunity to visit Taos. During one of her visits, she wrote to Corcoran director, Powell Minnigerode: “Taos is unlike any place God ever made, I believe and therein is charm and no place could be more conducive to work ‘there are models galore and no phones.’ The artists all live there in attractive funny little adobe houses away from the world …” (Van Vechten-Lineberry Taos Art Museum Newsletter, vol. I, no. II, Spring 1996, p. 4).

Critcher retuned to Taos during most of the summers of the 1920s and on July 19, 1924 was unanimously elected to the Taos Society of Artists. She wrote Minnigerode: “You will be pleased, I know, to hear that a letter just rec’d from Mr. Couse informs me that I have been unanimously elected to active membership in the Taos Society of Artists. It is nice to be the first and only woman in it. I am feeling very good about it” (Newsletter, 1996, p. 4). Over the course of the 1920s and 1930s, Critcher exhibited her Taos paintings at venues across the country, including the Corcoran and the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh.

Information courtesy of Sotheby’s, December 2008.

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