Illustration from Exhibition of Paints by Abbott H. Thayer (1919)
Abbott Handerson Thayer
Date: American painter, 1849–1921
Biography: Thayer is best known for his ethereal paintings of angels, women, and children. Born to a prominent Boston family, Thayer moved to Brooklyn at age 18 to study at the Brooklyn Art School and the National Academy of Design. He met his wife Kate Bloede and lifelong friend Daniel Chester French and exhibited at the Society of American Artists. He relocated to Paris, where he studied at the École des Beaux-Arts with Henri Lehmann and Jean-Léon Gérôme for four years. Upon his return, Thayer opened a portrait studio and became a leader in the New York art world of the 1880s and 1890s. Thayer taught privately, taking apprentices and considering instruction vital to his own work. In 1901, Thayer left New York and settled in Dublin, New Hampshire, among a thriving colony of artists, writers, and scientists. Thayer was a commited amateur naturalist and bird lover, and he was fascinated with how the color and pattern of animals allows them to hide from predators.