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Lyme Art Colony
(July 21, 1873–October 2, 1959)
In Lyme: 1919-1959
Charles Ebert moved from New York to Greenwich around 1900 and thereafter made Connecticut his home. While in Greenwich, Ebert studied under John Twachtman and stayed seasonally at the Holley House, where he was introduced to Julian Alden Weir and Childe Hassam. Under their influence, especially that of Twachtman, Ebert painted the local countryside, experimenting with bold brushwork and unusual atmospheric effects.
In 1903, Ebert married another of Twachtman’s pupils, Mary Roberts, and in 1919 the couple moved to Old Lyme. By this time the art colony had long since made its conversion to Impressionism, and its importance as a center of American art was already diminishing. While in Old Lyme, both the Eberts regularly exhibited at the Lyme Art Association.
Beginning in 1909, the Eberts spent most of their summers on Monhegan Island, off the coast of Maine, meeting there at times other Old Lyme Impressionists, including Walter Griffin and Frank Bicknell. The rocky seacoast engulfed in mist and dotted with fisherman’s huts, especially suited Charles Ebert’s interest in capturing brilliant color, picturesque scenery, and fleeting atmospheric conditions.
Ebert’s early art training began in1892-93 at the Art Academy of Cincinnati. He then spent a year in New York at the Art Students League and moved in 1894 to Paris, where he studied at the Academie Julian under Benjamin Constant and Jean-Paul Laurens. Upon his return to the United States in 1896, Ebert opened a studio in New York City and tried to earn a living as a freelance illustrator. He eventually landed a full-time position as political cartoonist for Life magazine. Mary Roberts Ebert, whose own finances were secure, persuade her husband to abandon illustration in order to devote his full attention to painting.
Ebert first exhibited at the National Academy of Design in 1907. Following this recognition, his paintings were included in exhibitions at such major museums as the Art Institute of Chicago, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and the Carnegie Institute. Additionally, Ebert was awarded a bronze medal at the Buenos Aires Exposition of 1910 and a silver medal at the San Francisco Panama-Pacific Exposition in 1915. He was a member of the Lyme Art Association, Salmagundi Club, and Allied Art Association, and he was founder of the Greenwich Art Society. A retrospective exhibition of his work was organized by the Lyman Allyn Museum, New London, in 1979.
Charles H. Ebert 1873-1959. Exh. cat., Lyman Allyn Museum, 1979.
Raynor, Vivien, "Rediscovering an Impressionist." New York Times, November 4,1979, Sec. 2, p. 20.
Three American Impressionists: From Paris to Old Lyme; Lucien Abrams, George Burr, Charles Ebert. Exh. cat., A. M. Adler Fine Art, Inc., New York City, 1978.