Original antique painting of a native American Indian woman braiding her daughters hair. Gouache on paper signed lower right L. C. Perry. Presented in the original antique frame.
Born in Boston, Lilla Cabot Perry was a key person, along with Mary Cassatt, in bringing French Impressionism* to the United States from France. "For many years, she lectured, wrote, and encouraged American patronage of the style." (Dunn, 16) She was also the artist most closely involved with the Guild of Boston Artists*, which opened its galleries in 1914 to promote accomplished painters and sculptors. She served on the board as the first secretary and worked hard to cultivate persons for financial backing.
Pery had prominent Boston social credentials that included the Cabot and Lowell families. Her father was a distinguished surgeon; and her husband's great uncle, Commodore Matthew Perry, opened Japan to the world in 1853.
In 1874, she married Professor Thomas Sergeant Perry, a professor of 18th-century literature, and their home became a gathering place for many Boston intellectuals including Henry James, William Dean Howells, and her brother-in-law, painter John LaFarge.
She had elite private schooling and began her art studies with Robert Vonnoh and Dennis Bunker at the Cowles School in Boston. Having first traveled to Europe with her family in 1887, she studied in France privately with Alfred Stevens and at the Julian* and Colarossi* Academies. She also exhibited at the salons and expositions and in 1889, attended Claude Monet's exhibition, "Impressions", which "was a revelation for Perry, who decided to take up residence in Giverny." (Dunn, 16)
In 1889, Perry and Cecilia Beaux visited Claude Monet at Giverny*, France, and she was highly intrigued with his painting. He, who never took pupils, did give Perry advice and encouraged her to put down on canvas her first impression, saying that was the truest and most pure expression.
Between 1889 and 1909, she and her husband spent ten summer seasons in Giverny, where they lived next door to Monet and became close friends. Perry recorded interviews with Monet, who seemed very fond of her, and the result was Perry's book, published in 1927, Reminiscences of Claude Monet. She also successfully encouraged her wealthy friends to purchase Monet's paintings.
In 1889, she returned to Boston with one of Monet's paintings, Etretat, one of the first Impressionist works to appear in that area, and she was surprised that no one was very taken with the painting. Several years later, she gave lectures on Monet to the Boston Art Students Association.
In 1898, her husband, accepted a college teaching position in Tokyo, Japan as chair of English Literature, and living there until 1901, she painted the landscape and the people, completing more than eighty paintings. Of this period in her life, art historian William Gerdts wrote: "Lilla Perry was one of the most significant of the American painters who went to Japan in the late 19th century; . . . of all the Americans to work there, Perry's work is the least traditional and is the most indebted to the Impressionist aesthetic, and some of her Japanese scenes are, in color and brushwork, extremely close to Monet." (97)
In her later years, she lived in the upper class Back Bay area of Boston, and spent her summers in Hancock, New Hampshire. Lilla was a founder and first Secretary of the Guild of Boston Artists.
Much of her painting of that period was for her own enjoyment and focused on activities of upper class women, with her daughters frequently serving as the models. She seldom did any preliminary sketching, and pastel was a favorite medium.