ILLINOIS HISTORICAL ART PROJECT
Cadurcis Plantagenet Ream (1838-1917) Also known as C. P. Ream
By V. Scott Diamond, Ph.D. © Illinois Historical Art Project
Cadurcis Plantagenet Ream (often renamed by Google and other sources as “Carducius”) was born on May 8, 1838 in Sugar Grove, near Lancaster, Ohio. His family was among the first to settle in Fairfield County, having moved west from Pennsylvania in the last years of the eighteenth century. Ream’s paternal grandfather, Sampson, earned a colorful reputation as a hunter and inventor. According to the Reverend Soloman Ream, a descendant, Sampson once captured a live panther by chasing it into a hollow log and stopping the open end. On another occasion, he killed a second big cat while out foraging with a party of “friendly Indians.” When not hunting, Sampson occupied himself with scientific pursuits. Reverend Ream describes, among other things, how the clever pioneer endeavored to build a moth-proof apiary and a perpetual-motion machine.1
Sampson’s son, Jonas, appears to have shared his father’s intellectual bent. He was born in Fairfield County and as an adult practiced law in Lancaster, the county seat.2 His love of classical learning (tinged perhaps with a little pride) is reflected in the erudite, if not obscure names he gave to his three male children. The eldest, Thaddeus Hector, bore the name of the tragic Trojan hero. Morston Constantine, who like his brother became a well-known painter, was named for the first Christian emperor of Rome. “Cadurcis” probably stems from Book VII of Caesar’s Commentary on the Gaelic Wars. Describing the maneuvers of the Gaelic chief, Vercingetorix, Caesar mentions a Lucterius Cadurcis, “a Cadurcan of great daring,” who led part of the Gaelic army against the Roman invaders.3 “Plantagenet” was the name of the Royal family of England during the high Middle Ages. Together, both names suggest bravery, patriotism and noble lineage; perhaps as important, they also declared the fact of Jonas Ream’s above average education.
Little has come to light regarding Cadurcis P. Ream’s childhood, though existing records show that it was punctuated by tragedy. In 1843, his only sister, Victoria, died at the age of one year. Two years later, his mother, Hannah Phillips Ream, died at age twenty-nine. Shortly afterward, when Ream was ten years old, his father remarried, possibly out of concern for the needs of his three surviving children. Mary Ely, Cadurcis’ stepmother, would give three more children, all girls, to the family during the 1850s.4
Ream attended the public schools of Lancaster, where he undoubtedly received a standard instruction in reading and writing.5 Almost nothing is known of his early artistic inclinations, save for an anecdote recorded by Giselle d’Unger, who wrote that Ream, as a boy, became “so absorbed in his work he lost all track of time and forgot to eat.”6 An entry for Ream in The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography states the artist was self-taught, an assertion which is likely true, at least at the outset of his career.7 With the exception of one or two large cities, there were few opportunities during the antebellum period for aspiring Midwestern artists to study their vocations. Usually the best that could be hoped for was a handful of lessons from an itinerant portraitist or a ready supply of prints to copy. Ream’s early penchant for hard-edged still-life suggests some acquaintance with vernacular commercial art such as signboard or coach painting. Theorem painting, a form of folk art which often took still-life for a subject, may also have been an influence on the young Ream.
The earliest known mention of Ream’s work dates to around 1858 or 1859. At that time, a notice in the Cleveland Leader stated: “C. P. Ream, 20, a young artist, is displaying one of his paintings in the window of R. B. Douglas’ store. The picture represents a marble-topped counter upon which are the two halves of a cocoanut [sic].”8 Ream’s residence during his early career is still a matter of conjecture, although he may have moved from Lancaster to Cleveland during the late 1850s.9 By 1866, the artist was probably living in New York as in that year a large group of fruit and flower still life paintings was sold at auction by Henry H. Leeds & Miner of that city. Ream was twenty-eight years old. The sale included seventy-eight works with such titles as Hat with Plums, Flowers [multiple canvases] and Delaware Grapes.10
Ream’s earliest known recorded images were made around 1870 for the chromolithograph firm of Louis Prang and Company of Boston. Louis Prang had emigrated from Germany following the revolutions of 1848. In 1856, he established a lithography house in the United States. During the Civil War, Prang’s battle maps proved enormously popular, and by the early 1870s, his firm had become a major producer of chromolithograph art prints. Specializing in a printing process which replicated the sheen and texture of oil paintings, Prang supplied countless postwar homes with inexpensive and colorful images based on works by contemporary American artists. Some of the firm’s better-known contributors included Lily Martin Spencer (1822-1902), Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait (1819-1905), Elihu Vedder (1836-1923), and Winslow Homer (1836-1910).11
Ream, later acknowledged as one of the country’s leading painters of fruit still-life, seems from early on to have been one of Prang’s mainstays. Prang’s catalogues of the 1870s regularly listed reproductions of Ream’s paintings under the title of Dessert followed by a series number.12 In 1871, Prang issued a chromolithograph plaque after Ream entitled Dessert III, suggesting that the artist had already sold several works to the Boston firm.13 In 1876, Prang’s catalogue offered four Desserts.14 All of the prints listed by Prang included what were by then the standard components of Ream’s early compositions: ornate compotes, marble-topped tables (often showing a corner only), bottles of wine and various combinations of fruit and sweets. Differing widely from his later, more naturalistic still-life paintings, Ream’s paintings for Prang emphasized luxury goods and evoked the pleasures associated with sampling rare treats. Echoing the elaborate pronk still-life of seventeenth-century Dutch painters such as Abraham van Beyeren and Pieter Claesz, Ream’s work of the 1870s also suggests vanitas themes in its focus on the fleeting nature of worldly delights.15 Like his Dutch predecessors, Ream filled his paintings with overtly transient objects: freshly-picked grapes, chilled ice cream and flowers in full bloom. In a country still reeling from the disaster of civil war, Ream’s compositions spoke subtly of loss and of a nation’s youth cut down in its prime.16
A good example of Ream’s earlier still-life painting is A Regal Dessert (private collection). Although the painting is undated, its similarity to the Prang Desserts points to the mid-1870s. Additionally, the eclectic style of the silver-plated table ware in the painting is also datable to the 1870s or early 1880s. In the center, dominating the composition, is an intricate plated compote with a bail attached for carrying. This compote is filled with cookies and small cakes, neatly arranged for viewer inspection. Resting on a plate behind the compote is an uncut cake, its pristine white icing matching the smooth marble tabletop on which the various components are presented. To the left, a silver plated basket overflows with brightly-wrapped candy and a cluster of purple grapes. Balancing this element on the right is a sugar and creamer set carrying the same vinelike pattern as the two larger silver plate pieces. To the sides of the compote in the foreground are a slice of cake with grapes on the left and a dish containing sugared red raspberries on the right. The latter rests on a yellow silk napkin whose embroidered design is very close to that of the metalwork. At the base of the compote is another bunch of grapes and a piece of yellowish fruit which may be either an orange or a peach.
Ream’s choice of objects in A Regal Dessert is a telling testimony to the social and cultural climate of post Civil-War America. The sheer variety of sweets in Ream’s painting, concentrated and strikingly presented, would have been well received in a society whose senses had been dulled by the violent spectacle of civil war.17 As mentioned, the implied transience of the fruit, seen especially in the withered and plucked grapes on the left, may be related to issues of human mortality - issues which were thrown into high relief during the War. At the same time, the growth of the industrial base and transportation systems, and the rise of department stores and other retail outlets, made luxury goods available on a widespread scale. Silver plated, machine-made tableware such as Ream depicts closely imitated and readily replaced the older handmade items possessed by the elite. Similarly, Prang’s chromolithographs reproduced Ream’s individual paintings and made them available to a broad middle-class audience.18 And while reformers such as William Morris and John Ruskin cried out against the mechanization of art and craft, the greater public saw little distinction between a good piece of plate and solid silver, or an original oil painting and a chromolithograph.
Ream himself seems to have been an active participant in the democratization and dissemination of fine art. As mentioned, the artist seems to have moved to New York City sometime around the mid-1860s. By the early 1870s, he and his brother Morston Constantine had established a studio together in the Union Square district.19 Morston exhibited frequently at the National Academy of Design, while Cadurcis showed his work at the May and December exhibitions of the Brooklyn Art Association. Cadurcis, however, also sent much work back to the Midwest, where it was shown at popular industrial fairs and expositions.20 Arising during the decade following the Civil War, these were grand civic displays whose dual function was to show American industrial and cultural advances and to extend the gospel of progress into the American heartland. The common ancestor of these expositions was the London Crystal Palace exposition of 1851. Their popularity during the 1870s paved the way for the Great United States Centennial Exposition of 1876 in Philadelphia. By the end of the 1870s, regular yearly expositions were being held in most of America’s larger cities, including Chicago, Cincinnati, New Orleans and St. Louis.21
As a Midwesterner himself, Ream may have had a personal commitment to raising artistic standards in this rapidly developing region. He may also have seen its fast-growing cities as potentially rich sources of new patronage. The artist was showing his work in Midwestern expositions well before his permanent move from New York to Chicago in 1878. In 1872, he sent a painting to the Cincinnati Industrial Exposition, and in 1874, he submitted six canvases to Chicago’s Interstate Industrial Exposition, then in its second year.22 In Chicago, Ream’s work seems to have met with particular favor, for after 1874, the artist contributed his paintings nearly every year until the early 1880s.23
Ream’s success in Chicago was due in part to the vigorous growth of cultural institutions in the city following the fire of 1871. In addition to the galleries of the Interstate Industrial Exposition (which occupied a palatial building on Michigan Avenue near the present-day site of the Art Institute of Chicago), several other organizations devoted specifically to the fine arts were founded during the 1870s, including the: Chicago Academy of Design (1869); Metropolitan Club (1873); Vincennes Gallery (1876); Lydian Art Gallery and Club (1878, where his work was featured in a one man show the year of the gallery opening); Calumet Club Gallery (1878) and the Chicago Art League (1879).24 Spurred on by the activity of an emerging group of dealers and collectors, the Chicago art scene was firmly established by 1880. In 1886, historian Alfred Theodore Andreas could report “There are now nearly four hundred artists in Chicago who earn a livelihood by their profession, and probably not less than two thousand students who are earnestly engaged in making themselves proficient in art.”25
During the early 1880s, Ream seems to have made the first of what would be many trips to Europe. The artist probably knew that to achieve national recognition would require at least one visit to the galleries of Europe in order to study the works of Old Masters and leading modern artists of the day. Although no records have yet come to light as to where Ream went, circumstantial evidence points to Munich, which during the 1870s became an important destination for aspiring American artists seeking European training.26 Some of the artists at the Royal Academy in Munich were influenced by the advanced and dynamic techniques of Munich artist Wilhelm Leibl, who was a close friend of popular Academy professor Wilhelm von Diez.27. The Academy in Munich was fast rivaling the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris as a center of modern art, and was attracting an international following of painters and students. The Munich Academy was also known for its methodical program of instruction which contrasted with the more individualistic atelier system in Paris. For Ream, who up to this point had mainly painted still life, the Academy’s ordered and rigorous approach to figure painting might have seemed the more sensible option. Ream may also have known of the Munich-based American circle of fellow Ohioan Frank Duveneck, who along with William Merritt Chase was disseminating the Munich style in the United States. Observing the growing popularity of the Munich School, Ream may also have sought to acquaint himself with its typically loose brushwork and bravura handling of subjects.28
Whether attributable to the Munich School, or as some critics have suggested, to the American Pre-Raphaelite movement of the 1860s and 1870s, there is a marked change in Ream’s style which seems to have occurred during the 1880s.29 The hard-edged and elaborately composed compositions of the 1870s give way to softer contours, less directly artificial arrangements, and a stronger emphasis on light effects. Ream’s best-known painting, Just Gathered (c.1895, Art Institute of Chicago), is a prime example of the shift in the artist’s oeuvre. Unlike A Regal Dessert, Just Gathered takes a seemingly more naturalistic approach to the subject. The canvas depicts several handfuls of purple plums, scattered on a bed of green grass. A ray of sunlight falls from the upper right, illuminating the fruit and emphasizing its tactile qualities. While not as vigorous and freely painted as most Munich-inspired work, Just Gathered may reflect Ream’s European experience in its less tightly-organized composition.
At the same time, the attention given by the artist to the idiosyncratic qualities of each individual piece of fruit recalls the Ruskinian desiderata of the American Pre-Raphaelites. Translating the artistic philosophy of the British art reformer John Ruskin, American artists such as John Henry Hill (1839-1932) and William Trost Richards (1833-1905) created paintings which reveal an intense focus on the observed details of natural objects in their original states. Flowing out of an idealistic search for truth which may also have stemmed from the disillusionment of civil war, American Pre-Raphaelitism was a short-lived phenomenon.30 Just Gathered, with its natural setting and apparent fidelity to the subject, shows Ream’s own concern for issues of truth and beauty as it had developed and changed during the 1880s.
On May 27, 1882, the artist married Maria Gatzmeyer, a Franco-German woman born in Hanover. She was eighteen years old at the time of her marriage and some twenty-six years Ream’s junior. A year after the wedding, the couple’s only child, Cadurcis, Jr., was born.31 Both mother and child seem to have remained permanently in Germany while Ream traveled back and forth between Europe and the United States. Cadurcis, Jr. appears to have passed an uneventful childhood, though like his father, he was inclined toward artistic pursuits. As a young man, he studied music in Berlin and later went on to teach at a conservatory in Hanover. Following World War I and the subsequent collapse of the German economy, Cadurcis, Jr. moved to the United States. He took up residence in a small Kansas town and quietly dropped from sight.32
Ream’s child and young wife were probably the main reasons behind the artist’s peripatetic activity during the 1880s and 1890s.33 Although he was an established artist in Chicago, Ream spent (according to one account) at least three months out of each year in Europe.34 Scattered references indicate that he exhibited in Berlin, Munich, London and possibly Paris as well.35 In 1892 and again in 1898, he showed several fruit pieces in the annual exhibition of the Royal Academy in London.36 A friendly critic writing for the Chicago American noted that Ream’s two entries for 1898 “captivated the judges and visitors” and “remained in England” after the exhibition closed.37 A number of contemporary sources claim that Ream showed his works in the Paris Salon; however, no direct evidence for Ream’s participation in this major annual exhibition has yet been found. It is possible that critics may have confused the well-known Salon with another Paris venue in which the artist may have been exhibiting at the time.
While Ream’s considerable artistic activity in Europe attests to some success there, the greater part of his efforts were expended on the American art scene. In Chicago, besides exhibiting his paintings at the annual Interstate Industrial Expositions, Ream participated in several civic exhibitions during the 1880s, entering his work in the First Annual of the Chicago Art Club in 1883 and in the Calumet Club in 1885. In addition, the artist continued to sell his paintings through a variety of galleries. By 1883, he was represented by O’Brien Art Galleries, with whom he remained for most of the decade. From 1889 on, his work was also carried by the W. Scott Thurber Art Galleries38 as well as the A. H. Abbott and Company Gallery.39
An especially intriguing facet of Ream’s activity in Chicago is his approach to self-marketing. In order to succeed in a city seemingly bursting with new artistic talent, Ream employed several tactics by which to make his name known. At one point during the 1880s, he rented rooms at 106 Dearborn Street and showed his own paintings alongside those of prominent New York artists such as William M. Hart (1823-1894), Jervis McEntee (1828-1891) and Alexander Helwig Wyant (1836-1892). Ream himself was responsible for bringing these artists’ paintings to Chicago, and by doing so he not only called attention to his early experience in America’s art capital, but offered potential customers a wide range of works from which to choose.40
Around the same time, Ream took a leaf from the book of landscape painters Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902) and Thomas Moran (1837-1926), two American artists who excelled at promoting themselves. Working separately during the 1860s and 1870s, the two artists became nationally famous for their series of monumental landscape paintings of the Far West. Termed “great pictures,” Bierstadt and Moran’s canvases were tours-de-force meant to overwhelm viewers by their sheer size and magnificence. Specially lit and accompanied by “Western” props, paintings such as Bierstadt’s Storm in the Rocky Mountains (1863, Metropolitan Museum of Art) served more often than not as dramatic advertisements for their creators.41 Ream’s apparent bid to equal such displays in the still-life category was a painting entitled Wine and Fruit (c. 1889, location unknown), a conspicuously large work which was “the one grand center piece,” as a Chicago critic put it, of Ream’s 1889 solo exhibition at O’Brien’s Art Galleries.42 Priced at a prohibitively high 1,500 dollars, it garnered attention from the press which must have been worth far more to the artist than the sale of the painting.43
The most lucrative of Ream’s self-marketing strategies were the occasional auctions of his own paintings. As the Henry H. Leeds and Miner sale of 1866 indicates, these auctions were arranged by the artist beginning early in his career, when he was living in New York. In Chicago, Ream’s auctions were held in various Wabash Avenue galleries from the end of the 1870s to about 1902. Not all of Ream’s sales have been traced; however, he is known to have sold large groups of paintings at auctions held at: O’Brien’s, Flersheim’s Chicago gallery, located at 186 Wabash Avenue;44 and in the rooms of auctioneer Barker and Severn, at 178 or 184 Wabash Avenue (newspaper accounts vary).45 Although Ream ran a considerable financial risk by putting his paintings on the block, the resulting press coverage was again generous and complimentary.46 By the turn of the century, Ream’s name had been featured in several Chicago newspapers, including the Inter Ocean, Chicago American, Chicago Evening Post and German-language Stadt Zeitung.47
During the mid-1890s, Ream began an association with the Art Institute of Chicago which would mark the high point of his career as an artist. In 1894, his work was accepted for the Art Institute’s Annual Exhibition of American painting. The following year, Ream participated again and was accorded the additional honor of entering work in the Young Fortnightly Competition held at the Institute. Finally, in what seems to have been a mark of particular approval, the Institute gave the artist a special one-man exhibition which opened concurrently with three other exhibitions on December 12, 1895. The multiple openings at the Institute constituted “one of the most brilliant scenes of the season” according to one critic, who also noted that “the four spacious galleries...were flooded with light and crowded with gaily dressed women.”48
A checklist printed for the exhibition reveals that the artist showed mainly the fruit paintings for which he had become famous. To emphasize Ream’s standing, the list indicated several paintings which were owned by prominent collectors, including Joseph Beifield, C. W. Fullerton and capitalist Norman B. Ream. The list also pointed out two paintings, Basket of Strawberries and Plums - on Grass (locations unknown), which had been “reproduced by the National Book and Picture Co.” Additionally, it noted that one important painting, Tin Pail of Plums (c. 1892, location unknown) had been “exhibited at the Royal Academy, London.”49
In 1899, collector Caroline White of Chicago offered Just Gathered to the Art Institute, which in turn accepted the painting for its permanent collection. Ream thus became the first Chicago artist to be represented in the Institute,50 a fact which the local press fixed on in nearly every subsequent discussion of the artist and his work. The Art Institute itself seemed to feel some further action was due on its part, and in May, 1900, it conferred upon Ream the title of associate academician in the Chicago Academy of Design (a body which at that time was completely controlled by the Institute). Only a few months later, in November, 1900, it elevated Ream to the post of full academician.51
By the first decade of the twentieth century, Ream had reached the apogee of his career. His paintings of fruit were almost universally praised and the artist recognized as the leader in his field. Critic Giselle d’Unger, who became Ream’s most vocal panegyrist, proclaimed him “the King of the Fruit Painters,” exclaiming: “men and women love fruit and Mr. Ream paints it as they know it, in perfection.”52 Another critic, discussing Ream’s 1905 exhibition at the Chicago Railway Exchange, went into some detail about the secret of Ream’s success:
“Mr. Ream excels in the painting of the bloom on the peach, and secures splendid effects in some of his pictures where the light falls upon the subject from the back, thus getting a clear lucidity of color impossible to describe. Mr. Ream groups pears, apples, oranges, cherries and peaches in seemingly careless confusion, yet there is a purpose in the clever arrangements of all the canvases which marks the painter as a master in his especial field.”53
Although he achieved the most recognition for his still-life paintings of fruit, Ream was proficient in other genres as well. Critics praised the artist for his sentimental figure and animal studies, as well as his quiet landscapes, which occupied a small, but significant niche in his exhibitions.54 Of the former, Ream won the most fame for his slightly pathetic subjects, including street vendors and African-American types. One painting, The Old Apple Woman of Munich (n.d., location unknown), was singled out by critics as one of the best of his figure paintings.55 Depicting an aged seller of apples, it was so lifelike and appealing (according to Giselle d’Unger) that upon seeing it, “one’s hand involuntarily seeks the coin for purchase.”56 Another painting, entitled Stuck (n.d., location unknown), was also admired for its portrayal of a clever newspaper girl who sheds crocodile tears because she has been seemingly “stuck” with an outdated edition. Critics understood the subject as a mischievous waif playing upon viewer sympathy, and they praised the artist for his insight into human character.57
Ream also painted the occasional portrait, though such work seems to have been relatively rare in his oeuvre. In 1875, the artist entered an untitled portrait in an exhibition at the Brooklyn Art Association.58 Three years later, Ream at one of his early auctions listed a portrait of famous orator Charles Sumner. As late as 1905, the critic for the Chicago Evening Post thought Ream’s portraits worthy of mention and cited several that the artist had painted for the Williams family.59
While the opening years of the twentieth century saw Ream at the height of his career, they also marked the beginning of a precipitous decline in his health. As early as 1902, the Chicago American remarked of the artist: “He is in poor health and thinks of leaving Chicago presently for a warmer climate.”60 The artist’s production began to fall off as well, despite an exhibition at the Railway Exchange in 1905, the Lincoln Center in 1906,61 Marshall Field & Company Galleries in 1908,62 and an important one man show at the Art Institute in 1909.63 These shows were most likely populated with works he had completed years earlier. By 1911, Ream was, according to one observer, “almost deaf and very feeble, so much so that his friends say it is doubtful if he will do very much more painting.”64 About this time or shortly after, Ream developed a paralysis of the right hand and arm, possibly the result of a stroke.65 From about 1912 on, the artist seems to have dropped out of Chicago’s art world, though his works were accepted by juries for the annual Art Institute shows. Undoubtedly these were paintings which Ream had finished years before. Critic Lena M. McCauley noted in March 1913 that the artist, “the venerable painter of fruit, has been lying critically ill at his residence for some weeks.” Ream was by then a highly respected icon of an earlier era, and McCauley continued by saying:
“Mr. Ream belongs to the ranks of the elder painters reverencing drawing and harmony, painting the beauty of fruit with honesty and an appreciation of color and charm to the eye which has not been surpassed by any artist of his day…His personality is a rare one, his presence lending distinction to art receptions, and he is pointed out as a gentleman of the old school, who loves art for its own sake.”66
The Director of the Art Institute, William M. R. French, wrote to Mrs. T[imothy].B. Blackstone about the artist later in 1913, remarking that Ream “is now sadly incapacitated by age and illness.”67 By 1916, the artist had been “in bed for several years” and was too ill even to read his correspondence.68 On June 20, 1917, he died in Chicago.
Ream’s obituary in the Chicago Evening Post was brief and complimentary.69 The artist was buried in Lancaster and almost immediately forgotten; for nearly sixty years, he remained virtually unknown until the resurgence of interest in American still life painting in the late 1960s and 1970s. Today, Ream is still far from a household name, though his paintings are coming to light in increasing numbers. As of this writing, his work may be found in a number of museums, including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, the Chicago Historical Society, the Cheekwood Museum of Art in Nashville, and the Tweed Art Museum in Duluth. In addition, Ream has been featured in several recent catalogues of American still life painting.70
As the attention of art historians turns more toward regional art movements, the careers of painters such as C. P. Ream will emerge with greater clarity. Along with the recovery of their lives and works will come a corresponding appreciation of their importance to American art as a whole. Presently a large gap exists in the history of American still life after the Civil War. William Michael Harnett (1848-1892) and John Frederick Peto (1854-1907) dominate its historiography with their rightly esteemed, though idiosyncratic and unrepresentative trompe-l'oeil compositions. What is less well known is that a host of painters working in the late nineteenth century continued the tradition of still life painting in America begun shortly after the Revolution by members of the Peale family in Philadelphia. Of this large and varied group, Cadurcis Plantagenet Ream well deserves to be hailed as “King.”
1 Elmer Leonidas Denniston, Genealogy of the Stukey, Ream, Grove, Clem, and Denniston Families, (Harrisburg, PA: Elmer Leonidas Denniston, 1939), pp.138-139.
2 Op. cit., Denniston, Genealogy of the Stukey, Ream…, p.139.
3 Julius Caesar, The Conquest of Gaul, translated by S. A. Handford, (New York: Penguin Books, 1982), pp.157-158.
4 Op. cit., Denniston, Genealogy of the Stukey, Ream…, pp.139-140. Mary Ely was a native of Middletown, Connecticut, and was married to Jonas Ream there on September 19, 1848. The couple returned to Ohio shortly afterwards. The children of Jonas and Mary Ream were Florence Ely Ream (born 9/25/1854), Alice Pocahontas Ream (born 6/25/1857), and Mary, for whom no information can be found. Typescript account of the Ream family in the Fairfield County Historical Society, Lancaster, Ohio.
5 “Ream, Carducis [sic] Plantagenet,” National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, (New York: James T. White and Company, 1927), Vol. 17, p.252.
6 Giselle d’Unger, “Cadurcis Plantagenet Ream,” (Chicago: Privately Published, 1909), copy located in Archives of Ryerson Library, Art Institute of Chicago and Illinois Historical Art Project. Esther Sparks provides no source for her note that Ream began painting at the age of ten years. See A Biographical Dictionary of Painters and Sculptors in Illinois: 1808-1945, doctoral dissertation, Northwestern University, 1971, p.569.
7 Op. cit., National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, p.252.
8 “Annals of Cleveland,” Cleveland Leader, undated clipping 5/5/c.1858, item 153, courtesy of library of William H. Gerdts, New York.
9 A conjecture based upon the notice in op. cit., Cleveland Leader, undated clipping 5/5/c.1858. A review of Chicago city directories between 1858 and 1879 shows that Ream cannot be placed in Chicago before about 1878.
10 Catalogue A Choice Collection Of Oil Paintings, The Latest Works of Our Favorite American Artist. C. P. Ream, (New York: Henry H. Leeds & Miner, 1866). The author thanks William H. Gerdts for providing this material.
11 Katharine Morrison McClinton, The Chromolithographs of Louis Prang, (New York: Clarkson N. Potter, Inc., 1973), pp.180-183. See also: Peter C. Marzio, The Democratic Art: Pictures for a 19th-Century America, (Boston: David R. Godine, 1979), pp.94-106.
12 In his catalogues from the 1870s, Prang seems to have listed the same images every year. Ream’s chromo plaque, Dessert, No. 3, of 1871 was listed again in his 1876 catalogue. See op. cit., McClinton, The Chromolithographs of Louis Prang, pp.181, 183.
13 Op. cit., McClinton, The Chromolithographs of Louis Prang, p.183. Judith A. Barter claims that Prang lithographed “at least six” of Ream’s paintings during the 1870s. Judith A. Barter and Lynn E. Springer, Currents of Expansion: Painting in the Midwest, 1820-1940, (St. Louis: St. Louis Art Museum, 1977), p.120.
14 Op. cit., McClinton, The Chromolithographs of Louis Prang, pp.180-181.
15 Estill Curtis Pennington has described Ream’s Fruit and Wine Glass (n.d., The Cheekwood Museum of Art, Nashville, Tennessee) as possessing a “mournful quality reminiscent of certain Victorian memento mori.” See: Estill Curtis Pennington, Gracious Plenty: American Still-Life Art from Southern Collections, (Atlanta: Morris Museum of Art, 1996), p.62.
16 The Civil War may have influenced Ream’s art directly. His older brother, Thaddeus Hector Ream, was wounded at the Battle of Shiloh in 1862; he died two years after being honorably discharged as a result of his wounds. See: Op. cit., Genealogy of the Stukey, Ream…, p.140.
17 A good discussion of the impact of the Civil War on American sensibilities may be found in Lucretia H. Giese, “Harvesting the Civil War: Art in Wartime New York”, in Patricia M. Burnham and Lucretia Hoover Giese, editors, Redefining American History Painting, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), pp.64-81.
18 Later his work was reproduced for broad distribution by National Book & Picture Co.
19 “Ream, Cadurcis Plantagenet/Purple Plums,” unpublished essay in Art Institute of Chicago curatorial files, courtesy of Andrew Walker, Assistant Curator of American Art. It is not clear whether Morston preceded or followed Cadurcis to New York. Frederick Baekeland reports Morston in New York City around 1868, after he had given up a career as a daguerreotypist to pursue painting. Toward the end of his life, Morston left New York and joined his brother in Chicago. He was in Chicago in 1885, and in 1896-1897, he was listed in that city at 558 50th Street. See Frederick Baekeland, Roads Less Traveled: American Paintings, 1833-1935, (Ithaca: Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, 1998), pp.128-129; and Peter H. Falk, The Annual Exhibition Record of the Art Institute of Chicago, 1888-1950, (Madison, CT: Sound View Press, 1990), p.736.
20 Morston Constantine Ream exhibited his paintings at the National Academy of Design almost every year from 1872 to 1883. See Maria Naylor, editor, The National Academy of Design Exhibition Record: 1861-1900, 2 vols., (New York: Kennedy Galleries, 1973), Vol. 2, pp.771-772. C. P. Ream exhibited at the Brooklyn Art Association almost every year between 1872 and 1883. He also exhibited twice at the Massachusetts Charitable Mechanics Institute, in 1874 and 1878. Information courtesy of the Illinois Historical Art Project. See also Clark S. Marlor, A History of the Brooklyn Art Association With an Index of Exhibitions, (New York: J. F. Carr, 1970), p.310. For information regarding Ream’s submissions to the Massachusetts Charitable Mechanics’ Association, the author thanks Rick Purdy, archivist, Massachusetts Charitable Mechanics’ Association, Quincy, Massachusetts.
21 See John D. Kysela, “Sara Hallowell Brings ‘Modern Art’ to the Midwest,” The Art Quarterly, Vol. 27, No. 2, (1964), pp.150-167.
22 Ream’s entry at the Cincinnati Industrial Exposition in 1872 was no. 289 Fruit. The titles of the six works shown in Chicago were no. 77 Fruit, no. 199 Meditation, no. 239 Autumn Fruit, no. 249 Music of the Shell, no. 260 Yellow Peaches, and no. 273 Raspberries. For this information the author thanks Matt Shelton, librarian, Cincinnati Art Museum library.
23 Ream exhibited at the Chicago Expositions in 1874, 1876-1879, 1881, 1882, 1885 and in 1890. Information courtesy of the Illinois Historical Art Project.
24 Information on galleries and clubs courtesy of the Illinois Historical Art Project.
25 Alfred Theodore Andreas, History of Chicago from the Earliest Period to the Present Time, 3 Vols., (Chicago: 1886), Vol. 3, p.419.
26 The checklist of works produced in conjunction with Ream’s 1909 one-man exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago mentions that the artist studied in Munich. In addition, the title of Ream’s best-known genre painting, The Old Apple Woman of Munich (n.d., location unknown), suggests that the artist sketched or painted at least one subject in that city. See also: op. cit., Andreas, History of Chicago…, p.423. 27 Leibl never taught at the Academy, yet he had a strong influence upon the many artists studying in Munich at the time. For a thorough discussion of this subject see: Robert Neuhaus, Unsuspected Genius: The Art and Life of Frank Duveneck, (San Francisco: Bedford Press, 1987).
28 The Academy in Munich was never renowned for still life painting; however, some fine still life was being produced by resident artists such as Austrian Carl Schuch and American William Michael Harnett, who worked in Munich for several years beginning in late 1881. For further information on the Munich Royal Academy see Michael Quick, Munich & American Realism in the 19th Century, (Cincinnati: Cincinnati Art Museum, 1978); Martin F. Krause, Jr., Realities And Impressions: Indiana Artists In Munich 1880-1890, (Indianapolis: Indianapolis Museum of Art, 1985) and George McLaughlin, “Cincinnati Artists of the Munich School,” The American Art Review, Vol. 2, (1881), pp.45-50.
29 Op. cit., Pennington, Gracious Plenty: American Still-Life…, p.62. Pennington has identified Ream with the American Pre-Raphaelite movement.
30 For a complete discussion of the American Pre-Raphaelite movement, see Linda S. Ferber and William H. Gerdts, The New Path: Ruskin and the American Pre-Raphaelites, (Brooklyn: The Brooklyn Museum, Schocken Books, 1985).
31 Op. cit., Genealogy of the Stukey, Ream…, p.140.
32 Op. cit., Genealogy of the Stukey, Ream…, pp.140-141. Cadurcis Plantagenet Ream, Jr. lived in Alexander, Kansas, where he taught music as he had in Germany.
33 He listed a Hanover address in the catalogue of the Fifteenth annual exhibition of the Jacksonville, Illinois Art Association, February 1889. Information courtesy of William H. Gerdts.
34 “Fruit Painting His Chosen Art: C.P. Ream of Chicago Has Won Admiration by Exhibits Abroad,” Chicago American, 2/23/1902, p.5 and “Ream’s Wonderful Work: The Fruit Painter’s Exhibit at the Burt Gallery,” undated article in the Minneapolis Times, quoted in op. cit., Giselle d’Unger, n.p.
35 See for example, “Art and Artists,” Chicago Evening Post, 8/26/1905, p.5, and Exhibition of Paintings by Cadurcis Plantagenet Ream, (Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago, 1909). Another critic stated, “Besides exhibiting in Germany, his success in London reached to the height of showing in the Royal Academy...,” see: Chicago Record-Herald, 8/27/1905 in Art Institute of Chicago scrapbooks, Vol. 21, p.73, column 1.
36 Algernon Graves, The Royal Academy of Art: A Complete Dictionary of Contributors and Their Work from Its Foundation in 1769 to 1904, (London: S.R. Publishers and Kingsmead Reprints, 1970), Vol. 3, p.245. A friendly critic writing for the Chicago American in 1902 said that Ream’s two “recent” entries for 1898 “captivated the judges and visitors” and “remained in England” after the exhibition closed, op. cit., Chicago American, 2/23/1902, p.5.
37 Op. cit., Chicago American, 2/23/1902, p.5.
38 “Art Matters In Chicago,” Chicago Tribune, 10/27/1889, p.27.
39 Information courtesy of the Illinois Historical Art Project.
40 Clipping from unidentified Chicago newspaper, c.1883 or 1889, vertical files, Tweed Art Museum, University of Minnesota, Duluth.
41 For a discussion of Bierstadt’s promotional methods in particular, see Nancy K. Anderson and Linda Ferber, Albert Bierstadt: Art and Enterprise, (Brooklyn: Brooklyn Museum of Art, 1990).
42 “The Fine Arts,” clipping from Chicago Tribune, c.1889, vertical files, Tweed Art Museum, University of Minnesota, Duluth.
43 For example, in “The Fine Arts,” an undated clipping, Chicago Tribune, c.1883, a critic wrote of Wine and Fruit: “…it is very evident that he [Ream] has spent his very best resources of talent and patience to the test (sic) in the production of this remarkable picture.” Clipping contained in vertical files, Tweed Art Museum, Duluth.
44 Chicago Times-Herald, 5/17/1897, in the Art Institute of Chicago scrapbooks, Vol. 8, p.126: “Monday there will be placed on exhibition at Flersheim’s, 186 Wabash avenue, a collection of pictures by C. P. Ream… Mr. Ream’s brother, Marston (sic) Ream, will also contribute a number of landscapes, figure subjects and fruit pieces. The collection will be sold at auction…” See also: “Chicago Art and Artists,” Sunday Inter Ocean, 5/16/1897, p.35 and “Chicago Art and Artists,” Sunday Inter Ocean, 5/23/1897, p.35. “Art,” Sunday Chicago Tribune, 10/30/1898, p.31, noted a recently conducted sale netted $1,136.
45 William Vernon, Chicago American, 2/19/1902 [?], in the Art Institute of Chicago scrapbooks, Vol. 15, p.92, col. 4: “The sale of C. P. Ream’s pictures at 184 Wabash avenue has progressed rather well this week. Thursday and Friday are the last days of the sale, after which Mr. Ream expects to leave for Europe to give his attention to figure painting. If he succeeds in painting the figures with the smoothness of his fruit, Bouguereau will have to look to his laurels.”
46 A Chicago critic addressed the risk when he wrote in op. cit., Chicago Inter Ocean, 5/23/1897, p.35: “Years of effort earnestly directed chiefly toward this end has given them power in fruit painting that approaches the phenomenal. Yet forced sale brought most inadequate returns.” The writer then refers to Ream’s departure for Europe with his brother, which appears to be hyperbole meant to create the impression his works would become unavailable.
47 Clippings from these newspapers which specifically mention Ream may be found in the vertical files of the Tweed Art Museum, University of Minnesota, Duluth.
48 “Four Exhibitions in One: Opening at the Art Institute,” Chicago Times-Herald, 12/13/1895, in the Art Institute of Chicago scrapbooks, vol. 6, p.76.
49 Catalogue of Paintings: The Work of C.P. Ream, on Exhibition at the Art Institute, Chicago, from Dec. 12th to 26th, 1895, (Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago, 1895).
50 Isabel McDougall, “Art and Artists,” Chicago Evening Post, 11/11/1899, p.8: “C. P. Ream is, if memory may be trusted, the first Chicago artist to have a picture included in the permanent collection of the Art Institute. Mrs. White bequeathed to the institute such objects of art in her house which might be considered suitable for museum purposes.” The acquisition of his painting was discussed again in, “Art,” Chicago Tribune, 11/12/1899, p.34: “The Art Institute, according to the provisions of the White bequest, is to receive…art works from the White home as are considered desirable for the permanent collection of the Institute. The Art committee accordingly has selected…a still life of plums by C. P. Ream…[which] represents the best work of the artist.” The work was discussed two years later in a glowing critique in, “Art,” Chicago Tribune, 9/1/1901, p.12.
51 Minutes of the annual meeting of the Chicago Academy of Design, Illinois Historical Art Project Library (courtesy of the Ryerson Library Archives, Art Institute of Chicago), 11/1/1900.
52 Op. cit., Giselle d’Unger, “Cadurcis Plantagenet Ream,” (Chicago: Privately Published, 1909), n.p.
53 Op. cit., Chicago Record-Herald, 8/27/1905 in Art Institute of Chicago Scrapbooks.
54 Op. cit., Giselle d’Unger, “Cadurcis Plantagenet Ream,” (Chicago: Privately Published, 1909), n.p. Also, op. cit., Chicago Evening Post, p.5: “[Ream’s] figure pieces of ideal subjects [i. e. genre paintings] are very interesting and show imagination beyond the ordinary.” For commentary on and an illustration of his landscape work see Stanley Wood, “‘Midsummer,’ Recent Painting by C. P. Ream,” Sunday Inter Ocean, 7/21/1907, Magazine Section, p.10.
55 In addition to d’Unger’s praise of the work, a critic writing for the Chicago Evening Post claimed: “The most important of [Ream’s] figure pieces is a study of an old apple woman peddling her wares. It is half length life-size, the face shrewd and kindly and painted from an intimate knowledge of human nature. Op. cit., 8/26/1905, p.5.
56 Op. cit., Giselle d’Unger, “Cadurcis Plantagenet Ream,” (Chicago: Privately Published, 1909), n.p.
57 Op. cit., Giselle d’Unger, “Cadurcis Plantagenet Ream,” (Chicago: Privately Published, 1909), n.p.
58 This work was listed as no.238, Portrait. The work was for sale at five hundred dollars, suggesting that it was not a private commission. It may well have been the portrait of Charles Sumner which Ream offered for sale in 1878 at Barker and Company, auctioneers. See op. cit., Marlor, A History of the Brooklyn Art Association…, p.310.
59 Op. cit., Chicago Evening Post, 8/26/1905, p.5.
60 Op. cit., Chicago American, 2/23/1902, p.5.
61 Chicago Sunday Record-Herald, 3/18/1906 in Art Institute of Chicago Scrapbooks, vol. 22, col. 1, p.5. The exhibition was under the auspices of the Arché Club. [Issues of this Sunday paper were not microfilmed by the Chicago Public Library and could not be located elsewhere].
62 Lena M. McCauley, “Art and Artists,” Chicago Evening Post, 1/11/1908, p.6.
63 One critic, presumably Maude I. G. Oliver, commented that his work was outdated by the time of the exhibition, stating that it belonged to a “former generation.” She added, “By this one need not infer that any disparagement is implied. The fact that it is no longer the vogue to produce realistically detailed paintings does not militate against the dignity of such works per se. See: Chicago Record-Herald, 12/19/1909 in Art Institute of Chicago scrapbooks, vol. 25, p.146. The Inter Ocean commented on his exhibit by saying “most of the Ream pictures are small, and are esteemed by artists as full of excellent color work and fine detail.” See: “Paintings by Americans Exhibited at Art Institute,” 12/19/1909, p.7.
64 “C.P. Ream, Famous Painter of Fruit, Narrowly Escapes Death,” clipping from unidentified Chicago or Minneapolis newspaper, c.1911-12, vertical files, Tweed Art Museum, University of Minnesota, Duluth. The clipping reports that Ream was struck by an automobile and severely cut on the scalp. It goes on to state that “Owing to his deafness and infirmities he has been a particular mark for reckless automobile drivers, this being the third time he has been run down.”
65 Letter to Frank A. Werner from Ada L. Stewart, Commission for the Encouragement of Local Art, Ryerson Library Archives, Art Institute of Chicago, 11/28/1916.
66 Lena M. McCauley, “Art and Artists,” Chicago Evening Post, 3/13/1913, p.8.
67 Letter to Mrs. T. B. Blackstone from William M. R. French, French letter archives, Ryerson Library, Art Institute of Chicago, 8/11/1913.
68 Op. cit., Stewart to Werner, 11/28/1916.
69 Lena M. McCauley, “Cadurcis P. Ream, Fruit Painter, Is Dead. Veteran Chicago Artist Was Known Thruout (sic) World for His Canvases,” Chicago Evening Post, 6/21/1917, p.5.
70 Ream’s work appears most recently in Susan Danly and Bruce Weber, For Beauty and for Truth: The William and Abigail Gerdts Collection of American Still Life, (Amherst, MA: Mead Art Museum; and New York: Berry-Hill Galleries, 1998).