Pauline Dohn Rudolph (1866-1935) © Illinois Historical Art Project
Palette Club founders Standing L to R: Ida Haskell, Alice Kellogg Tyler, Pauline Dohn; Center Marie Koupal Lusk; Seated L to R: unknown; Caroline Dupee Wade
In 1896, the Chicago Tribune wrote that the cultivation of art in Chicago depended greatly upon the pioneering women artists, and some of the best in the city were the ladies. The paper explained that in the late nineteenth-century commercial city, art had to be “courted, cajoled, treated.” As it was, those who possessed cultivation, artistic desire, and some leisure time were women, not men who were busy with competitive trade affairs. The reporter surmised it would take at least two generations more to turn Chicago into an art center even though there were many girl students at the Art Institute of Chicago. Artists were born of need, then cultivated, and could not be timid in the discouraging surroundings.
Pauline Dohn (later Rudolph) attempted to succeed as an artist in such an environment. The Graphic, however, attributed her passion for art to her nature, and not simply a result of the artistic fervor in the Chicago air at the end of the nineteenth century.
Pauline, sometimes affectionately called Lena, was born in Chicago in 1866 to Adolf W. and Pauline Dohn. They lived in a wealthier part of town, the 19th ward. She was the older of two daughters; her sister Mary A. born in Illinois in 1869. Coming from a creative home, Pauline revealed her artistic ability early in life and it was said of her in womanhood that she was “one of those exceptional women of whom no one ever breathed a disapproving word.” Undoubtedly he realized Pauline possessed unusual artistic talent, and gave her drawing lessons at home. Adolf, office manager of the Steinway Piano company, was a prominent figure in the Chicago musical circles and possessed unusual musical talent himself. He was the founder of the Apollo Club and its first conductor. According to the one source Mrs. Dohn made the home a hospitable place and the “favorite resort of the leading artists and musicians of the city.” Pauline came from a home that valued and encouraged creativity.
“Small and delicately formed with drab blonde hair and clear deep [blue] eyes,” she was also bright having graduated from high school at the age of fifteen. Promptly thereafter in 1880 she began a thorough course of art training at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts, later to be renamed in 1882 the Art Institute of Chicago. Not unlike many aspiring young Chicago artists, she owed much to the head instructor Henry Fenton Spread (1844-1890), studying with him for three years. Upon finishing the term in June 1881, she won first prize (tuition for half a term) for outline studies from the antique. She was listed in a catalogue as attending the 1882-1883 school year, however Spread was not among the faculty for the school year 1883-1884, nor 1884-1885, and it appears that may have prompted Pauline to later seek instruction elsewhere.
In 1882 several women banded together to form the Bohemian Art Club; Pauline was the club’s first treasurer. The club was founded in the studio of Marie Koupal Lusk (1862-1929), who was Bohemian by birth and after whose lineage the play on words was taken. It was renamed the Palette Club in 1888 because of its increased dignity and importance and a feeling the name “Bohemian” was misleading. The group was strictly for female artists, men had their own groups. Membership required passing an examination and submittal of works to a committee to decide upon the artist’s merit. They would discuss art often in the studio of Ida Burgess (c.1858-1934) and later created a series of annual exhibitions in 1883 that would continue through 1895. Most of the ladies were former students of the old Academy and some were teachers, so it is easy to understand why the Art Institute lent them space for the first exhibition. Pauline exhibited in every show except thrice when she was traveling abroad.
Involvement with the Bohemian Art Club brought her to the center of the art world in Chicago. By exhibiting with the club, her work began to capture the attention of newspaper critics, even if at first for only brief mentions. At the first annual exhibition she showed Blowing Bubbles (location unknown), a painting of a country boy seated on a table with a pipe and “rainbow-tinted” suds. A exclaimed the painting’s accessories were excellent while Dohn portrayed the figure with clearness and strength.
She enrolled in the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1884, and studied through 1886, with two very well known and popular academic painters Thomas Pollock Anshutz (1851-1912) and Thomas Eakins (1844-1916). At the Academy, her training was not confined to sketching draped models, but included time in the dissecting room, a favorite place to learn of both her teachers; becoming “thoroughly familiarized” with the structure of the human body. She was an indefatigable student reportedly studying the countryside for two years to better grasp nature in her painting. She considered that time and effort profitable in her “preparatory efforts.” In between studies in Philadelphia, she remained active with her art club back home, showing Railway Terminus (location unknown), a scene across Lake Michigan, at the 1885 annual. Her work was also accepted at the one of the most prestigious exhibition venues of the day, the Inter-State Industrial Exposition in 1886. While held in Chicago on the lake front in the building of the same name, the annual exhibition had a national reach. She also showed at the St. Louis Art Museum that year.
It was only natural for her to seek training abroad as she aspired, like most artists of her day, to a reputation through association with acknowledged masters. Hence after she returned to Chicago from the east coast, she departed for two years of study in Europe in 1887.
Pauline preferred to study in Paris during the colder months and then apply her skills summering in Holland. She studied in Paris at the Académie Julian with Gustave Clarence Radolphe Boulanger, and Jules-Joseph Lefèbvre. Charles Lazar was particularly known for taking women students who were not admitted to the male only government run École des Beaux-Arts. She wrote of Lazar in an 1887 letter to her father explaining among other things, how Lasar aided her growth as a great portraitist by attending to details,
“He is the queerest little man you ever saw, so earnest and enthusiastic, although the King’s English is simply nowhere when lie gets hold of It; but he is a rough diamond and a sort of second Tommy Anshutz. for what he knows he does know... When I commenced my studies and was told to see everything by comparison, to draw character and know the whys and wherefores of everything, I used to go along the street studying nose, for instance….by-and-by I got so I could tell almost at a glance what were the characteristics of everybody that came along, and whenever I did not know why my attention had been arrested I would go back and walk past the person again until I had found out…”
She continued to speak of how Lasar “raked her over the coals” for the way she saw, mixed and applied color. He made her recognize that the way she learned to think and work was a process which would carry her craft forward.
While in Europe, Pauline shared her excitement with friends and no doubt benefited from their support. In 1888 she and fellow Bohemian Art Club member Alice Kellogg [later Tyler] (1862-1900) had work accepted at the annual Paris Salon Société des Artistes Français. Alice recorded in a letter home that Pauline had also done “an oil head of a little Italian model” which was “very sincerely and faithfully painted and got No. 3 [honorable mention] —which is great considering that it is an oil—and so more of an attempt.”
As a woman from a family of some means she took the opportunity to travel visiting England, Germany, and Italy. According to one report, she worked hard during the winters in Paris, but was partial to northern Holland. During the summer, she found the dikes and ditches artistic subject matter and caught the “misty charm” of its atmosphere through her outdoor painting. Art Institute professor John Henry Vanderpoel (1857-1911) had also studied with Henry Fenton Spread and was in Paris at the same time as Pauline. Before returning home she traveled with Alice Kellogg and Vanderpoel through Holland. The country was to inform her work the remainder of her career.
An intelligent woman, Pauline later reflected on this first foray to Europe and why her study experiences were so beneficial:
“Many American students go to Paris and make the terrible mistake of sticking so closely to their school work from morning to night and week to week that they have to go home with the most superficial idea of the Louvre, to say nothing of the fine modern pictures that are to be seen in the innumerable exhibitions, missing the very thing they go to Europe for.”
She clearly drew meaning from what she observed. However, nothing in Europe really compared to her homeland and she never lost sight of her Midwestern roots. “I like Europe, but I like to do my work at home….There are such good opportunities here in Chicago and I like to study and paint my own land and my own people. Alice Kellogg noted an important change in her close friend writing, “she was delightful, I never saw a girl blossom out more charmingly than she has…”
Once back home in Chicago, she focused on studio work, and involvement with the newly re-named Palette Club, which held its sixth annual exhibition in 1888 in the galleries of the Chicago Society of Artists on Wabash Avenue. Pauline’s work had reached such a degree of quality that the one newspaper made mention of it before other artists claiming her work was “not merely clever or by chance successful,” but that her hand was “remarkably firm” and her color sense “intuitive.” Recognized as having studied abroad for some time, the article went on to call the four works she exhibited as representing the “highest technique on the walls.” One portrait was a composition of “brilliancy and effectiveness” while in a another of a child’s head—a work selected for the 1888 Salon—conveyed “reserved strength” and “promises” of yet “greater performances” by Dohn in the future.
The club evolved over the next few years, its numbers grew, the exhibitions gained in recognition, and its changed name lent an air of professionalism. A number of the members had been students at the Art Institute, many earning significant student honors. By 1895 one periodical state the organization was “famous throughout the country,” not only because it was the first group of organized women artists, but also because of the “strength of its work.” While initially the club had met at private studios, by 1888, members were meeting on Saturdays at the Art Institute of Chicago, in order to examine and critique one another’s work. On alternate Saturdays, the artists sketched and composed their pictures. During the summer months, many of the artists went on sketching excursions to places like Saint Joseph, Michigan and Ottawa, Illinois. There surely existed a social air at the member gatherings and the public receptions, usually attended by large crowds, but the club’s main purpose was also serious. Pauline no doubt built friendships among the membership that included Lusk, Annie Weaver Jones (c.1862-after 1911) with whom she shared a studio and would later travel with through Wisconsin, Enella Benedict (1858-1942), and Ida Burgess.. She undoubtedly received support from her talented colleagues.
When the Palette Club opened the spring season of 1889 with a show in the galleries of the Chicago Society of Artists, the pictures numbered 140. The club’s president Mrs. Sarah Van Doren Shaw (1844-1918) received first notice by the Chicago Herald, but the critic identified Dohn’s Tete d’enfant (location unknown), a careful study shown at the 1888 Salon, as the “most pretentious” of efforts. The critic also recognized her Portrait of a Lady as “well-posed and drawn” while her Sketch in Venice “caught the local tone of color.” This Chicago newspaper was depicting the work by Pauline as consistently having a unique edge that many other artists seemed to lack.
At the 1890 annual show, among much decorative painting, her work of again caught the attention of the press. The Tribune called her portraiture “faithful work.” Her portrait of a lady especially stood out as “the most ambitious work of the exhibition” and the “best sustained one.” The portrait possessed taste, refinement in arrangement, well-painted textures, and an overall attractiveness in a pictorial sense. The work evidently demanded “the place of honor” on the north wall. Of her other composition, a mother and child, the press wrote Pauline had shown the same cleverness and in some respects was technically betters, but it was not as striking. Pauline was part of the enthusiastic and energetic Palette Club, but The Graphic described her as having “enthusiasm enough in art for two or three ordinary individuals.” Pauline also displayed her paintings at galleries, such as Stevens, and in her own studio.
One of the Palette Club members, Annie Weaver Jones, was also one of Pauline’s closest friends. At one time they shared a studio at 24 Adams Street and held receptions at their “flower-decked dual studio” through which “passed a long train of society.” They would display a variety of work in oils, water colors, and sketches—often the results of their summer work. At one reception on display was Pauline’s “charming canvas” of a country boy in full light without shadow was reminiscent of the impressionists without being imitative. Also shown was The Lady in Gray (location unknown), a work later shown at the Interstate Industrial Exposition in Chicago. One of Pauline’s strongest works, A Letter from the Fatherland (location unknown) depicted lowly “German” life. She originally sketched the scene while in while in Burlington, Wisconsin, a small town that retained much of the manner and custom of the old country. Described as a conception full of dignity and simplicity, the arrangement of low tones and light made the effect brilliant. According to the Chicago Evening Post, Pauline painted it for exhibition at the National Academy of Design in New York. Supposedly, she had not shown the work other than at her studio, but when framers were packing it, a wealthy art connoisseur spotted it and paid Pauline $300 for it. The piece was exhibited at the eighth annual Palette Club show, again to great praise. The Chicago Tribune described the work, as a young girl in a pink dress reading a letter to an attentively-listening old woman as “feelingly treated and possessing many excellent technical qualities,” and went on to say that she and Ida Haskell (1861-1932) dominated the show with the best works. The Chicago Times called Fatherland “one of the gems of the exhibition,” as well as “natural and artistic in treatment.” Alice Kellogg and Pauline were on the jury of admission for the exhibition.
According to the Chicago press, Pauline accomplished what other artists did not. She not only “contributed many paintings” to exhibitions, like those sponsored by the Palette Club, but she demonstrated a truthfulness of character and “genuine inspiration.” The press also considered Pauline’s work successful because she did not remain idle, but progressed by turning her attention more to color. She exhibited many times with the Palette Club and her work came to define what its members attempted to do in elevating the standard of women’s art to that of men’s. In 1891, the Chicago Times claimed Pauline’s Washing Day in the South (location unknown) as “one of the most characteristic in the exhibition.”
Then in the fall of 1891, the Art Institute held the fourth annual exhibition of American oil paintings. The collection had a number of strong pictures from American artists in Paris. Eastern painters were also well-represented, but the local artists were in the minority, as usual. At that time, the Chicago Evening Post reported Pauline’s What the Storks Brought (location unknown), which she recently had completed, was the best she had “yet achieved.” The painting showed a mother seated with the newborn child on her knee and two little girls peering closely. Other members of the press stated that if no other local artist had contributed a painting to exhibition, Pauline’s work would have “sustained the credit of Chicago artists” and the same critic considered it “beautiful in composition,” the drawing “admirable,” “full of the poetic.” The painting would prove to bring Pauline much recognition as one of Chicago’s favored artists. The Chicago Evening Post proclaimed the work “beyond praise,” and the best she had yet produced in a career that was already filled with glory, strongly reminiscent of Josef Israels (1824-1911).
Teaching soon became an important part of her career. Many artists sought positions at the School of the Art Institute as a way to supplement and stabilize their income. For the winter term beginning early in 1891 she was offered a post to teach drawing from the antique and conducting the Saturday classes. She replaced Lydia Purdy Hess (Lowrie) (1866-1936), who had left school for studies abroad. Pauline would teach at the school for the next twelve years. Arts for America later said she was “one of the favorite teachers at the Art Institute”
Pauline received brief mentions for works at the ninth annual exhibition of the Palette Club in 1892. In one case a critic wrote that she stood “in pleasing prominence” among the sixty-three members of the club’s organization, that she had possessed “growing powerl” and had an innate ability, or drive, to lift her “standard a step higher.” The critic believed that Pauline had great talent and that she was still capable of doing even better things and there was an accepted belief among critics that a great future lay ahead for the young artist. She was in fact the club’s president between 1892-93. According to The Graphic, the Spring exhibition of the 1892 Palette Club had a well-balanced number of landscapes, figures, and flowers and applauded the club’s decision to not emphasize the size of work, attributing its success to “studious work” that was achieved by those “alive to the possibilities and opportunities of modern art.”
Pauline relentlessly exhibited at almost every exhibition in the city for several years and perhaps became best known for her work What the Storks Brought. The work won her more than local distinction and she was not hesitant to re-exhibit it. The Palette Club proved to be a successful avenue through which artists showed and sold their works.
The Chicago Evening Post reported she had just commenced work on a frieze entitled Industrial Art, for the women’s reception room of the Illinois Building at upcoming World’s Columbian Exposition. Ida Burgess had been given charge of decoration Women’s Reception Room and Library of Illinois State Building, and Pauline was one of a number of female artists who assisted Burgess with twelve panels to be painted on canvas and then fitted to the walls after completion. Nine of the panels were of figures illustrating women’s role in the arts and industries and three of the twelve were illustrated in the Inter Ocean and Chicago Tribune, including Pauline’s. The fact that she was known to be a good colorist, but neither profuse nor grandiose in her use of color, may have resulted in her selection for the mural panel. She held her work together with a sense of design and was technically careful and conscientious. In the panel, the children were nude where the women spinning and designing were brightly clothed. Critics also viewed Pauline’s work as having an underlying “intellectual motive.” Her fundamental idea of art was realism similar to that of Courbet, with “an unusual truthfulness of minutia” and “a fearless breadth of handling.”. Presumably, Pauline was around for the opening of the fair as the Palette Club had an extensive exhibition their sponsored by the Women’s Exposition Board; but she was reported to once again go abroad in June 1893. Once again in Paris, she studied with Gustave Courtois at the Academie Colarossi. Her return was documented on September 18, 1894, at the age of twenty-eight, when she arrived from Antwerp, Belgium at Ellis Island. Since she was abroad, she was on leave of absence for the Art Institute during the 1893-94 school year. She returned for the 1894-95 school year to resume teaching a course in antique and composition. Pauline continued to teach life and antique classes at the Art Institute until the end of the school year in 1902.
“Chicago Lady Artists,” Chicago Tribune, 7/4/1886, p.21.
“Art and Artists,” The Graphic, Vol. 6, No. 18, 4/30/1892, p.326.
1870 Census, Series M593, Roll 211, “Inhabitants in 19th Ward, in the County of Cook, State of Illinois,” 6/6/1870, Page No. 37, record 234, Lines 22-26. Pauline’s mother was born in New York in 1833. According to “A.W. Dohn, Apollo Club’s Old Director, Expires,” Chicago Daily Tribune, 2/27/1901, p.3, Adolf was born in 1836, having come to America in 1853 and Chicago in 1862.
“A Tribute,” Winnetka Talk, 7/5/1934.
“Firmness Of Truth: Chief Characteristic Of Miss Pauline Dohn’s Paintings,” Newspaper clipping, unknown publication, c.12/30/1898, IHAP Library. This and several other clippings came from the artist’s great niece, many undated or unspecified as to publication.
Obit for Paulina Dohn, 1/15/1901, Chicago Tribune, p.8. Adolf Dohn organized the Mendelssohn Society, a chorus of male voices, and also started the Chicago Musical Union. Op. cit., Chicago Tribune, 2/27/1901, p.3.
Op. cit., “Firmness Of Truth…,” c.12/30/1898.
Op. cit., “Firmness Of Truth…,” c.12/30/1898. Op. cit., The Graphic, 4/30/1892, p.326 said she graduated at age thirteen.
Op. cit., Winnetka Talk, 7/5/1934, and “With Chicago’s Artists: Splendid Exhibition Soon to be Given by the Palette Club,” Sunday Chicago Times, 3/6/1892, p.4. The Chicago Academy of Fine Arts School Circular, Art Institute of Chicago Archives, Ryerson Library.
“Academy Of Fine Arts,” Chicago Tribune, 11/23/1879, p.8.
Op. cit., “Firmness Of Truth…,” c.12/30/1898. She studied as well as with J. Roy Robertson (?-after 1891).
Director William M.R. French School Records, Box 20, Folder 1880/81, handwritten notes. Art Institute of Chicago, Ryerson Library. “Students in Art,” Chicago Tribune, 6/29/1881, p.6.
Prospectus and Catalogue of the Schools of the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts 1882-1883, “Names of Pupils,” (Chicago: Chicago Academy of Fine Arts, 1882), p.10, in AIC Scrapbooks, vol. 1.
The Art Institute of Chicago: School Circular For The Season 1883-1884.
The Art Institute of Chicago: School Circular For The Season 1884-1885.
“Art And Artists,” Daily Inter Ocean, 12/23/1882, p.9.
“A Lady Who Is Prominent Among Chicago Artists,” unknown newspaper [handwritten “Name of Paper Missing”], Art Institute of Chicago Scrapbooks, 1891, vol. 5, p.42; “Art and Artists,” Graphic, 2/20/1892, p.136; “The Palette Club: Old Friends Under a New Name Give a Pleasing Art Reception,” unknown newspaper, IHAP Library, 4/3/1889.
Op. cit., “The Palette Club: Old Friends…,” newspaper unknown, 4/3/1889.
See for example, Bohemian Art Club First Annual Exhibition, (Chicago: Bohemian Art Club, 4/3/1883). IHAP Library.
The IHAP library has most of the original catalogs, copies of others, and newspaper clippings announcing the exhibitions.
“Symphonies in Color,” Chicago Times, 4/8/1883, p.15. According to the catalogue, she set a price of $50.00 for Blowing Bubbles. She also showed Little Emigrant and Robin and Bluejay (both unlocated). Bohemian Art Club First Annual Exhibition, (Chicago: Bohemian Art Club, 4/3/1883).
Op. cit., The Graphic, Vol. 6, 4/30/1892, p.326 and op. cit., Sunday Chicago Times, 3/6/1892, p.4. Cheryl Leibold, Archivist for the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, verified registration.
Op. cit., “Firmness Of Truth…,” c.12/30/1898. Eakins was well known for his detailed study of cadavers for anatomically correct drawing.
Op. cit., “Firmness Of Truth…,” c.12/30/1898.
“For Art-Lovers, The Bohemian-Club Exhibition,” Chicago Tribune, 5/3/1885, p.28.
Art Catalogue of the Inter-State Industrial Exposition Chicago, 14th Annual Exhibition, (Chicago: Inter-State Industrial Exposition Board, 9/1/1886), catalogue entry #13. Chicago History, Spring 1987, Vol. 16, No. 1 is used to illustrate the front cover.
Records at the museum are incomplete. In various biographical entries she noted exhibiting there from 1886 to 1890; the last year is confirmed by the catalogue of the St. Louis Art Museum, Exhibition of Paintings by American Artists.
Op. cit., “Firmness Of Truth…,” c.12/30/1898. Op. cit., The Graphic, 4/30/1892, p.326.
“Women,” Chicago Journal, 12/30/1898, p.4, and Harriet Hayden Hayes, “Some Chicago Studios,” National Magazine, (Boston), Vol. 6, July 1897, p.355.
Op. cit., The Graphic, 4/30/1892, p.326. While she speaks of studying at the Julian, no record has been found and her name does not appear in Catherine Fehrer, The Julian Academy Paris 1868-1939, (New York: Shepherd Gallery, Spring 1989). Op. cit., Hayes, National Magazine, (Boston), July 1897, p.355.
Letter to A. W. Dohn, published in “Art,” Chicago Tribune, 1/1/1888, p.15.
Letter from Alice Kellogg to family home in Chicago, #80, Tyler Papers, microfilm, frame 939, 4/3/1888, from Paris.
She exhibited a painting entitled Sketch in Venice, with the Palette Club. “An Exhibit By Chicago Artists: Work Of The Palette Club,” Chicago Herald, 4/7/1889, IHAP Library. That she traveled to all three countries is recounted in op. cit., The Graphic, 4/30/1892, p.326.
Op. cit., Chicago Journal, 12/30/1898, p.4.
Op. cit., The Graphic, 4/30/1892, p.326. Op. cit., Chicago Journal, 12/30/1898, p.4.
For further details on Vanderpoel see the essay on his life at www.illinoisart.org. Letter to Fay Little from Annette Stott, 11/3/1989, Little Archives, referencing letters of Alice Kellogg in Archives of American Art. Also, portrait of a child dated “Rijsoord ’88,” in Little collection.
Op. cit., The Graphic, 4/30/1892, p.326.
“Notes On Current Art,” Chicago Chronicle, 2/4/1901, p.7.
Letter from Alice Kellogg to Kate Kellogg, #70, 2/19/1888. Tyler Papers, mircrofilm, frame 929, Ryerson Library, Art Institute of Chicago.
“With the Palette Club: The Ladies Exhibit Artistic Work With the Brush,” Chicago Tribune, 4/3/1889, p.6.
Op. cit., Chicago Tribune, 4/3/1889, p.6.
The Arts, Vol. 6 , No. 4, December 1895, p. 181. Other reviewers however were not as kind. One commented: “and though I hesitate to admit it is sadly in need of a little masculine vigor and vitality.” “Chicago Letter, “ The Critic, Vol. 24, 12/21/1895, p.433.
Op. cit., Chicago Tribune, 4/3/1889, p.6.
Op. cit., Chicago Tribune, 4/3/1889, p.6.
“Vending Cheap Art,” Chicago Evening Post, 12/12/1890, p.3 and series of newspaper clippings, unknown sources, date inferred from several facts, Fall 1890, IHAP Library. “Art And Artists,” The Graphic, 5/2/1892, p.344. Her studio in 1897 was featured in op. cit., Hayes, National Magazine, July 1897, p.353. She traveled with fellow artist Annie Weaver Jones. “Art Notes,” The Graphic, 6/13/1891, p.383. “The Fine Arts,” Chicago Tribune, 10/4/1891, p.32.
Benedict was a student and teacher at the Art Institute of Chicago and also associated with Jane Addams’ Hull House.
Burgess was in charge of interior mural designs for the women’s building at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition held in Chicago. “By Rush And Chisel,” Chicago Tribune, 11/27/1892, p.33; “By Illinois Women,” Chicago Tribune, 4/16/1893, p.1; “Task For Fair Hand,” Chicago Tribune, 10/29/1892; “Art and Artists,” The Graphic, No. 14, 10/1/1892, p.239; “Notes Of Artists And Ateliers,” Chicago Evening Post, 4/14/1893, p.4; A. Blanche Nichols, “The Illinois Reception-Room,” Current Literature, Vol. XIV, No. 2, October 1893, p.179.
“An Exhibit By Chicago Artists: Work Of The Palette Club,” Chicago Herald, 4/7/1889, p.27.
Op. cit., Chicago Herald, 4/7/1889, p.27.
Both paintings unlocated.
“Showing the Pictures,” Chicago Tribune, 4/3/1890, p.3.
THIS WAS WRONG
THIS WAS WRONG
Op. cit., The Graphic, 4/30/1892, p. 326.
See for example, “Vending Cheap Art,” Chicago Evening Post, 12/12/1890, p.3.
Series of newspaper clippings, unknown newspapers, date inferred from several facts, fall 1890, IHAP Library.
Catalogue of the Paintings Exhibited by the Inter-State Industrial Exposition of Chicago. Eighteenth Annual Exhibition, (Chicago: Inter-State Industrial Exposition Board, 1890).
It is more likely that this work was done in Holland, the word “vater” easily being confused with the two languages.
Op. cit., series of newspaper clippings, fall 1890, IHAP Library.
“Choice Art Studios,” Chicago Evening Post, 10/30/1890, p.7.
“Pictures That Attract Attention,” 4/25/1891, p.1.
“Art and Artists,” Chicago Times, 4/26/1891, p. 30.
 “Art and Artists,” Chicago Times, 4/26/1891, p. 30.
“Work of the Women: Chicago Palette Club’s Display,” Sunday Chicago Herald, 4/26/1891, p.33.
Op. cit., Sunday Chicago Herald, 4/26/1891, p.33.
“Art and Artists,” Chicago Times, 5/3/1891, p.14.
“Hung On the Walls, The Art Institute Exhibition,” Chicago Daily (Morning) News, 10/26/1891, p.3.
“A. Dwight Beecher,” Chicago Evening Post, 10/9/1891, p.5.
Op. cit., Chicago Daily (Morning) News, 10/26/1891, p.3.
Op. cit., Chicago Evening Post, 10/9/1891, p.5.
Blanche M. Howard, “Society of Western Artists,” Arts for America, Vol. 7, No. 7, March 1898, pp.406-407.
Op. cit., Sunday Chicago Times, 3/6/1892, p.4.
Maude Elliot, editor, Art and Handicraft in the Woman’s Building of the World’s Columbian Exposition. Report of the Illinois Woman’s Exposition Board. Section of the Fine Arts, (Paris & New York: Goupil & Co., 1893), p.47.
“The Palette Club,” The Graphic, 4/30/1892, p.324.
It was later shown at the National Academy of Design annual, “Two Salons of New York,” New York Times, 5/1/1892, p.17, and again at the Palette Club in December 1892. “In the Artists’ Atelier,” Chicago Times, 12/4/1892, p.5. “Reception of the Palette Club,” Chicago Tribune, 12/2/1892, p.3. The piece sold to a prominent patron, Mrs. Allerton, as reported in “Knows All Bout Art,” Chicago Times, 12/25/1892, p.5. In fact her successful Salon painting was shown again at the Palette Club. She had no hesitation re-exhibiting her successful pieces. “Notes Of Art And Artists,” Chicago Evening Post, 12/11/1892, p.13.
“The Week Among The Artists,” Chicago Evening Post, 12/18/1892, p.13; “Task For Fair Hand,” Chicago Tribune, AIC Scrapbooks, Vol. 5, p.113; “By Illinois Women,” Chicago Tribune, 4/16/1893, p.39; “Notes Of Artists And Ateliers,” Chicago Evening Post, 4/14/1893, p.4.
An installation photograph along with a list of the contributors is found in op. cit., Elliot, Art and Handicraft…, 1893, pp.136-137.
“Among The Studios,” Sunday Inter Ocean, 4/23/1893, p.33. Op. cit., Chicago Tribune, 4/16/1893, p.1. See also, op. cit., Chicago Tribune, 10/29/1892; “Art and Artists,” The Graphic, No. 14, 10/1/1892, p.239. These panels were later transferred to the Friday Club Room at the Newberry Library, Chicago.
“Women’s Work in the Fine Arts,” The Art Amateur, Vol. 29, No. 2, 1893, p.35.
Op. cit., Sunday Chicago Times, 3/6/1892, p.4.
The entire exhibition may be found in op. cit., Elliot, Art and Handicraft …,, 1893, pp.47-72.
“The Fine Arts,” Chicago Tribune, 6/11/1893, p.27.
“Americans Registered at Paris,” Chicago Tribune, 10/20/1893, p.5.
“About Art and Artists,” Chicago Evening Post, 10/19/1894, p.7.
Ellis Island web-site.
The Art Institute of Chicago School of Drawing, Painting, Sculpture, Designing, Architecture, Circular of Instruction for 1893-94, (Chicago: Knight, Leonard & Co. Printers, 1893), p.5.
The Art Institute of Chicago School of Drawing, Painting, Sculpture, Designing, Architecture, Circular of Instruction for 1894-95, p.7. Op. cit., Chicago Evening Post, 10/19/1894, p.7.
Art Institute of Chicago Circular, 1895-96, p.5; 1896-97, p.6; 1897-98, p.7; 1898-99, p.7; 1899-1900, p.7; 1900-01, p.7; and 1901-02, p.9.
She evidently had used her time abroad to the best advantage because in the spring of 1895 Pauline, who by then was “well known in Chicago art circles,” won the Charles Tyson Yerkes prize of $300 for a portrait of her sister at the well-attended seventh exhibition of the Chicago Society of Artists at the Athenaeum Building where Pauline once held a studio. Pauline had been on the jury with men from the Cosmopolitan Club and the Society. Critic Lucie Van Nevar said the portrait “is a striking one, and the texture of painting exquisite. Black chiffon over yellow silk is not easy for any artist to paint but Miss Dohn has done it perfectly.”
In order to receive the Yerkes prize, the artists of the Society met in the room of sculptor Lorado Taft (1860-1936) at the Atheneum Building to judge more than one hundred. Before the voting and announcement of prizes, the topic of discussion in the art world was who might be the winners. Formidable names mentioned included John Henry Vanderpoel (1857-1911), Charles Edward Boutwood (?-after 1917), and Alice Kellogg [Tyler]. Vanderpoel, instructor of painting at the School of the Art Institute, presided over the vote as to who should receive the honor and money. When the artists announced their decision that both prizes went to women artists, a “loud, gallant, and artistic cheer” went up, indicating the group considered Pauline a deserving recipient. Alice Kellogg Tyler’s portrait of a man was also a “strong picture,” but no one in the room of voters knew who it portrayed. Miss Kellogg, a good friend of Pauline’s, took second place. After the award the Chicago Tribune reported a general air of satisfaction as to the selected winners. For the first time, women took both the first and second awards, however, there was no question as to the merit of their works since Pauline and Alice had long been recognized as among the best artists in the city. They simply had surpassed their former efforts. One reporter wrote that her picture was so “well modeled, well posed, well lighted, free from conventionalities, strong—so strong….” that is was “hard to believe it was painted by a woman,” Pauline probably considered the remark well-intended in her era, and did not receive it as patronizing. In fact, critics thought in order for the men who painted landscapes, figures, or marines to have a prize come their way, they had to paint better. Pauline’s painting was then shown at the seventh annual exhibit of the Chicago Society of artists and then loaned to the Art Institute for display in “regal surroundings” during the summer.
Within days of the award departed for an earlier planed trip to Holland for the summer where she was the guest of Gari Melchers (1860-1932), the Detroit artist who was then in Holland, and George Hitchcock (1850-1913), who came to spend the better part of his career there. At that time both Hitchcock (who took on students) and Melchers (who participated with Hitchcock but didn’t take students on a formal basis) were working and teaching in Egmond. Pauline had a productive summer bringing back several works and having four accepted at the Eighth Annual Exhibition of American Paintings and Sculpture at the Art Institute. One report said she had “done the best work of her life” that summer and that she and Melchers had shared the same model for one of their respective pieces. Hitchcock, who was known for depicting Dutch villages filled with fields of flowers, had a positive influence on Pauline as one painting she showed depicted a “delicious field of poppies.” Melchers in fact had considerable stature evidenced by the fact that he sent instructions on how his paintings were to exactly be hung.
While in Europe, Pauline visited the Prado in Madrid. An article she wrote on the masterpieces indicates she was not only an artist, but an art critic as well. She found the gallery in Madrid “a pleasant place to work” since, unlike at the Louvre in Paris, sight seers did not “torment” artists who came to copy masterpieces. She raved about Rubens and Van Dyck, but it was the work of Velasquez that captured her attention. She claimed he was not really known until actually seen. In attempting to speculate why Velasquez over the others epitomized the true artist, she implied what she also sought to accomplish in her painting. She wrote,
“Although he painted two hundred and fifty years ago, he did what every man of the nineteenth century is trying to do. He appeals to one in a more human and personal way than any other of the old masters. His works are not classic nor conventional like the Italian. He is perfectly fresh and original every time he touches canvas….He is a thorough impressionist in the true sense of the word. His colors have kept their freshness and have little of the yellow tone that most old paintings have, but are full of the pinks and greys [sic], as he put them in….His people are the people you see walking about the streets today, with their life and character to perfection….
She returned to Chicago in time for the opening of the fall season. Copyist, portraitist, landscapist, painter of flowers, Pauline was quite versatile. The following month she was hired for a bit of commercial work. The Chicago Evening Post was publishing a “Woman’s Edition” on November 1st for the benefit of the Maternity Hospital. Presumably the edition would be sold with proceeds donated to the organization. Posters had become somewhat of a rage in the form of artistic advertisement. Several posters had months earlier been displayed in Chicago sponsored by the Evening Post and highlighting some of the current European work, including that of soon to be famous Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Percival Poliard followed this success with another smaller exhibit held at the Siegel, Cooper, and Co. building. This time several American efforts were included to the delight of critics. Pauline’s poster of mother and child was one of those highlighted in the press. Her design of a mother and child and one local critic effused “the poster is one of the most artistic which has yet appeared in this country.” The entire edition was to be printed on high quality paper to attract collectors. As the art progressed, “Poster girls,” became the terminology for practitioners. Although their specialty was usually in some other line of art rather than advertisement, many women artists developed poster art to a high standard. Pauline was grouped among these artists, although only one poster design has been documented from her hand.
In December 1895, the Palette Club, now correctly noted as the oldest among all art organizations in Chicago, occupied two galleries at the Art Institute where some 2,000 people were expected to visit the four exhibitions held simultaneously in the museum, and to witness the Club’s best ever showing. Still, Lucy Monroe of The Critic declared that the organization, which excluded men, appeared to need some “masculine vigor and virility” in their works. Monroe claimed there were exceptions, and mentioned both Pauline’s and Alice Kellogg Tyler’s work in the same breath. Pauline exhibited seven pictures, several of which had earlier been shown at the important Society of American Artists exhibit in New York, “all worthy of praise.” Again, Pauline did not hesitate to show her most favorable works over and over to wide praise. It was in that time an accepted form of self promotion; the critics never drew tired of delighting in the results of a second showing.
Exhibits gave Pauline the exposure necessary to sell her work and acquire commissions for she participated in “nearly all the exhibitions in the city” attracting considerable attention and favorable comment. For instance, in January 1896, she was busy at work on a large, decorative landscape commissioned for the Charles Roberts house remodeled by Frank Lloyd Wright in Oak Park. When she selected the October theme with “cornstalks against a mellow sky, golden pumpkins in the brown grass, baskets of red apples under autumn-tinted trees,” she had taken into consideration the staircase landing of warm olive, sienna, and yellow colors where the picture eventually was to hang.
Not restricting herself oils, Pauline proved herself adept in other mediums. In March, she took first prize of $100 for her watercolor entitled Hold Still (location unknown), at the highly successful Arché Club salon in Chicago. Critic Lucie Van Nevar suggested first and second prizes should have been reversed with Jules Guerin. However, the works differed in many respects beyond the subject matter. No doubt Pauline’s subject matter of a mother Dutch mother dressing her daughter was popular with audiences. Guerin’s picture, on the other hand, had an overall sad tone of poverty and old age as it showed a peasant woman and road through the dunes.
Artists commonly sought to establish relationships among other artists in a communal fashion. The Palette Club was a primary example of such banding together. Summer travel was another way for artists to congregate, socialize and work together. The Palette Club had generally taken trips for a few weeks in the summer to a variety of nearby locales. In the summer of 1896, Pauline sought the cooler climate of Canada, but abandoned it after a short period for the artist’s colony of Annisquam, at the mouth of the Annisquam River in Gloucester on Massachusetts’ Cape Ann  It is possible she was drawn there by Charles Edward Boutwood, a building mate at the Lambert Tree Studios in Chicago and also a frequent visitor to Burlington and Delavan, Wisconsin, somewhere Pauline used to travel with the Palette Club women. There she reportedly had done nothing in terms of her art, however. Instead, she had “a good time,” touring and also visited Washington and Boston, particularly to see the recently installed Puvis de Chavannes murals in the Boston Public Library. She commented extensively as well on the design and furnishings of the new facility.
When Pauline joined several Chicago artists who moved into the newly built Lambert Tree Studios on the north side of town, she became part of the most renown art colony in Chicago. These artists decided a good way to promote their works would be an exhibition and open house of the residents. The artists not only hoped to sell their works, but also to create a permanent display in the building. The excited press called the exhibit the first of its kind, hardly true, but it helped establish an art “quarter” in midst of a bustling commercial district. Inside, Pauline’s studio guests discovered walls hung with burlap, which in turn were covered with photographs of foreign masterpieces. There were “bits of peasant ware from France and Holland” and “her quaintly wrought brass utensils gleaming out from unexpected corners.” On the floor were soft-tone rugs and everywhere there were fascinating pieces of furniture or bric-a-brac, each which held its own story. According to the Chicago Times-Herald, her paintings Pietje’s Dinner and Willo-o’-the-Wisp (locations unknown) most attracted visitors. For over one hundred years after its construction the building was home to a thriving community of artists. In the end it was subject to the economics of the developer.
That December, Pauline and other artists worked toward a joint exhibition of the Palette Club, the Chicago Society of Artists, and the Cosmopolitan Art Club to be held in January 1897. This ground-breaking event brought the three competing art clubs together into their first joint show. The Illinois Historical Art Project has documented the amalgamation of the three clubs into one exhibiting venue at the Art Institute. This combining of interests among the clubs resulted in the first annual show of artists of Chicago and vicinity, soon to become the most important show in Chicago. However, the Chicago Times-Herald reported Pauline was working on a number of “absorbing subjects” which, unfortunately, would not be ready for any upcoming show. The timing of this first new annual exhibition at the Art Institute conflicted with the second annual salon of the West End Women’s Club. Evidently Pauline must have felt the latter exhibit held more promise for her as she showed nothing at the Art Institute show. She was rewarded handsomely for her choice as once again she showed What the Storks Brought, which brought her first prize for the best painting in oil, $100, at “one of the best exhibitions of the season.” No doubt her other works at the show contributed to the overall praise for her work and awarding of the prize. While she surely appreciated the monetary award, there was considerable honor that the jury chose her work over all others. Even though there were complaints the painting was not a recently completed work and had been exhibited extensively previously, the jurists considered it worthy to receive the award. Pauline was recognized from this as well as other opinion as “one of Chicago’s most accomplished artists.”
Working out of doors had always appealed to Pauline. No doubt her country scenes appealed to Chicagoans. In the summer of 1897, she traveled to rural Wisconsin where she “had the run of a convent emptied of its pupils in summer, a horse and buggy at command, and an unusual number of models.” She also painted subject matter found in the midst of the city. On one occasion, the Chicago Evening Post rather humorously reported that Pauline had the “largest sitter in the city” for she was painting a portrait of the Lincoln Park elephant. While monkeys supposedly crowded to the near-end of their cage to watch the artist work, guards ordered other spectators to move along. Throughout the warm months of 1897, she remained active. Critic Isabel McDougall chanced to visit her studio at the close of summer. The writer declared Pauline’s large painting of a woman sitting under a tree, The Seeker (Schwartz Collection) a very important piece. What drew McDougall to the picture was not a pretty or young face, but the countenance of the subject. She likened the care-work expression to the work of Dagnan-Bouveret and even to Donatello’s bronze saint in the Padua Church. The piece carried a sub-title “I sent my soul through the Invisible.” The thought provoking and deeply profound sub-title was taken from The Rubiayat by Omar Khayyam, written around 1120:
“I sent my soul through the invisible, some letter of that afterlife to spell; and by and by my soul returned to me, and answered, ‘I myself am Heaven and Hell.’”
The Seeker became her next monumental painting. The subject was a noble woman with deep saddened eyes, looking past the viewer in a thoughtful trance, into an unknown space or journey of the spirit. Like her earlier piece What the Storks Brought, it was widely shown to audiences that required passage by a jury; Carnegie International in Pittsburgh, 1897; Society of American Artists in New York, 1898; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts annual, 1898; Art Institute of Chicago annual exhibit of Chicago artists, 1899, and the Society of Western Artists annual, 1900-1901.  It was probably best described as a “model of repose and majestic patience.” In 1901, critic James William Pattison wrote in the Sunday Inter Ocean that The Seeker was “poetical” and reminiscent of one of Bastien Le Page’s peasant figures.
While building a solid national reputation Pauline came to be relied upon as a voice of reasoned judgment and was actively sought for participation in juries and hanging committees; on one document occasion to her own detriment. At the annual American artists show for the Art Institute in 1897 she removed one of her own paintings from the most desired eye level (“on the line”) so that a wall would to her seem more harmonious. Not willing to sacrifice the overall special effect of the arrangement, she removed her The Pink Sun Bonnet (location unknown) to the next tier. In general, there was considerable preparation made by the selection and hanging committees who considered merit, style, and relation to other works, or as the Chicago Inter Ocean called it, bringing “order out of chaos.” Probably the greatest tribute to her acumen as a member of the jury was selection to be on the Chicago section for the World’s Fair in Nashville in 1897, and later American fair in Omaha in 1899.
“Fair Sex Win Prizes: Women Secure the Charles T. Yerkes Art Trophies,” Chicago Tribune, 5/30/1895, p.8.
“Current Talk of the Artists,” Chicago Tribune, 6/30/1895, p.29. At this writing the painting was in possession of the artist’s great niece.
Lucie Van Nevar, “In The Art World,” Sunday Inter Ocean, Vol. XXIV, No. 56, 5/19/1895, Part 4, p.31.
Op. cit., Sunday Inter Ocean, 5/19/1895, p.31. The piece was illustrated in “About Art And Artists,” Chicago Evening Post, 5/24/1895, p.5.
Op. cit., Chicago Tribune, 5/30/1895, p.8.
Op. cit., Sunday Inter Ocean, 5/19/1895, p.31.
Op. cit., Chicago Tribune, 5/30/1895, p.8.
“With the Artists: Miss Dohn to Go to Holland,” Chicago Tribune, 6/2/1895, p.34. “About Art and Artists,” Chicago Evening Post, 5/31/1895, p.5.
Op. cit., Chicago Tribune, 5/30/1895, p.8.
Op. cit., Chicago Tribune, 6/2/1895, p.34.
“Gossip Of The Art World,” Sunday Chicago Tribune, 5/19/1895, p.34. Op. cit., Sunday Chicago Tribune, 6/30/1895, p.29.
Op. cit., Chicago Evening Post, 5/31/1895, p.5.
Op. cit., Chicago Tribune, 6/2/1895, p.34.
For in-depth discussion of Hitchcock and Melchers activities in Egmond see: Annette Stott, American Painters Who Worked in the Netherlands, 1880-1914, “III. The Egmond School,” Doctoral dissertation, Boston: Boston University, 1986, pp.140-177.
“Art And The Artists,” Chicago Evening Post, 10/12/1895, p.10.
Isabel McDougall, “Gossip About Art And Artists,” Chicago Evening Post, 10/19/1895, p.3, and “Good Work Is Shown, Chicago Evening Post, 10/26/1895, p.10.
Op. cit., Chicago Evening Post, 10/12/1895, p.10, and op. cit., Chicago Evening Post, 10/19/1895, p.3.
P. A. D., “An American Girl at Madrid,” Newspaper clipping, source unknown, by inference 1895, IHAP Library.
“Art in Chicago,” Chicago Tribune, 10/6/1895, p.38.
“At the Poster Show,” Chicago Evening Post, 12/14/1895, p. 7.
Op. cit., Chicago Evening Post, 12/14/1895, p. 7.
“Beautiful Design By Young Artist,” unknown newspaper, October 1895, no date, surmised from article, IHAP Library.
“Our Clever Poster Girls and Their Picturesque Work,” May 1899, Art Institute of Chicago Scrapbooks, Vol. 11, pp. 6-7.
Lucy Monroe, The Critic, 12/21/1895, Vol. 24, p. 433. “Art And Artists,” Chicago Tribune, 12/8/1895, p.31. “New Work by Artists, Four Exhibits Open to the Public This Evening,” Chicago Tribune, 12/12/1895, p.3.
“In the Art Studio,” Chicago Tribune, 12/15/1895, p.44.
Extensive criticism that highlights the multiple venues where her work was shown include: Lucie Van Nevar, “Echoes from the Studios,” Sunday Inter Ocean, 12/15/1895, p. 31; “Chicago Women in Art: Some are Winning Fame,” Chicago Times-Herald, 2/12/1899, p.21; “Good Work Is Shown,” Chicago Evening Post, 10/26/1895, p.10, and “The Society of Western Artists,” Brush and Pencil, Vol. 3, December 1898, p.161.
Op. cit., Chicago Times-Herald, 2/12/1899, p.21.
The painting is illustrated in Yukio Futagawa and Bruce B. Pfeiffer, editors, Frank Lloyd Wright Monograph 1887-1901, (Tokyo: A. D. A. Edita, 1986), p.90.
Isabel McDougall, “Art And The Artists,” Chicago Evening Post, 1/11/1896, p.10.
“The Exhibitions of the Week and General Art Gossip,” New York Times, 3/1/1896, p. 10. The piece was illustrated “Arche Club Awards,” Chicago Evening Post, 2/22/1896, p.1.
Lucie Van Nevar, “Echoes from the Studios,” Sunday Inter Ocean, 3/1/1896, p.27.
Op. cit., Van Nevar, Sunday Inter Ocean, 3/1/1896, p.27.
“Art And Artists,” Chicago Evening Post, 8/1/1896, p.10.
On the Palette Club’s Wisconsin travel see “The Palette club of the Chicago Art Institute...,” Standard Democrat [Burlington, WI], 7/13/1889. Boutwood and John Vandepoel held a regular summer school nearby. For discussion of her trip east see, “Art And Artists,” Chicago Evening Post, 10/3/1896, p.10.
Op. cit., Chicago Evening Post, 10/3/1896, p.10.
“Artists’ Work Shown,” Chicago Times-Herald, 12/15/1896, p.9. “Where Art is Queen of All,” Chicago Tribune, 2/23/1896, p.27.
Op. cit., Chicago Tribune, 2/23/1896, p.27.
Op. cit., Chicago Times-Herald, 12/15/1896, p.9.
The history and subsequent story of Tree Studios is well documented. Information is most readily obtained from the Chicago Public Library studies of Chicago Landmarks.
“American Art at the Institute,” Sunday Times-Herald, 12/6/1896, p.30. The Cosmopolitan Art Club Catalog Of The Sixth Annual Exhibition, (Chicago: Cosmopolitan Club of Chicago, 1897).
Catalogue of an Exhibition of Works by Chicago Artists, (Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago, 1/26/1897).
“Local Art Interests: Four Exhibitions Next Week,” Chicago Times-Herald, 1/17/1897, p. 33.
“C.A.A. [Central Art Association] Notes,” Arts for America, Vol. 6, No. 7, March 1897, p.223. “Prizes for Art Works: Awards in the West End Woman’s Club Exhibit Made,” Chicago Tribune, 2/19/1897, p.9. “The Arts,” Sunday Inter Ocean, 2/21/1897, p.27.
“Artists Win Prizes,” Chicago Evening Post, 2/18/1897, p.1.
“Art and Artists,” Chicago Evening Post, 2/20/1897, p.10.
Op. cit., Chicago Times-Herald, 1/17/1897, p.33.
Isabel McDougall, “Art And Artists,” Chicago Evening Post, 6/26/1897, p.7.
Isabel McDougall, “Art And Artists,” Chicago Evening Post, 11/27/1897, p.9.
Isabel McDougall, “Art and Artists,” Chicago Evening Post, 10/9/1897, p.10.
There are countless references to this mystical work in literature.
“Among the Artists,” Sunday Inter Ocean, 4/3/1898, p.43. See the various exhibition catalogues for specific dates.
Op. cit., Chicago Journal, 12/30/1898, p.4.
James William Pattison, “Art Notes,” Sunday Inter Ocean, 3/3/1901,p.6.
“The Fine Arts,” Sunday Inter Ocean, 10/24/1897, p.34.
Tennessee Centennial Exposition Fine Art Catalogue, (Nashville: The Brandon Co., 1897; reprint by Olana Gallery).
The fair was properly known as the Greater America Exposition and followed on the heels of the successful Trans-Mississippi Exposition in the same city. Her work on the jury is noted in “Art,” Sunday Chicago Tribune, 4/9/1899, part 4, p.4.
After the success of the exhibition by Chicago artists at the Art Institute earlier in the year, an inspired “small group of art lovers and public spirited persons” called for a meeting of representatives from the principal Chicago men’s and women’s clubs such as the Union League, the Illinois Club, Kilo Association, the Arché, and the Young Fortnightly, at the Art Institute of Chicago. The group proposed to finalize what had been started as a consolidation of the number of exhibitions into one major show, with each club having a specified salon day to entertain members and guest and award larger prizes to the best works. Artists, it seemed, were unable to meet the demand of new paintings for every show and it was felt in their haste, the quality of painting suffered. This amalgam would extensively aid the congeniality among what was then competing art interests. According to the Inter Ocean, the chance to build Chicago into a major art center was “being missed.” The belief was that art in Chicago could be better promoted through the united effort of the clubs.
Illinois Historical Art Project www.illinoisart.org covers this consolidation in some detail. It is important to note however that Pauline Dohn was at the center of the debate, who to encourage support of the meeting, was to speak at this organization meeting along with William French, director of the Art Institute, her artist colleagues Alice Kellogg Tyler, Lorado Taft and Ralph Elmer Clarkson (1861-1942) and Art Institute President Charles L. Hutchinson.
In November 1897, Pauline exhibited with the Cosmopolitan Club at its sixth and final exhibition held on the lake front at the Second Regiment armory. Scheduled to run concurrently with the chrysanthemum show of the Horticultural Society of Chicago. The event became “the one great special event of the year” where prospects for sales proved to be exceptional since it drew many art patrons and had an attendance of 50,000. The Inter Ocean also noted the strongest artists of Chicago exhibited. As small group of artists were noted as the principal exhibitors including Pauline. This was followed by success at the second exhibit of Chicago artists. Pauline had been among the successful in pulling together the disparate art groups into a cohesive whole, which increased prize money and prestige. She won the Chicago Women’s Club purchase prize, an early sign of the successful idea in prize giving. That same year she showed again with the Society of American Artists, Society of Western Artists, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Boston Art Club, and at the Trans-Mississippi & International Exposition in Omaha.
With her studio still in the Tree Studio Building in 1899, Pauline was ready to participate in the rapidly strengthening third annual combined exhibition of Chicago artists at the Art Institute. The Chicago Times-Herald described it as “the strongest showing of local talent yet made.” The selection committee had been particular and rejected more than half of the works submitted. Pauline contributed to the exhibit’s effect, which the Times-Herald described as “pleasing” because it was not “tainted with effeminacy nor alienated by preference for foreign subjects.” Portraits were predominant in the exhibition, yet Pauline’s work led off the remarks made by the Times-Herald, suggesting she was a premier Chicago artist. The portrait of her father attired in a long cloak was a noted as a “fine example, thoroughly masculine, full of air, frankness and truthfulness.” Among her “excellent” contributions was a portrait of fellow Tree Studio artist, and Art Institute professor, Frederick Warren Freer (1849-1908). Finally, the same reporter acknowledged Pauline’s The Seeker, declaring the painting held the place of honor in the show. Here efforts were once again rewarded with the Klio Association Purchase Prize and an honorable mention from the Young Fortnightly Club.
In May of the same year, Pauline gained a special honor when her life-sized copy of the George Peter Alexander Healy (1813-1894) portrait of General U.S. Grant was unveiled to the Grand Army Memorial Hall Association. Representatives from forty Grand Army posts were at the presentation of the painting incased in a gold frame. The hall was to be decorated with portraits of American heroes and the copy of Grant would hang in the directors’ room.
As a new century approached Paris was putting on the Universal Exposition world’s fair. It was at this time Pauline chose to visit Europe once again. Likely she took in the massive art exhibits. She took another opportunity to travel her beloved Holland visiting expatriate artists George Hitchcock there at his home in Egmond, before returning in September. The American art installation was financed by the State Department in an effort to promote a forward image of the United States as a civilized county. Even though many Americans artists were individually recognized in Europe as important, American art in general was yet to be firmly established. The paintings group at the Exposition achieved more awards than any other national group except, of course, the French.
That Pauline was at the center of art activities in Chicago was sure. Her place as well among the acclaimed artists of the day was also evident in the press from her awards. What fostered this relative position of fame became most clear when the obituary for her mother was posted in the Chicago Tribune. Pauline had been the product of a marriage that attracted to her parents home a steady stream of artists and musicians. Speaking of her mother Paulina, the Tribune said:
“Though leading a quiet, domestic life, she was the head of a hospitable home, which was the favorite resort of the leading artists and musicians of the city… Mrs. Dohn as the center of the little household was a warm friend of artists, who will long miss her kindly presence and cordial hospitality.”
It was only a matter of six weeks later before her father expired as well. Doctor’s today say aged spouses who have very close relationships often die within a year of each other, and in the closely timed deaths of this couple may speak to the loving, thriving and gracious household in which Pauline was reared. He had led a career filled with music to the end, his last post that of manager of the Steinway Piano company in Chicago.
As it became evident to local artists that prize money abounded and purchases followed, the Chicago vicinity annual exhibition at the Art Institute began to attract their most important works. At the fifth annual show in February 1901, Pauline was awarded the coveted one hundred dollar Young Fortnightly Club prize for her Preparing the fête (location unknown), which hung in a place of honor on the far wall of the last room where it stood out prominently. Were it not for the purchase price that exceeded their two hundred dollar budget, the Arché Club would have added the painting to their burgeoning collection. The painting carried with it quite a story of the Chinese robe having been saved from a fire during the Boxer rebellion in China, making its way to a young woman in Chicago, who happened to be known by Pauline. The young woman had decorated the parlor of her father’s house with orientalia, which provided a ready set for the painting. Sculptor and critic Lorado Taft said of the work: “On the whole this is one of the best figures ever painted by a Chicagoan; would that there were a dozen artists here who could do as well!” Later that year the work was accepted without submittal to the jury at the Pan-American Exposition world’s fair in Buffalo. The following year it was shown in 1902-1903 to much acclaim in the Society of Western Artists exhibit that traveled to Cincinnati where it was the “feature of the exhibition,” St. Louis where it received “high praise,” Chicago and other major Midwestern cities. Four years later the National Academy of Design agreed with Taft by giving the painting an honorable mention at their annual exhibition.
After the passing of her parents, Pauline entered marriage in October without great fanfare to Franklin Rudolph, someone she had known for years. The timing of the marriage, so close to the death of both parents, may have been from her devotion to them. She may have been preparing for it though as in May that year she rented her studio ostensibly for the summer. Perhaps she felt it would be selfish to pursue a life of her own while her parents required the care of old age. That there was little celebration of the marriage may speak to the mourning period where a large celebration would have been inappropriate. Frank Rudolph who was at the time forty-three, was of Austrian descent, son of a prosperous furniture manufacturer After the wedding, the new Mr. and Mrs. Rudolph took a wedding trip in the West. Upon their return they resided at his home at 294 La Salle Avenue. Quite possibly Pauline sought, at this time in her life, to lead a more private life as Franklin’s bride than continue as one of the best known women artists in the city. She resigned her teaching position at the Art Institute upon marriage, having held the post since 1890.
Frank had entered the realm of business at an early age, originally as a sheet metal worker, and later successfully developed his business. In 1901, the year of their marriage, his business was absorbed by the American Can Company and Franklin became the vice president. His friends knew him to be a “fine” and “strong” spirit, with “granite-like integrity.” With a supportive husband, Pauline continued her work, albeit on a much more scaled down fashion. Her eventual recession from the art world appears to have been her choice. She may have considered her artistic career complete with awards and success and found a different sort of fulfillment as a wife and mother.
Now the wife of a respectable businessman, Pauline turned her attentions to those of a more civic nature, where art was concerned. She had earlier been on a panel to convince the competing art organizations to band together, which eventually resulted in control of the annual shows passing to the Chicago Society of Artists, which had been dormant for about five years. In April 1902, the New York Times referred to her as a member of the executive board for the largely social, Chicago Society of Artists, a group composed of, at that time, sixty-six prominent artists whose purpose was to boost interest in Chicago art. The Municipal Art League ascended to authority for overall organization and coordination of the various social groups who sought their own private showing days and to bestow upon the artists their own prizes. The League also thought it in the best interests of their civic duty to begin a collection of their own and between 1904 and 1909 she served on the selection committee four times.
In the mid-1890s the Central Art Association had fostered a program of bringing art to people in rural areas as a general means of education. As the activities of the group waned, the idea was thought no less important. In 1900 for example, a group of fifteen Chicago artists, Pauline included, brought together an exhibition to send to the University of North Dakota. Now in 1906, the art committee of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs planned a “circulating art gallery.” Under the chairmanship of Mrs. John B. Sherwood of Chicago, the exhibit of eighty works of art, loaned by artists, began in Chicago. Following the idea of traveling libraries, the intention of the exhibition was to expose thousands to art who would otherwise see nothing more than poor reproductions. The exhibit included Pauline’s watercolor, “Feeding Her Pets,” along with works by her former studio mate Annie Weaver Jones, and Chicagoans Ralph Clarkson, Frederick W. Freer, Oliver Dennett Grover (1860-1927), and Charles Francis Browne (1859-1920), as well as works by artists from Boston, New York, and western states. The works would circulate around the country to various women’s clubs and then be returned to Chicago from where a new collection would be sent.
Although no longer at the forefront of the Chicago art exhibitions, Pauline who “was interested in people and knew how to bring out the best in them,” remained involved in cultural and community endeavors. Her “great vitality and diversity of interests” endeared her to others. She was “public-spirited” and after building a home on the lake in suburban Winnetka in 1905, for many years she was a “most useful and valued director of the Winnetka Relief and Aid Society.”
She continued to maintain a close interest in art, while not necessarily practicing it herself. Years after she ceased painting and exhibiting, she was still concerned about her art. When the Municipal Art League held a retrospective exhibition of Chicago artists in 1910 she wrote to Art Institute Director William French to complain about how her work was hung. When the International Exhibition of Modern Art, known as the “Armory Show” came to New York, she reportedly visited the show for two weeks running, every day, all day, to catch up on the latest trends in her field.
In 1917, she was elected one of the Winnetka village library trustees and served for four years. In 1918, Pauline and other women of Winnetka dressed as French market women and sold plants, vegetables, garden hats, and wooden birdhouses, flower pots, and baskets made by the New Trier high school art class on the green outside the Winnetka community house. She sold wares from beneath the same umbrella, which sheltered her as she sketched scenes in Belgium, Holland, and France. The Winnetka Talk claimed Pauline had become a governing life member of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Undoubtedly Pauline focused her energy on running the household and tending to her three children—Frank, born 1904, Pauline born 1906, and Charles born 1908. Pauline “created an atmosphere of happiness and understanding” at her elegant residence for years. Two decades of peaceful marriage came to an end when at the age of sixty-four, Frank died of Pneumonia in 1922. where the funeral services took place. Local residents were “shocked” to hear of the passing of “one of the most prominent citizens” of the village. In her “moment of desolation,” Pauline reportedly manifested “secret strength and indomitable faith” to manage her three children, then eighteen, sixteen, and fourteen years of age. Frank’s death left Pauline in charge of a very large estate, over $500,000 at the time.
Life was not without its problems for the wealthy widow. A troubled Pauline (daughter) later in the year after her father’s death came into unspecified trouble with the law. Not yet of “coming out” age, the debutante in waiting was given the choice of time in a correctional facility or relinquishing her automobile for two months. It couldn’t have taken more than a second for her mother to reach a conclusion as her daughter “quickly gave the promise.” Youngest son Charles took the upper crust college route and graduated from Williams College in Massachusetts.
A few years later, Pauline’s only sibling, Mary A. Dohn, died December 13, 1925 in Paris, France. Eventually, with her own health failing, Pauline moved to California where she sought relief in the mild climate. Her lifelong friend Dr. Susan Moody had settled in Los Angeles and may have been a reason why Pauline was drawn to the west coast. Then on June 19, 1934, after a prolonged illness, Pauline Dohn Rudolph passed away in Los Angeles.
Eulogies of Pauline included, “One of those exceptional women of whom no one ever breathed a disapproving Word. Her thoughts were for others rather than for herself.” Those who knew Pauline, or “Lena” characterized her as having a “serene and splendid spirit,” possessing “artistic instinct” and of “sharing nobly in the world’s toil. She always looked “like a vision of peace in the midst of storms, and carried with her a secret strength and joy in the midst of sorrows.” Pauline expressed her philosophic side when she said “the canvas was painted not by her hand, but only with it.” She appreciated her gift of talent and explained that as she finished a painting, she did not see it as an ending, but more as a completed step. She similarly envisioned life as a state that did not completely end. In this way, Pauline was described to have “painted her own portrait on the canvas of time.”
In retrospect, Pauline Dohn Rudolph can be considered one of Chicago’s, and America’s, great late nineteenth century artists who for decades kept in the limelight because, as Arts for America reported, she did “several important pictures” each year. Her name became known around the world, as a result of her works having been “on the line” in the Paris Salon and exhibited in the most prominent galleries across America. The press, however, described Pauline as a “clever Chicago girl” and always associated with the city on the shores of Lake Michigan, having been born there, educated there, and received her first instruction at the Art Institute of Chicago.
“Women to Foster Art,” Chicago Record, 10/19/1897, p.8.
“The Fine Arts,” Sunday Inter Ocean, 10/24/1897, p.39.
Op. cit., Chicago Record, 10/19/1897, p.8.
M. S. N., “Art,” Sunday Inter Ocean, 11/7/1897, p.39. Op. cit., McDougall, Chicago Evening Post, 10/9/1897, p.10.
Op. cit., Daily Inter Ocean, 10/10/1897, p.39.
Op. cit., M. S. N., Sunday Inter Ocean, 11/7/1897, p.39.
They purchased her St. Jeanne de Chantel, illustrated in James S. Dickerson, “A Chicago Renaissance?,” Brush and Pencil, Vol. 1, No. 6, March 1898, p.186. Isabel McDougall, “Art And Artists,” Chicago Evening Post, 2/12/1898, p.10.
“Among The Artists,” Sunday Inter Ocean, 4/3/1898, p.43.
Society of Western Artists. Third Annual Exhibition, (Cincinnati: Society of Western Artists, 1898-1899).
Peter Hastings Falk, editor, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts: The Annual Exhibition Record. Volume II 1876-1913, (Madison, CT: Sound View Press, 1989).
The Boston Art Club: Exhibition Record 1873-1909, (Madison, CT: Sound View Press, 1991).
Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition Official Catalogue of Fine Arts, (Omaha: Klopp & Bartlett Co., 1898; reprint).
“Chicago Artists,” Arts for America, Vol. 8, No. 2, 11/15/1898, p.108.
“Art,” Chicago Times-Herald, 2/26/1899.
Op. cit., Chicago Times-Herald, 2/26/1899. The article mistakenly calls the exhibit the “second” annual.
Op. cit. Chicago Times-Herald, 2/26/1899.
Op. cit. Chicago Times-Herald, 2/26/1899. Catalogue of an Exhibition of Works by Chicago Artists, (Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago, 2/28/1899).
“Exhibit By Chicago Artists,” Chicago Chronicle, 3/5/1899. They purchased her View from the Conservatory. “Chicago Artists,” Arts for America, Vol. 8, No. 6, 4/1/1899, pp.356-357.
“Grant’s Picture is Unveiled: Painting by Miss Pauline Dohn Presented to G.A.R. Memorial Hall by John M. Smyth,” Chicago Tribune, 5/28/1899, p.5.
She had likely departed by the fall of 1899 as it was reported her studio was temporarily occupied by Chicago artist William Wendt in “Art,” Chicago Tribune, 10/15/1899, p.46. “George Hitchcock’s Life in Chicago,” Chicago Tribune, 6/2/1901, p.47. “Art And Artists,” Chicago Evening Post, 4/7/1900, p.8.
Op.cit., Chicago Tribune, 6/2/1901, p.47. “Art And Artists,” Chicago Evening Post, 9/22/1900, p.8.
Paris 1900: The “American School” at the Universal Exposition, (Montclair, NJ: Montclair Art Museum, 1999).
Obituary, Chicago Tribune, 1/15/1901, p.8.
“A.W. Dohn, Apollo Club’s Old Director, Expires,” Chicago Tribune, 2/27/1901, p.3.
“‘Preparing the Fete,’ Prize Winning Picture,” Chicago Tribune, 2/2/1901, p.9. The piece is illustrated. The work is also alternatively known as Preparing for the fete. The original title, however, is found in the exhibition catalogue, Exhibition of Works by Chicago Artists, (Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago, 1/31/1901).
“Art,” Chicago Times-Herald, 2/3/1901, p.7. Op. cit., Chicago Chronicle, 2/4/1901, p.7. That the Fortnightly prize was highly sought after is mentioned in this clipping.
Op. cit., Chicago Tribune, 2/2/1901, p.9.
“Tribune Art Supplement,” Chicago Tribune, 5/19/1901, p.12.
 Lorado Taft, “Exhibits Of Chicago Artists,” Chicago Record, 2/5/1901. See also: James William Pattison, “Pattison’s Art Notes,” Sunday Inter Ocean, 2/10/1901, p.45.
“Art and Artists,” Chicago Evening Post, 3/30/1901, p.8.
Lena M. McCauley, “Art and Artists,” Chicago Evening Post, 1/17/1903, p.8.
Lena M. McCauley, “Art,” Chicago Evening Post, 1/7/1905, p.5.
The marriage was announced in “In The Society World,” Chicago Tribune, 10/13/1904, p.42, col. 2, (bottom).
Lena M. McCauley, “Art And Artists,” Chicago Evening Post, 5/18/1901, p.8.
“In The Society World,” Chicago Tribune, 10/13/1901, p.42. 1900 Federal Census, T-623, Roll 273, p. 176, ED 716 ST 5A, Lines 13-17, Illinois, Cook County, Twenty-fourth Ward, Chicago. Marriage license, State of Illinois, County of Cook, 333784, 10/5/1901. Standard Certificate of Death, State of Illinois, Department of Public Health—Division of Vital Statistics, County Clerk’s Record, Registered No. 127. Franklin’s father passed a decade and a half later, “Joseph Rudolph,” obit., Chicago Tribune, 12/26/1917, p.13. Franklin’s birth date was 8/8/1858. He was born in Chicago. “Pneumonia is Fatal to Franklin Rudolph,” Winnetka Talk, 12/30/1922. “Address of Horace J. Bridges at memorial service for Mrs. Pauline Dohn Rudolph, born July 9, 1865, died June 19, 1934.” From family records.
Op. cit., 1900 Federal Census, T-623, Roll 273, p.176. The 1880 United States Census stated that at age twenty-two, Franklin was a chemist. Chicago, Cook, Illinois, Family History Library Film 1254198, NA Film Number T9-0198, p.133A.
“Obituary, Franklin Rudolph, Ill of Pneumonia a Week, Dies,” Chicago Tribune, 12/28/1922, p.15.
Op. cit., address of Horace J. Bridges.
As early as 1900, prior to their marriage, Frank had spoken of his interest and pride in her work. Letter from Franklin Rudloph to “Dear Freisters.” 6/29/1900, IHAP Library. He wrote it was “enough to make me blush—great isn’t it when a fellow feels he has a right to basque [sic] in the sunshine & glory of a friend.”
“Chicago Society of Artists, It Will Be Largely Social, with Educational Features Also,” New York Times, 4/6/1902, p.2. “Art and Artists,” Chicago Evening Post, 4/5/1902, p.4.
For details of the Municipal Art League see the “Art Organizations” section of this book.
The group also organized exhibits in Chicago such as a summer sketch show in their club rooms in the Fine Arts Building. “Art,” Chicago Tribune, 9/17/1899, p.42.
“Pattison’s Art Notes: North Dakota’s Exhibition,” Sunday Inter Ocean, 12/30/1900, p.46.
“Art Gallery to Travel: Country Residents Will See Works of Painters,” Chicago Tribune, 1/13/1906, p.3.
Op. cit., Chicago Tribune, 1/13/1906, p.3.
Op. cit., Winnetka Talk, 7/5/1934.
Op. cit., Winnetka Talk, 7/5/1934.
Op. cit., Winnetka Talk, 7/5/1934. A house warming for their new home was announced in “In the Society World,” Chicago Tribune, 6/24/1907, p.9. Shortly thereafter she entertained her artist friends from the Chicago Society of Artists at her home. Lena M. McCauley, “Art,” Chicago Evening Post, 11/23/1907, p.9.
Letter to Pauline Dohn Rudolph from William M. R. French, French Letters, Ryerson Library, Art Institute of Chicago, 1/11/1910.
 “Freak Art Exhibit of Modern School To Be Brought Here,” Chicago Evening Post, 3/8/1913, p.1.
“Oak Park Votes Against Movies on Sabbath Day,” Chicago Tribune, 4/4/1917, p.9.
Op. cit., Winnetka Talk, 7/5/1934.
 “This Is Garden Market Day for the North Shore,” Chicago Tribune, 5/18/1918, p.15.
Op. cit., Winnetka Talk, 7/5/1934.
1920 Federal Census, Series T-625, Roll 361, p. 200. St. 80, Lines 60-67, Illinois Cook County, New Trier Township, Winnetka, 1/8/1920. Birth years are based on the ages of the Rudolph family members at the time of the census in 1920.
Standard Certificate of Death, State of Illinois, Department of Public Health—Division of Vital Statistics, County Clerk’s Record, Registered No. 127. Date of death 12/27/1922. Filed 12/29/1922.
“Obituary: Franklin Rudolph, Ill of Pneumonia a Week, Dies,” Chicago Tribune, 12/28/1922, p.15.
“Pneumonia is Fatal to Franklin Rudolph,” Winnetka Talk, 12/30/1922.
Op. cit., address of Horace J. Bridges.
“Rudolph Widow to Get Nearly All $525,000 Estate,” Chicago Tribune, 1/21/1923, p.12. Twelve years later, no doubt ravaged by the economic depression, Pauline’s estate amounted to $214,000. “$214,000 Estate Is Left By Will of Mrs. Rudolph,” Chicago Tribune, 7/4/1934, p.16. Still during that time a very wealthy woman.
“Girl Must Forego Auto,” Chicago Tribune, 10/27/1923, p.3.
“Engagement Announced: Mrs. Marion Blatchford Berry,” Chicago Tribune, 3/9/1936, p.15. He later entered into a marriage with his childhood sweetheart, wedding the beautiful divorcee of a prominent Winnetka family, Mrs. Marion Blatchford Berry. Charles’ sister Pauline had been a bridesmaid in Marion’s sister’s wedding. The bride’s parents resided on one of the most expensive streets in Chicago’s North Shore at 32 Indian Hill Road. Charles took his own life in 1949. “Winnetkan Is Found Fatally Shot In His Home; Gun In Hand,” Chicago Tribune, 1/17/1949, p.2.
“Death notice,” Chicago Tribune, 1/2/1926, p.8.
“Mrs. Franklin Rudolph Dies at Los Angeles,” Winnetka Talk, 6/28/1934.
Moody attended Rush Medical School and set up a medical practice in Persia. She treated the Shah’s wife after complications from birth. From family records, “Dr. Susan Moody, An interview with Mrs. Pauline Rudolph Sherman, January 1975.”
Op. cit., Winnetka Talk, 7/5/1934.
Op. cit., Winnetka Talk, 7/5/1934.
Op. cit., address of Horace J. Bridges.
Op. cit., address of Horace J. Bridges.
Op. cit., address of Horace J. Bridges.
Op. cit., Howard, Arts for America, March 1898, p.406.
Op. cit., May 1899, Art Institute of Chicago Scrapbooks, Vol. 11, pp. 6-7.
Op. cit., The Graphic, 4/30/1892, p.326.
Op. cit., May 1899, Art Institute of Chicago Scrapbooks, Vol. 11, pp. 6-7.
Op. cit., Chicago Chronicle, 2/4/1901, p.7.