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Philip Little   Click Images to Enlarge

Philip Little

Green Island, Sheepscot River, 1924

Oil on canvas 30 x 40 inches

Signed Philip Little lower left and inscribed, signed & dated 1924 on verso

(American, 1857-1942)


Philip Little was born in Swampscott, MA September 6 th , 1857 the son of James Lovell and Julia Agusta Cook. He attended M.I.T. intending to go into business until contracting Typhoid Fever (1875-1876). From 1877-1880 he attended Lowell School of Design at the Institute of Technology and worked in lithograph department of Forbes Lithograph Company of Boston. From 1881-1882 he and Frank W. Benson were students at Boston's Museum School and the following year he exhibited for the first time at the Boston Art Club (April-May) and married Lucretia Shephard Jackson.

Little and Benson lived at 2 Chestnut Street, Salem (MA) beginning in 1886 and they were neighbors in 1931. Little was influenced by the work of Frank W. Benson as much as Benson was of his impressionistic canvases and two often painted outdoors together.

From 1887-1901 Little served in the Massachusetts National Guard attaining the rank of General with the Second Corps Cadets. Civic minded, little he was elected to the Salem Board of Aldermen (1892, 1893), was a member of the School Board (1898-1912) and the Essex Institute.

Little actively exhibited throughout the U.S. and Europe and he maintained close ties to all the members of the Boston school of painting. His light-filled landscapes and scenes of New England harbors and wharves, Green Island (Sheepscot River), Maine storms and boating parties, trout streams and lobster fishermen are close in style to that of his life long friend Frank W. Benson. Art Critic A.J. Philpott called Little “one of the best landscape painters in America.” ( Boston Globe, 1919)

Little died in Salem on March 31, 1942. Frank Benson was a pall bearer at his funeral at Grace Church.

Solo exhibitions : Little at Rowlands Galleries, Boston (1909); R.I. School of Design (1909); Public Library of Ithaca (1909); Worcester Art Museum (1909); City Art Museum of St. Louis (1910, 1913); Society of Fine Art, Minneapolis (1910); Copley Society (1910); Colorado Springs Art Society (1913); Portland Maine Society of Art (1914); Sweat Memorial Art Museum (1914); Mussman Galleries, NYC (1920, 1928); Guild of Boston Artists (watercolors, 1924); Minneapolis Institute of Art (Memorial Exhibition, 1942); Arvest Gallery (Boston, 1976-1977) and more. Memberships include : American Federation of Arts; Essex Institute (Curator of Art); Lowell Art Association; Union Club (Boston); Smasonic Order, Starr King Lodge; Artists Guild (Chicago), Guild of Boston Artists (founding member); Copley Society; National Arts Club; Portland AA (ME); Chicago Society of Etchers; Boston Society of Etchers; Brooklyn Society of Etchers; Boston Society of Watercolor Painters. Awards: silver medal at the Panama-Pacific Expo., San Francisco (1915); California Society of Etchers (1935). Collections : Salem Shawmut Bank; Salem Savings Bank; Salem Hospital; Salem Public Library; Salem Y.M.C.A.; MFA, Boston; Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris; Congressional Library; N.Y. Public Library; Carnegie Institute; PAFA; Minneapolis Art Institute; Minneapolis Society of F.A.; Walker Memorial Gallery; Bowdoin College; Colby College; Philadelphia Art Museum; R.I.S.D.; Coast Guard, Carnegie Institute; Municipal Gallery of Modern Art, Dublin, Ireland, City Art Museum, St. Louis. Married Caroline King on his 82 nd birthday (1938). References : Arvest Galleries, Inc., “Philip Little, 1847-1972,” exhibition catalogue, Boston, December 11, 1976-January 10, 1977; U.S. Directory and Year Book (S.R. Koehler, 1884); Who's Who in Art (1912 and 1942); Who's Who in New England (1913).