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Mabel May Woodward   Click Images to Enlarge

Mabel May Woodward
Provincetown with the old Chrysler Museum building
Oil on canvas
8 x 10 in.
 Mabel May Woodward
Fisherman, Provincetown
Oil on board
10 ½ x 13 ½ in.

(American 1877-1945)

Mabel May Woodward spent her entire professional career in and around the Providence, Rhode Island and summered in Ogunquit and Gloucester and beaches and landscapes and harbors with Anne Carleton, Jane Peterson, Gertrude Fiske, Bessie Wessel, Charles Woodbury and other Ogunquit and Gloucester painters. She also painted during the 20s and 30s in Charleston when it was experiencing a cultural renaissance and was a popular destination for tourists. She is best known for her quickly executed impressionistic brushwork and for utilizing spontaneously a light, bright palette and her most desirable paintings depict figures at the beach.

Woodward's estate was purchased by the Shein family of R.I. in 1970 and the Vose Galleries of Boston in 1971 gave her a one-woman show. Other solo exhibitions were held at the Providence Art Club (1939); El Paso Museum of Art (1972), Texas; Chicago Art Institute; Providence Water Color Club and other locales.

Woodward was born in Providence in 1877 and graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1896; the Art Student's League (NY) with William M. Chase, Frank Vincent DuMond (with whom she painted in Old Lyme, CT), Kenyon Cox, Arthur Dow and George Bridgman; and with Charles Woodbury at the Woodbury Ogunquit School (Maine). At the Ogunquit School she became a close friend of fellow student Anne Carleton and together they painted the shoreline and beaches in and around Ogunquit. In 1900, she returned to Rhode Island where she taught painting at the RH School of Design for many years (often quoting DuMond), where she developed the "The Action Class" (painting moving figures, not static figures). During summer months she often traveled to France, Italy and Holland to paint and she painted street scenes in Provincetown, MA.

Woodward was a member of the Providence Art Club; Providence Water Color Club; South County Art Association and the Ogunquit Art Association. She won a gold medal in 1908 at the Art Institute of Boston. Her work was included in the exhibition "Charles Woodbury and his students" at the Ogunquit Art Museum (1998). Her work is represented at RISD Museum and the Providence Art Club (past president) and taught painting at RISD.

References: Painters of Rhode Island (Newport Art Museum, 1986); Petteys, Chris, Dictionary of Women Artists; Falk, Peter, Who Was Who in American Art, vol. 3, p. 3635; Weber, Nicholas Fox, American Painters of the Impressionist Period… (1975); Mallet, D.T., Index of Artists (1948); Opitz, Glenn, Diction of American Artists (1982); Heller, Jules & Nancy, North American Women Artists of the 20th Century (1995); Gerdts, William, Art Across America (vol. 1, 1990); Tampa Museum of Art, "At the Water's Edge," exhibition catalogue, p. 140 (1989)