SARAH WYMAN WHITMAN1842-1904
Painter, writer, book designer, and stained glass artist, Sarah de St. Prix Wyman Whitman was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1842. Whitman was especially known for her flower paintings, portraits, and landscapes in oils and pastels. She studied, beginning in Boston in 1868, with William Morris Hunt in his art classes for women, publishing an essay in tribute to her teacher in 1879 in the International Review. From 1877 to 1879 she studied at the Villiers-le-Bel in Paris with Thomas Couture. Whitman authored articles on art and art education. In the 1890s she turned her attention to stained glass, opening her own studio, Lily Glass Works, on Boylston Street in Boston. She may have met John La Farge in Newport, Rhode Island, where she had painted around 1882. She became one of La Farge’s assistants in his work on Trinity Church in Boston, completing a window of her own design for the parish house there. Whitman provided windows and decorative elements for several other New England churches such as the Central Congregational Church in Worcester, Massachusetts, and for schools including Bowdoin College, and Memorial Hall at Harvard. She also created small decorative panels for private homes. In addition, the artist became one of the most important book designers of her day, helping to usher in the golden age of American artist-designed bindings. She worked for the Houghton Mifflin Company, designing Art Nouveau book covers for such authors as Nathaniel Hawthorne, John Greenleaf Whittier, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Henry David Thoreau, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Sarah Orne Jewett. She was a member of, among others, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts School, the Society of American Artists, and the Copley Society, and was a strong supporter of Radcliffe College. Whitman exhibited widely, including at the National Academy of Design; the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts; the Philadelphia Art Club; the Williams and Everett Gallery, Boston; the 1893 Columbian Exhibition in Chicago; the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo in 1901, where her work was awarded a medal; the Boston Art Club; the St. Botolph Club; and the Art Institute of Chicago. Her work received honorable mentions at the 1889 and 1900 Paris Expositions. Her “Brooks Memorial Window,” completed in 1895, may be seen at Trinity Church, Boston. When Whitman died in Boston in 1904, she bequeathed her works to the Museum of Fine Arts.