Francis Brooks Chadwick 1850-1943
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The Bridge at Grez-sur-Loing in Springtime, 1887

Francis Brooks Chadwick was a Boston native, “unique among Americans” for living the rest of his life in Grez after settling there in 1882 [William Gerdts, Impressions: Americans in France, 1860-1930, p. 15]. He graduated from Harvard, where he met fellow painter Ralph Wormeley Curtis. Both young men went to Paris to study under Jules Joseph Lefebvre and Gustave Boulanger at the Academie Julian. Like Curtis, Chadwick was independently wealthy, but Chadwick pursued his artistic voyage more diligently than Curtis. Chadwick became friends with  John Singer Sargent in Paris in 1880, introducing him to Curtis (Curtis was in fact a second cousin to Sargent). Together, the three painters followed the footsteps of Sargent’s teacher, Carolus-Duran, travelling to Holland to study and copy the work of Frans Hals. Sargent’s sister recorded the trip:

John left Paris about ten days ago with two very nice friends to make a tour in Belgium & Holland, before going to Venice [Richard Ormund and Elaine Kilmurray, Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends, p. 36].

Sargent painted Chadwick’s portrait in Haarlem in 1880, as well as Curtis’s on the same trip [Ibid., p. 34-37]. Chadwick went on to Grez and settled there, marrying a Swedish artist and moving into the Hôtel Beau Séjour, where he spent the rest of his career, working extensively in Grez and the Fontainebleau forest.

William Gerdts, Impressions: Americans in France, 1860-1930, pp. 14-15 (illus.), 39 (illus.), 96