Marguerite S. Pearson (1898-1978)

by Patricia Jobe Pierce



The following essay was written by Patricia Jobe Pierce and included in the catalogue for the Marguerite S. Pearson exhibition held at Pierce Galleries, Inc.


Marguerite S. Pearson's diversified and skilled painting abilities were learned under the banner of the Boston school of painting. Her major mentors were Edmund C. Tarbell, Frederick Bosley, William James and Aldro T. Hibbard. During her student days she lived in the Fenway Studios, Boston. By 1920 she had established herself as a professional artist while summering in Rockport, Massachusetts. In 1941 she was able to purchase land and build a studio-home in Rockport, where she became a respected member of the art community. First an illustrator for magazines, short stories and newspapers, Pearson rapidly developed her painting techniques and became a successful full-time genre and landscape painter. Because of the vast popularity of her interior genre views, publishing companies (Aaron Ashley, Inc.; David Ashley, Inc.; Bendien, Inc.) reproduced her works as color prints. Blue Danube was published in 1938 and by 1941 over 10,000 copies had been sold throughout the United States and abroad. (left: The Red Parasol, oil on canvas, 30 x 32 inches)

The struggle to obtain recognition as an artist is not an easy one, especially if the artist is an unmarried woman in a predominantly male-oriented profession. Having been stricken with polio in her early teens, Marguerite S. Pearson had the added disadvantage of being left a paraplegic for the rest of her life. Not wanting to burden or be overly dependent upon her family and friends, Pearson learned to manipulate a wheel chair well and never allowed her disability to hinder her life or career. She became a sought after teacher, juror and painter who played the guitar and piano admirably. Making a substantial living through portraiture, genre, still life and landscape painting, her work was popular, in demand, award winning and it was accepted openly by the critics. A. J. Philpott reviewing her 1924 Somerville exhibition, capsules our attitude toward Marguerite S. Pearson's work:

Her paintings are the work of a young woman of exceptional talent. The fact that she has had to battle against great odds to achieve the place she has achieved in the art world gives the pictures an added interest for many people familiar with that battle. But aside from that, the pictures, judged by the highest art standards, require no adventitious sentiment to bolster them up. For these are the works of a rare genius -- of one who already ranks high and is destined to achieve unusual distinction in the art world.[1]

Marguerite S. Pearson was a competent American impressionist. We invite you to see her subtle well-balanced use of color; to study her organized sensitive designs; to explore her easy sure brush work. Pearson painted with freedom; had the advantage of knowing how to draw well; and shows a keen instinct for the broad effects of light, shade and shadow as they exist truthfully in nature. Her paintings embody the finest painting qualities of the renowned Boston School of painting, and they individually stand on their own refined merit.



1. Philpott, A.J., Art Page, Boston Globe, "Exhibition of Paintings by Marguerite S. Pearson," June, 1924, n.p. (Article in Pierce Galleries Inc.'s vertical file)


About the author

Patricia Jobe Pierce is an energetic, knowledgeable, experienced curator who assumes leadership. She organizes with finesse visually stimulating, world-class exhibitions that command public attention and critical acclaim. She strives to compile interesting, original exhibitions; scholarly easy-to-read exhibition catalogues; and artistic programs that have an educational outreach. Her substantial national and international contacts help her to collect responsibly and carefully fine paintings from private and institutional collections for major artistic, public exhibitions and because she is well acquainted with professional museum standards and practices, she orchestrates and supervises the development of extensive exhibitions with relative ease.

Pierce has been a full member of the Appraisers Association of America since 1974. As a world authority on American painting, she is an authenticator of American art for many leading U.S. auction houses and since 1969 she has handled the exhibition of over 10,000 paintings in galleries and museums from Maine to Texas.

As a witty, informed communicator and entertaining public speaker, Pierce's strong interpersonal skills encourage audiences to participate actively and to ask questions about paintings, artists and artistic techniques.

Pierce has a significant publication history. Books include:

John Joseph Enneking, American Impressionist Painter, published 1972 by Apollo Books; ASIN: 9997717708. Introduction: Robert C. Vose, II, Foreword: Leonard P. Sipiora. Hardcover, 128 pages, color/black & white illustrations, footnoted; extensive index.
The Ten American Painters, published 1976 by Rumford Press, Concord, NH, 212 pages. Hardcover; sold-out. Definitive book on the most important group of American Impressionist painters -- Edmund C. Tarbell, Frank W. Benson, F. Childe Hassam, Willard Metcalf, Thomas W. Dewing, John H. Twachtman, Robert Reid, Edward Simmons, J. Alden Weir and Joseph DeCamp (and William Merritt Chase, who took Twachtman's place upon his 1902 death).
Edmund C. Tarbell & The Boston School of Painting 1880-1980, published 1980 by Pierce Galleries, Inc.; ASIN: 9992830360. Hardcover, 304 pages, 100 lb. Glossy paper, 11 x 9 inch format, 32 full page color illustrations, over 120 black and white illustrations. Addenda with Life Work. A complete Dictionary of Boston school artists; extensive bibliography and index, laminated color jacket.
The Watercolored World of J.W.S. Cox, published 1981, hardcover, 64 pages, 8 color plates, many black and white illustrations, laminated hardcover, 100 lb. glossy paper , extensive index and bibliography, extensive chronology.
Richard Earl Thompson, American Impressionist, published 1982 by Richard James Publications, San Francisco, CA: A deluxe 1st edition hardcover with laminated color jacket, 143 full page color illustrations,10 x 11 inch format, indexed with extensive bibliography, semi-gloss 100 lb. paper. Also, author-director, Richard Earl Thompson 30 min. color video, Findley-Holiday Films, Whittier, CA (1991).
The Ultimate Elvis, Elvis Presley Day by Day, published 1994 by Simon & Schuster, 560 pages, hardcover with jacket, Contents cover Chronology, Movie Data, People in Elvis's Life, Records, CDs, Videos and everything else about The King!
Love, text and photography by Patricia Jobe Pierce, published 2000 by Fine Art Press, Ronkonkoma, NY, distributed by Ingram. 64 color pages, hardcover and softcover.
Introduction, 6 pp, to Jane Peterson, American Artist, authored by J. Jonathan Joseph, published 1981 by J. Jonathan Joseph, Boston, hard cover.

Biographical essays include:

Poet-painter Kahlil Gibran; visual artists Reginald Marsh, Willard Leroy Metcalf, Jane Peterson, Marguerite S. Pearson, Chauncey F. Ryder, Edward Simmons, Moses Soyer, J.J. Enneking and Joseph Rodefer DeCamp; performing artists Jerry Garcia, Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley, Natalie Wood, Stevie Ray Vaughan, all for the American National Biography, Oxford University Press (1998)

Curation for exhibitions:

Bates College, Maine (Barrett show)
Boston Symphony Hall, Boston, MA, (Boston Area Painters, and William S. Barrett)
Bridgewater State University (The Modernism of Giovanni DeCunto, 1992)
Camden Historical Society (Barrett retrospective)
Concourse Gallery, State Street Bank & Trust, Boston, (Fifty Boston Painters, and W.S. Barrett and the Sea)
El Paso Museum, Texas (William S. Barrett's Sea and Shore)
Schenectady Museum, NY (Barrett Retrospective Exhibition)
William Penn Memorial Museum, PA (Kahlil Gibran and William S. Barrett,1971)

News and magazine articles include:

"Robert Hamada-One with Nature," written 3/2001 for the Kauai Museum, Hawaii, upon request, for their opening of this master woodcarver's exhibition (6/2-7/2/01).
"Centuries of Artistic Influence," published Spring-Summer 2000 in Home & Garden, Nantucket, 6 pp.
"Pitfalls of Online Auctions," was retitled "The 21st-Century Virtual Art Gallery," and was published in Times of The Islands (a Nantucket magazine, 12/99.).
"The Meanings of Love Through the Ages," 8 color ill., pp. 70-73, in Fine Art, Spring 2000 (publisher is Victor Forbes, 631-737-1212, Ronkonkoma, NY)
"21st-Century Art Collecting and Investing," in Fine Art, issue #2, Summer 2000, pp. 33-36, 4 color ill. (publisher is Victor Forbes, 631-737-1212, Ronkonkoma, NY)
"This Madonna Should Blush," in Forbes Magazine, March 24, 1997, page 203.
"Edward Henry Potthast-More Than One Man," in premier issue of International Fine Art Collector, California, Oct. 1991, feature story, pp. 36-47 with 8 color & 1 b&w.
"William S. Barrett & His Mistress" for American Antiques magazine, April 1989, pp. 30-33, (written in 1978)

Radio and television appearances:

According to Pierce "On the Howey Carr Show (Boston) I was at my best, and 100s of people called to tell me I should take over his show!" She adds, "The most successful shows have been on WTVF-TV (CBS) Nashville "Talk of the Town," "Country News," Nashville; NBC with Aron Kelly, Nashville; "Morning Show," WNEW-FM YY (8/99); "Lee Kirk Show," Cleveland, AM radio; "Memphis in the Morning," WMC-AM; WOGY-AM with Ronda Cloud, Memphis; WKNO-FM with Joel Hurd, Memphis;
"Today in New York," with Matt Lauer WNBC-TV; NBC Radio Network, NYC; "Morning Meeting," KMOX-AM; "Showbiz Today," Cable News Network, NY; R&R with Roger Rose, America's Talking, NY; Interview with CNN, NY (those all happened in 1994-95, except one). I also did art interviews with Dorothy Trower, Brockton Radio regularly for years (MA, 1970-1979)."

Pierce has recently completed the text Edward Henry Potthast-More Than One Man; is currently completing Painters of the American Beach and is compiling Catalogue Raisonnes on Edmund C. Tarbell, John Joseph Enneking, Chauncey F. Ryder and Anne Carleton.

Every summer Pierce organizes American art exhibitions for The Gallery at 4 India Street in Nantucket, Massachusetts, and she gives lectures and leads open public art discussions throughout the summer months. Pierce is President of Pierce Galleries, Inc., a fine arts services company based in Hingham, Massachusetts.

Pierce has served on the New England Advisory Board for the Archives of American Art and is a member of the American Classical Realism Association; National Writer's Union; American Film Institute Alumni Association; Metropolitan Museum of Art; International Platform Committee; Smithsonian Institution; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Fuller Memorial Museum and more. Her outstanding achievements have been listed in Who's Who in American Art (1980-2000) and she is listed in Who's Who of American Women, 1999-2000; Contemporary Authors, 1995- and 2000 Outstanding Writers of the 20th Century, 2000, and more.

Ms. Pierce's essay is courtesy of the author.

For further biographical information on selected artists cited above please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.

This page was originally published in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information. rev. 5/28/11

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