Lilla Cabot Perry

Lilla Cabot Perry was an American Impressionist painter who played an essential role in promoting the style of Impressionism to America in the late nineteenth century. She was born Lilla Cabot into a prominent Boston family on January 13, 1848 in Boston, Massachusetts. In 1874, she married Thomas Sergeant Perry, a Harvard University literature professor. The couple had three girls before Perry decided to pursue studying art. At the age of 37, she attended Cowles Art School in Boston for a year before her family moved to Paris. In 1887, she attended Académie Julian and the Académie Colarossi under the instruction of the Belgium painter Alfred Stevens (1823–1906). It took two years before she encountered a painting by Impressionist Claude Monet, a discovery that was integral in establishing her mature artistic style. Being drawn to this style and wanting to learn more, Perry sought out the artist who became her friend and mentor. For nine summers, her family rented out a house in Giverny, France, where Monet lived, and they developed a lasting relationship. Under his watchful eye, she mastered her techniques as an Impressionist artist and in turn, brought a painting of Monet’s back to Boston where she lectured and wrote essays on the new artistic movement.

In 1898, her family moved to Japan for three years where her husband took a position teaching English and Lilla Perry studied the beginning of the Impressionist movement in Japan. She created more than 80 paintings in Japan, incorporating Japanese and Chinese style into her art and continued to stay prolific throughout her career. A true Impressionist, she focused on landscapes and other scenes of women in everyday tasks with muted colors. Throughout her life, she won multiple medals at exhibitions in Boston, St. Louis and San Francisco and was a major promoter of Impressionism in America. She passed away on February 28, 1933, in Hancock, New Hampshire at the age of 85.