Joseph Rodefer DeCamp, American (1858 - 1923)

 
Joseph Rodefer DeCamp, a native of Boston, was known for his figure paintings of women in interiors and in nude poses, portraits and some landscapes. His work reflected both realism and impressionism, and as an evolving impressionist he was one of the "The Ten", a group of ten American painters whose members with avant-garde ideas about painting styles and exhibitions rebelled against the more staid Society of American Artists. It is said that after his affiliation with The Ten and especially after spending time in Gloucester, summer of 1900, with Frank Duveneck and John Twachtman, De Camp became much more committed to Impressionism.

In 1875, at the age of seventeen, Joseph De Camp began his art career by studying in Munich under Frank Duveneck. The Dutch Masters, whose work he saw in Holland, especially that of Jan Vermeer, influenced many of his future paintings, most often female figures near a window, bathed in the light from the exterior.

He returned to Boston in 1880, and established a career as a teacher and portrait painter. De Camp had been a prominent member of The Boston School of painting, which focused in realistic style primarily on figural subjects of beauty, elegance and refinement. A De Camp portrait in this style and one of particular significance is that of Theodore Roosevelt, which he painted for Roosevelt's Harvard classmates. Even this formal portrait shows the influence of Vermeer in the broad expanse of wall and the use of atmospheric light which serves as a backdrop to silhouette Roosevelt.

Because portrait painting was his focus, only relatively few landscapes by De Camp are found. However, this circumstance likely is affected by the studio fires that occurred in Boston in the Harcourt Building in 1904, where hundreds of paintings were destroyed.

De Camp also was an art educator with a long-time teaching assignment at the Massachusetts Normal Art School in Boston. Other teaching assignments were the Boston Museum School of Fine Art and the Pennsylvania Academy.

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