*This painting is sold but the artist is regularly available in our inventory

Ida Wells Stroud*

New Orleans 1869 – 1944 Los Angeles

Harbor Scene

14  x 8 inches
Signed:  Ida Wells Stroud

Ida Wells Stroud was born in New Orleans in 1869. After graduating from the Temple Grove Seminary in Saratoga Springs, New York, in 1886, she returned to New Orleans and married George Stroud. She soon became an active exhibitor at the New Orleans Art Association. Her daughter Clara was born in 1890, but tragedy struck the young family around 1894 when George Stroud died. Ida, determined to forge her art career, moved to Brooklyn, New York, with a daughter and son in tow. Fortunately, her mother, Clara A. Wells, accompanied them and helped take care of the children so that Ida could attend classes under William M. Chase and the Art Students’ League.  The desire to study with Chase likely came from the urging of Ida’s friends, Marie Seebold Molinary [b.1876] and her husband, Andrés Molinary [1847-1915], who were among New Orlean’s distinguished portrait painters. After studying with Chase, Ida continued her training under Arthur Wesley Dow at the Pratt Institute, graduating in 1903, and earning her masters degree in 1905. For the next two years, she continued at Pratt as a teacher and at the same time taught in Newark at the Public Drawing School, or Free Drawing School, during the evenings.

In 1905, Ida and her family moved to East Orange, New Jersey, to be near the art school. For the next four decades, she was an energetic and devoted instructor of numerous students, many of whom went on to become very successful artists. In addition to being an accomplished watercolorist, Ida considered art education her life vocation and concentrated on teaching color, design, figure drawing, oil, and watercolor painting.

Ida was also a very active participant — and catalyst as a teacher — in the Arts & Crafts movement. She was especially drawn to ceramics. From 1921 to 1924, she spent her summers as Professor of Design at Syracuse University’s College of Fine Arts. Here, she became a close friend and student of the master ceramicist, Adelaide Robineau. Although Ida’s ceramics are very rare today, many are documented because she often used them as elements in the compositions of her watercolors.

Stroud was an active exhibiting member of the National Association of Women Artists, the American Watercolor Society, and other organizations including the New Orleans AA from 1896-1897, the Manasquan River Artist Group that she founded in 1932 and the Newark Art Club. During the 1910s, she was active in painting and exhibiting oils on canvas, but her concentration upon watercolors was growing. She was especially known for her floral watercolors, for which she won a number of awards at the exhibitions of the American Watercolor Society from 1907 through the 1930s. Ida, along with her daughter Clara Stroud, soon moved to the forefront of a nationwide movement during the first three decades of the 20th century that helped establish watercolor as a medium uniquely suited to the spirit of American artists.

In our horizontal composition, Harbor Scene, Stroud has depicted a charming scene as it unfolds on the waterfront, in bright impressionistic colors, primarily green, pink, purple, and yellow.  In the background we find a row of houses facing the waterfront, in a somber, gray palette that creates a stark visual contrast to the colorful scenery unfolding on the water.  Here we find a boat gently bobbing on the waves.  People sit in the boat, waiting for the rest of the company to enter and join them, before they go on, what appears to be, a sightseeing tour.  A few elegantly dressed women are still on their way down to the boat, and the captain is standing at the end of the stairs waiting to assist them.