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Elliott Daingerfield


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Painter. Also a poet and art writer. Dedicated to revealing spiritual truths through art, he aspired to this goal in disparate subjects, including landscapes, mysterious figural allegories, and still lifes. Stylistically, too, his work shows considerable variety, ranging from relatively straightforward, romantically tinged description to imaginative fantasy. Particularly in his late, memory-laden landscapes, he achieved richly expressive brushwork, often heavily scumbled and luxuriantly hued. A leading spokesman for contemporary tonalist and romantic painting, Daingerfield published monographs on George Inness (1911) and Ralph Blakelock (1914), as well as many articles. Born in Harper's Ferry, Virginia (now West Virginia), he grew up in Fayetteville, North Carolina. After preliminary art studies in the South, in 1880 he arrived in New York. He worked with figure painter Walter Satterlee (1844–1908), studied intermittently at the Art Students League, and became acquainted with Inness. He did not pursue rigorous formal training, however, and until 1897 did not visit Europe. Grounded in admiration for the Barbizon approach and for Inness's work, his painting of the 1880s focused on rural genre, which elicited comparisons with Jean-François Millet's French peasant subjects, along with landscape, a preoccupation throughout his career. From 1886 many views reflect the topography of North Carolina's scenic Blue Ridge Mountains around Blowing Rock, where he subsequently maintained a home. During the 1890s he painted religious subjects and began to create mysterious visions, suggesting the appeal of symbolism. In late 1910 the first of several visits to the Grand Canyon initiated a series of expressive interpretations of the area's dramatic scenery, as well as symbolic inventions incorporating figural elements. Also in the 1910s and into the early 1920s, he continued to paint intimate views, such as the glowingly poetic Sunset Glory (also known as Carolina Sunlight; Morris Museum of Art, Augusta, Georgia, c. 1915). In its free brushwork, ornamental patterning, and luminous glow, it intensifies the mystical power of Inness's late landscapes. A second trip abroad, in 1924, produced a number of scenes inspired by Venetian motifs. The following year, his health began to fail, curtailing his ability to paint. He died in his New York studio. Figurative sculptor Marjorie Daingerfield (1900–1977), his daughter, worked in marble and bronze. Born in New York, she trained there at Solon Borglum's school and the Grand Central School of Art. She became the wife of J. Louis Lundean.

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