Daniel Garber (1880-1958)
One of the two most important and, so far, the most valuable of the New Hope School Painters, Daniel Garber was born on April 11, 1880, in North Manchester, Indiana. At the age of seventeen, he studied at the Art Academy of Cincinnati with Vincent Nowottny. Moving to Philadelphia in 1899, he first attended classes at the "Darby School," near Fort Washington; a summer school run by Academy instructors Anshutz and Breckenridge. Later that year, he enrolled at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. His instructors at the Academy included Thomas Anshutz, William Merritt Chase and Cecilia Beaux. There Garber met fellow artist Mary Franklin while she was posing as a model for the portrait class of Hugh Breckenridge. After a two year courtship, Garber married Mary Franklin on June 21, 1901.
In May 1905, Garber was awarded the William Emlen Cresson Scholarship from the Pennsylvania Academy, which enabled him to spend two years for independent studies in England, Italy and France. He painted frequently while in Europe, creating a powerful body of colorful impressionist landscapes depicting various rural villages and farms scenes; exhibiting several of these works in the Paris Salon.
Upon his return, Garber began to teach Life and Antique Drawing classes at the Philadelphia School of Design for Women in 1907. In the summer of that same year, Garber and family settled in Lumbertville, Pennsylvania, a small town just north of New Hope. Their new home would come to be known as the "Cuttalossa," named after the creek which occupied part of the land. The family would divide the year, living six months in Philadelphia at the Green Street townhouse while he taught, and the rest of the time in Lambertville. Soon Garber’s career would take off as he began to receive a multitude of prestigious awards for his masterful Pennsylvania landscapes. During the fall of 1909, he was offered a position to teach at the Pennsylvania Academy as an assistant to Thomas Anshutz. Garber became an important instructor at the Academy, where he taught for forty-one years.
Daniel Garber painted masterful landscapes depicting the Pennsylvania and New Jersey countryside surrounding New Hope. Unlike his contemporary, Edward Redfield, Garber painted with a delicate technique using a thin application of paint. His paintings are filled with color and light projecting a feeling of endless depth. Although Like Redfield, Garber painted large exhibition size canvases with the intent of winning medals, and was extremely successful doing so, he was also very adept at painting small gem like paintings. He was also a fine draftsman creating a relatively large body of works on paper, mostly in charcoal, and a rare few works in pastel. Another of Garber’s many talents was etching. He created a series of approximately fifty different scenes, most of which are run in editions of fifty or less etchings per plate.
Throughout his distinguished career, Daniel Garber was awarded some of the highest honors bestowed upon an American artist. Some of his accolades include the First Hallgarten Prize from the National Academy in 1909, the Bronze Medal at the International Exposition in Buenos Aires in 1910, the Walter Lippincott Prize from the Pennsylvania Academy and the Potter Gold Medal at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1911, the Second Clark Prize and the Silver Medal from the Corcoran Gallery of Art for “Wilderness” in 1912, the Gold Medal from the Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco of 1915, the Second Altman Prize in1915, the Shaw prize in 1916, the First Altman Prize in 1917, the Edward Stotesbury Prize in1918, the Temple Gold Medal, in 1919, the First William A. Clark Prize in 1921, the Gold Medal from the Philadelphia Art Club in 1923, the Carnegie Institute Bronze Medal in 1924, the Gold Medal of Honor in 1929, the Jenny Sesnan Gold Medal in 1937, the Pennell Medal in 1942, and the Pennsylvania Academy Fellowship Award in1947 among many others.
Daniel Garber and Edward Redfield are known by most art enthusiasts as the two leading figures associated with the New Hope Art Colony. This is a correct assessment, but in the broader scope, as key figures in twentieth century American Art, their importance is equally paramount. As this group, once considered regional, secures it’s place in history, painters like Garber and Redfield are destined to be considered the true American Masters by the international art world.
Garber's work is included in nearly thirty museum collections nationally and this number is growing. He is also the first of the "New Hope School" painters to exceed the million dollar mark at auction which occurred in 2003.
Source: New Hope for American Art, James M. Alterman