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National Museum of Women in the Arts opens Wanderer: Travel Prints by Ellen Day Hale

The National Museum of Women in the Arts presents Wanderer: Travel Prints by Ellen Day Hale an exhibition on view Oct. 4, 2013 through Jan. 5, 2014. The exhibition features approximately 25 etchings by American artist Ellen Day Hale (1855–1940) as well as materials she used for the full printing process, including printing plates, transfer drawings and painted studies. Hale rose to prominence as a member of the Boston School of painting, a style influenced by French Impressionist and Barbizon painters, featuring vibrant color and mastery of light. Though renowned for her bold portrait paintings, Hale also played an active role in reviving the etching printmaking technique at the turn of the 20th century. After pursuing art training in Paris, Hale traveled extensively through Europe, the Middle East and America. The artist’s evocative landscape prints demonstrate a more contemplative mood than her bold painted portraits, which in 1887 earned a reviewer’s backhanded compliment of “display[ing] a man’s strength.” Drawn from NMWA’s collection, Wanderer: Travel Prints by Ellen Day Hale presents the artist’s intricately detailed etchings of the cities, landscapes and people that she encountered on her journeys.

Born in Worcester, Massachusetts, Hale displayed an early interest in drawing and was likely first taught by her aunt Susan Hale, a successful watercolorist and advocate for the advancement of women in the arts. Hale’s other accomplished family members included her father, Edward Everett Hale, an author and chaplain of the United States Senate, and her great-aunt Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

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