The Crimson Rambler

Philip Leslie Hale

The Crimson Rambler


Philip Leslie Hale (1865-1931)


ca. 1908


Oil on canvas


25 1/4 x 30 3/16 in. (64.135 x 76.67625 cm.); framed: 36 1/8 x 41 1/2 x 3 in. (91.7575 x 105.41 x 7.62 cm.)

Accession #:


Credit Line:

Joseph E. Temple Fund


Born into a prominent Boston family, Hale studied at Boston's School of the Museum of Fine Arts and New York's Art Students League before attending the Ecole des Beaux Arts and the Académie Julian in Paris. Although both French schools trained artists in the academic tradition, Hale was drawn to Impressionism. His experimentation with this new mode of painting was strengthened by his friendship with a fellow American painter, Theodore Butler, who was Claude Monet's son-in-law. Hale returned to Boston in 1890 and developed a reputation as a highly influential art critic, author, and teacher, regarded as the de facto leader of the "Boston School" of Impressionists. Hale was a member of the Pennsylvania Academy's faculty and played a critical role in introducing Impressionism to Philadelphia.

"The Crimson Rambler," purchased after its exhibition in the 1909 Pennsylvania Academy annual, is typical of Hale's impressionist style, with its linear treatment of the figure in a freely brushed setting of light and color. Hale's specialization in visions of idle, decorative women of fragile, "floral" beauty has been interpreted as a visual response to his objection to the women's suffrage movement. It was painted at the home Hale shared with his wife, the painter Lilian Westcott Hale, in the Boston suburb of Dedham; the couple's daughter Nancy has identified the sitter as Rose Zeffler.

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