Henry McCarter

One of the earliest faculty members to reflect a modernist sensibility, Henry McCarter was affiliated with Pennsylvania Academy for almost forty-five years. As an Academy student, he studied under Thomas Eakins, but Eakin's emphasis on realism alienated the dreamy McCarter. More influential was McCarter's study in Paris in the late 1880s with such artists as Pierre Puvis de Chavannes and Léon Bonnat, and his apprenticeship in the lithography workshop of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. McCarter was fascinated by myth and mysticism and spent nine months at Trinity College in Dublin studying Irish folklore and the ninth-century illuminated Book of Kells. Returning to America, he became on of New York's most sought-after magazine illustrators. In 1900, McCarter was asked by Harrison Morris to teach an illustration class at the Academy, and he remained as an instructor until his death forty years later. Many of McCarter's foremost artistic concerns - experimentation with non literal color, attention to light effects, desire to visually represent sound - are evidence of his modernist mindset. His openness to new ideas influenced his students, who included important American modernists Arthur B, Carles and Charles Demuth. McCarter's beautiful draftsmanship, his love of the fantastic, his regard for the vibrant colors of Gauguin and Matisse, and his study of illuminated manuscripts can all be seen clearly in "Symphony."
Date of Birth
by 1915
Oil on canvas
103 3/8 x 100 3/8 in. (262.6 x 255.0 cm.)
Accession #
Credit Line
Gift of Mrs. Henry Clifford