Anna Eliza Hardy (1839-1934)

Anna Eliza Hardy (1839-1934)

Daughter of portrait artist Jeremiah Pearson Hardy, Anna Eliza Hardy was born and raised in Bangor, Maine, and began painting at the age of sixteen under the guidance of her father. Hardy shared her father’s studio, producing portraits and eventually the gem-like still lifes and garden scenes for which she is best known. She briefly studied in Paris with still life specialist Georges Jeannin and also ventured to the New Hampshire to study with Abbott Handerson Thayer, but her father remained her primary influence and mentor. 

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Anna and her father shared a love of painting as well as an appreciation for the natural world. As the Reverend John S. Sewall related in a chapter on the Hardys in Leaflets on Artists, published in 1893, Jeremiah found delight in spending hours tending the family’s garden in Bangor while his daughter spent years steadfastly devoted to painting the blooms cultivated from it: “Her subjects are roses and carnations, mayflowers, chrysanthemums and violets, and whatever else is most lovely and picturesque in the flora of the fields and gardens around her….Her lifelong study of every variety of blossom within reach had given her both a botanical and an artistic knowledge of her subjects. Absolute fidelity to nature is the conscientious motto of her work and accordingly her flowers seem almost the originals rather than their ‘counterfeit presentment.’”[1] 

Hardy never married and remained in Bangor for most of her life. She exhibited paintings in Boston at Doll and Richards Gallery and at the Boston Art Club from 1889 until 1909, and supplemented her income by teaching. She also exhibited paintings at the National Academy of Design, and today her work can be found in the collections of the Colby College Museum of Art and the Bangor Public Library.

 

[1] “Jeremiah Pearson Hardy and Anna E. Hardy,” by the Reverend John S. Sewall, D.D. Leaflets of Artists (Bangor, ME: John H. Bacon, 1893), pp 4-14.

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