Daniel Santry (1858-1915)

Daniel Santry (1858-1915)

The son of Irish immigrants, Daniel Santry was born in Roxbury, Massachusetts, and went to work after middle school to help support his family. By the age of eighteen, he knew he wanted to become an artist and soon after began his training through inexpensive evening classes in the Boston area. He was encouraged by the words of Benjamin Champney, an important artist-mentor, who advised students to “save up…and go to Paris. It is and always will be the best place to study art and meet with artists of great renown.”[1]

[1] As quoted in Kristiansen, Rolf H., and Leahy, John J., Rediscovering Some New England Artists 1875-1900 (Dedham, Massachusetts: Gardner-O’Brien Associates, 1987) p. 59

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Santry departed for France at the end of 1881 and within a few months encountered the work of the Impressionists in a March 1882 exhibit at the gallery of M. Durand Ruel. The display of Monets, Renoirs, Sisleys and Pissarros energized the young American. The latter was of particular interest to Santry; he spent years following Pissarro and participating in summer classes taught by the master near his family home in Pontoise.  In 1885, a cholera epidemic forced Santry to flee to the countryside town of St. Servan, where he traded paintings with local inn keepers for food and lodging. During that time he toured many of the locations Pissarro had painted, including the Marne River, the Oise, Voisine, and Pontoise. Finally, in 1886, he exhibited one of his countryside paintings at the Paris Salon, cementing his purpose in life.

Upon his return to Boston in 1889, Santry established a studio at 12 West Street and joined the Boston Art Club, where he showed between 1889 and 1891. Success and buyers for his paintings, however, were difficult to find. He ventured to Franconia, New Hampshire, in the White Mountains in 1892 and was inspired by the sweeping views and plethora of subject matter available in the region. Gradually his reputation as a landscape painter began to grow as tourists seeking mementos from their stay eagerly purchased his work. Santry became the first Artist-in-Residence at the new Mount Washington Hotel when it opened its doors in 1902, and continued to sell his work to visitors and other hotels throughout the White Mountains. Sadly, he fell ill and passed away in May 1915 at a relatively young age, but left an indelible impression on the Franconia region.

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