Emily M. Selinger (1848-1927)

Emily M. Selinger (1848-1927)

Accomplished flower painter, author and poet Emily Selinger was an active figure in Boston’s artistic circles at the end of the nineteenth century. Born in Wilmington, North Carolina, in 1848, she first studied painting at the Cooper Institute in New York before traveling to abroad to continue her education in Florence with Amalia Rocchi and in Holland with Margaretha Roosenboom.

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In 1882, Emily married artist Jean Paul Selinger and together they took an extended trip through Europe, during which time she sent letters and poems back home for publication in the Boston Evening Transcript. Upon returning to Boston, they established a studio at 711 Boylston Street which soon became a gathering place for colorful artists, musicians, and performers. Both Selingers exhibited with the Boston Art Club and while Jean painted portraits and landscapes, Emily became known for her still lifes and was praised for her sensitive renditions of flowers. 

From 1883 until Jean Paul’s death in 1909, the Selingers summered in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, first residing at the Glen House in Pinkham Notch before taking over Frank Shapleigh’s position as artist-in-residence at the Crawford House in 1894. Even after Jean’s passing, Emily, christened the “Queen of American Flower Painters”[1] by the French-born still life artist Paul de Longpré, was a familiar presence in Crawford Notch, exhibiting her watercolors and florals alongside the work of her late husband.

References: Falk, Who Was Who in American Art; Charles and Emily Vogel, “Jean Paul and Emily Selinger,” Historical New Hampshire 34, no. 2 (Summer 1979): 125-143. NAJ/CSK 36582

[1] “New Hampshire Painters: Artists Whose White Mountain Landscapes Brought Fame, and Others.” New York Times. August 4, 1912.

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