Frederick Stone Batcheller (1837-1889)

Frederick Stone Batcheller (1837-1889)

Born in 1837, Frederick Stone Batcheller trained as a marble cutter during his youth and produced marble busts while employed with the Tingley Brothers stone yards of his native Providence, Rhode Island. By the early 1860s, however, he had turned his attention to painting, concentrating on the still lifes and landscapes for which he is today best remembered. His still life subjects varied from traditional tabletop fruit and floral arrangements to those set in the natural world. While the majority of his paintings captured inanimate objects, those featuring various wildlife in their habitat, such as butterflies, squirrels and birds, seem to tell a story and relate a sense of communion with the natural world. 

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Although prone to occasional bouts of melancholy, Batcheller remained active with Providence art circles and was admired by his fellow painters. Along with Marcus Waterman and James Morgan Lewin, he was a member of a lively group of artists that called themselves “The Group of 1855” and helped promote the city’s cultural and artistic endeavors.  In 1880, Batcheller and several colleagues, including Sydney Burleigh and George William Whitaker, founded the Providence Art Club and began organizing exhibitions where artists, amateur painters and collectors could connect with fellow enthusiasts. Batcheller participated regularly in the Club’s shows and was singled out by critics: “F. S. Batcheller is improving in his still life pictures: the crisp melon, the juicy orange, the brilliant peach, the rough barked nut, and the luscious bloom-covered grapes, never had a more honest and faithful exponent.” [1] The artist passed away in March of 1889 and in November of that year the Providence Art Club held a memorial exhibition in his honor featuring over one hundred examples lent by family members and numerous private collectors.

References: See Providence Daily Post [1860] (undated newspaper clipping, Vose Galleries records); for biographical information, see Groce and Wallace; Gerdts and Burke, American Still-Life Paintings (Praeger, 1971).‚Äč

[1] Uncited Providence news article (Vose Galleries archives)

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