Paul King (1867-1947)

Paul King (1867-1947)

Paul King was born in Buffalo, New York, and began his career as a lithographer while still in his teens when he was apprenticed to a local firm. He later studied at the Art Students League of Buffalo, and from 1901 until 1904 was enrolled at the Art Students League of New York under Harry Siddons Mowbray. While working as an illustrator to put himself through school, King contributed to Harper’s and Life magazines. He departed for Holland in 1905 to continue his education and spent two years studying under Willy Sluiter, Evert Pieters and Bernard Blommers, before returning to America and settling in Philadelphia. Thereafter he was an active exhibitor at the foremost art associations of the day, including the National Academy of Design, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the Corcoran Gallery, and also showed with the Boston Art Club and both Grand Central Art Galleries and Ferargil Galleries in New York City. He received several major prizes throughout his distinguished career, was a member of the Salmagundi Club, the Artist’s Fund Society and the Allied Artists of America, and became a full National Academician in 1933.

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King’s paintings typically captured scenes of everyday life, ranging from portraits and illustrations to landscapes and coastal views, and were admired for their superb draftsmanship and appreciation for color, form, and light. These elements are best described by an article in the New York Post in 1923: “Paul King is showing paintings at the Ferargil Galleries that are an interesting combination of sturdy realism with a pervading sensitiveness to the atmospheric quality of scenes. The broad handling of his themes gives vigor to the simplicity of his composition, but there is also a swift revelation of unexpected depth, a subtle emotional value that gives a particular richness and charm to these canvases.” In addition to his active exhibition schedule, King became involved in civic matters on a local and national level. He served on the board of the Philadelphia School of Design for Women between 1908 and 1921, was its acting President from 1915 until 1918, and worked on camouflage for the United States Navy during World War I.

In the early 1920s, after almost fifteen years in Philadelphia, King moved to Stony Brook, Long Island, but continued finding inspiration for his landscapes throughout the Northeast. In 1924, he joined fellow painters Edward Potthast, Glenn Newell and Robert Nisbet for a group exhibition at the Lake Placid Club, a retreat for educators founded in 1895 which gradually developed into a recreational destination for artists, writers and other influential members of society. King became a member himself, kept a summer studio for the next few years, and occasionally stayed for the colder months as well, as his son was an accomplished skier and athlete. King would also give art lessons to members’ children and organize shows of his work and those of other visiting artists, all the while continuing to participate in national exhibitions. 

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