Anna Lea Merritt

Anna Massey Lea Merritt; American painter. Painted portraits, landscapes and religious scenes and etchings. Born in Philadelphia but lived and worked in England for most of her life. Merritt worked as a professional artist for most of her adult life, 'living by her brush' before her brief marriage to Henry Merritt and after his death.

...In 1900, Merritt wrote that she felt she had not faced much if any discrimination because of her gender, but noted the social pressures which could inhibit a female artist's career, concluding:

“The chief obstacle to a woman's success is that she can never have a wife. Just reflect what a wife does for an artist: Darns the stockings; keeps his house; writes his letters; visits for his benefit; wards off intruders; is personally suggestive of beautiful pictures; always an encouraging and partial critic.
It is exceedingly difficult to be an artist without this time-saving help. A husband would be quite useless."

Versatile artist and writer Anna Lea Merritt, influenced by the Pre-Raphaelite painters, created a wide range of artwork, including murals, portraiture, and etchings.

Born to an affluent Quaker family, Merritt attended politically progressive schools and studied classics, languages, mathematics, and music with private tutors. Initially, she was a self-taught painter, but later she studied anatomy at the Women’s Medical College in Philadelphia. After moving to Europe with her family in 1865, she took art lessons with various masters in Italy, Germany, and France.

The artist settled in London, where her teacher, the British painter and picture restorer Henry Merritt, became her mentor and, in April 1877, her husband.... In addition, she published articles about mural painting, gardening, and the obstacles facing woman artists.
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First Collected by

Suzan Hamer


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