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Laura Coombs Hills

Yellow Dahlias

oil on canvas
24.5 x 21 inches
signed lower right

Provenance:
Private collection, Coral Gables, FL;
Private collection, Ridgefield, CT


Hills was compared to John Singer Sargent for the way she handled pigment with "dexterous swiftness, her likenesses an assurance and an apparent ease which are his, too. . . .Her mastery of her medium indeed is beyond comparison with any living painter except with Sargent himself." 

The gifted artist John White Alexander once said on looking at a miniature of Hills, "Never since Holbein-! and a silence more eloquent than words finished his sentence." (Scrib 67:384) 

Laura Hills was placed in the highest rank among artists who have distinguished themselves in miniature work in the United States. 

She was also known for larger works, mostly still lifes, done in pastel, watercolor and oil that demonstrate much of the same mastery and skill employed in her miniatures. Most of these works came later after she established herself as a miniature specialist and at a time when the visual ability needed to continue to do miniatures was failing her.  She did illustrations for Louis Prang and Company, designing valentines and other cards. 

She was elected an Associate of the National Academy of Design in 1906.  She became the first painter of miniatures elected to the Society of American Artists. 

Memberships included the Society of American Artists, 1897; Boston Watercolor Club; Copley Society, 1992; Guild of Boston Artists; ; American Federation of Arts and American Society of Miniature Painters, which she founded. 

During her life she won numerous awards including: Bronze medal, Paris Exposition., 1900; 2nd prize, Corcoran prize, Society of Washington Artists, 1901; silver medal, Charleston Exposition., 1902; gold medal, St. Louis Exposition., 1904; medal of honor, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, 1920 and others. 

Hills' work can be found in many important museums and public and private collections.  She never married and lived with a sister who kept house for her. She passed away in 1952.

 

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