Lewis, Edmund Darch, 1835-1910
Edmund Darch Lewis was one of the most popular of the Philadelphia landscape painters and one of the best artists of Narragansett Bay, particularly in capturing the Victorian heyday of the Towers and grand casino of Narragansett Pier. A student of Paul Weber from 1850 to 1855, Lewis exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Boston Athenaeum, the National Academy of Design, and the Boston Art Club. In the second half of the Nineteenth century he was one of America’s premier watercolorists.
Employed briefly in Narragansett, Rhode Island by a photographer to touch up photos, he also painted original watercolor works prolifically, sometimes three a day. One of the most traveled artists of his day, Lewis painted scenes of Boston; New York City; Lake Placid, Lake George, the Adirondacks, Catskills, and Hudson River Valley of New York; the Saco River in Maine; the Green Mountains of Vermont; White Mountains of New Hampshire; the Shenandoah River in Virginia; Monterey, California, Italy; Cuba; the West Indies; and other locations. By the mid 1870s, Lewis had turned increasingly to watercolor seascapes and yachting subjects. The artist frequently visited the home of his brother-in-law in Narragansett, Rhode Island and the Narragansett Bay became his most painted subject throughout the remainder of his career. Goat Island, Conanicut Island, Newport, and the Casino at Narragansett Pier were among his favorite Rhode Island subjects. Lewis’s watercolors of resorts and yacht races–many with a Rhode Island setting–are part of the broader fin-de-siecle artistic interest in leisurely subjects executed in watercolors, pastels, and prints–known in artistic circles as “the genteel media.”
– Albert T. Klyberg, L.H.D.