Elizabeth Roberts

1871 - 1927

Gratz Gallery Outside

Elizabeth Roberts

Mainly a landscape and seascape painter, Elizabeth Roberts was the only child of wealthy Philadelphia parents. She began her art education in 1888 with Henry Rankin Poore and Elisabeth Fern Bonsall at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, where she won the Mary Smith Prize in 1889. That same year she moved to Paris to study at the Academie Julian, principally under Jules Lefebvre. She remained in France for 10 years.

Roberts returned to the U.S. in 1898, and with her companion Grace Keyes, divided her time between New York and New England, finally settling in Concord MA in 1908. She and fellow Concord artists Daniel Chester French and Mary Abbott founded in 1916 the Concord Art Association, where she organized exhibitions of contemporaries' work.

By 1922 she hired woman architect Lois Howe to renovate the Jonathan Ball House in Concord for a permanent home for the Association, and its first show there in 1923 included works by noted artists John Singer Sargent, Claude Monet, Robert Henri and Mary Cassatt.

Roberts also spent time at West Gloucester, Massachusetts and the Cape Ann village of Annisquam. Here she produced some of her most characteristic work, serene, sunlit beach scenes with subtle harmonious colors.

During her career she exhibited widely including at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Society of American Artists, and the Seattle Fine Arts Society. Memberships were numerous, from the Philadelphia Ten (1922), PAFA (Assoc. Fellow), The Group (Boston), Concord AA (founder), North Shore AA, Provincetown AA, to NAC, Allied Artists of America and La Societe Internationale des Arts ay des Lettres.

Roberts suffered from depression during her later years, and in 1925 she was hospitalized for this condition. When told she had to give up painting, her despair caused her, age 56, to hang herself. She left two million dollars to her companion Grace Keyes and the building in Concord Center to serve as a showplace for the Concord Art Association.

Source: Askart.com