1872 - 1968
Mary Foote (1872 - 1968) began her life in Guilford, Connecticut. Orphaned at the age of twelve, she was taken-in by Samuel Clemens's Family. Her associations and talent led her to the prestigious Yale Art School. In 1894 ,Mary was awarded the Winchester Prize which took her to Paris. She worked and studied in France for seven years, becoming involved with a celebrated crowd of artists including John Singer Sargent, James McNeil Whistler, Frederick MacMonnies, Ellen Emmet, Cecelia Beaux, and Mabel Dodge. Artists as well as patrons admired her dazzling brushwork and sat for her on numerous occasions. In 1901 she returned to New York City to set up a studio on Washington Square where she earned a comfortable living from her portrait commissions; her list of clients reads as a Who's Who of the art scene of her day.
In 1927, suffering from ill health, Mary Foote suddenly closed down her studio and retired to Europe. Her disappearance from the art world is only one reason her work has not been widely seen. Much of her portraiture has been held or passed on in private family collections far from the public's eye. Mary Foote's prominence as an integral part of the American art community, during one of it's most productiove periods, is now being rightfully acknowledged.
Mary Foote painted a wide range of subjects including portraits, figures, florals, and landscapes. She handled them all with skill and virtuosity, a versatility demonstrated by few others and worthy of note. There can be no doubt that the art world prematurely lost a talented contributor. What Mary Foote produced was awe inspiring. What she could have produced over a lifetime devoted to painting would have placed her among the top painters that we revere today.