Biographical / Historical
Painter, printer, and art teacher Gabrielle de Veaux Clements (1858-1948) lived and worked in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Baltimore, Maryland; and Folly Cove near Gloucester, Massachusetts. She was known for her etchings and her commissioned murals for the cities of Baltimore and Washington, D.C.
Clements was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to physician Richard Clements and his wife, Gabrielle De Vaux. Her interest in art was supported by her family and, at the age of seventeen, she began studying lithography with the designer Charles Page at the Philadelphia School of Design for Women. After graduating in 1880 from Cornell University, where she had produced a number of scientific drawings and lithographs, Clements studied with painter Thomas Eakins at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and won the school's Toppan Prize. In 1883, Clements was introduced to etching techniques by the artist Stephen Parrish and began exhibiting and printing her works professionally.
In 1884, Clements traveled abroad to Paris to study at the Academie Julian where she was joined in 1885 by fellow painter and future lifelong companion Ellen Day Hale. Upon returning to her Philadelphia studio in 1885, Clements taught other female artists, including Margaret Bush-Brown, and exhibited in numerous institutions, including the National Academy of Design and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. In 1895, Clements moved to Baltimore to teach art at the newly established Bryn Mawr School, where she remained until 1908. During her tenure in Baltimore, she was commissioned by the Bendann Galleries to etch nine views of Baltimore and also painted five church murals in Washington, D.C., which led to subsequent murals in Detroit, Philadelphia, and Chicago.
Clements and Hale frequently traveled abroad, visiting France, Italy, Egypt, Syria, and Palestine, and spent summers at "The Thickets," the house they purchased in the artists' colony at Folly Cove. During World War I, they wintered in Charleston, South Carolina where they opened their studios to young female artists and taught innovative etching, painting, and color printmaking techniques. After the war, they again opened their studios in Folly Cove to young artists and continued to teach and experiment with soft-ground etching and aquatints in color. This work was highlighted in special exhibitions at the J.B. Speed Art Museum and the Smithsonian Institution. Clements died in Rockport, Massachusetts in 1948.