Alice Brown Chittenden

Information and Paintings

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San Francisco Chronicle, December 1885

Features of the Ladies’ Art Exhibition

The Noteworthy Canvasses

A Creditable Display by the Feminine Artists of the City


The natural tendency of the feminine mind toward flower painting is largely illustrated by the mass of blooms which greets the eye on entering the Art Gallery of the Ladies’ Exhibition, and from which the occasional canvas of some artist, touched with the diviner inspiration of a higher subject, stands out with decisive individuality.

Flower painting is essentially and particularly the province of the drawing-room artist. There is a certain, delicate satisfaction to be gathered from this not too difficult phase of art. An honest effort in this direction, guided by talent, is apt to be encouraged by swift success. The clever amateur finds but few thorns in the attempt to put the wild rose on canvas, and with a skill in the use of color, a fair knowledge of drawing and some artistic taste in grouping, overcomes the intricacies of bramble, bush and briar without an expenditure of mental strength, without an effort at originality.

Alice Chittenden

Perhaps the most conspicuous picture at the Ladies’ Art Exhibition, and certainly the most conspicuously hung is Alice Chittenden’s “Chrysanthemums.” The artist has caught all the vivid color of chrysanthemums in their season of fullest bloom, has reveled in their gorgeous warmth, has tossed them in a great glowing mass against some tawny matting, toned them faintly by the juxtaposition of a somber jar, and bravely dispensed with the usual accessories of a round glass bowl and the edge of a marble-top table. Mrs. Chittenden’s work evinces great care and faithful devotion to drawing and color, but the aggressive brilliancy of her “Chrysanthemums” strikes the startled visitor with a thud, and one turns with relief to her quieter “Magnolia,” which only lacks the fragrance of life.


Source: San Francisco Main Library