A rediscovered trove of 19th-century correspondence and artworks has yielded a lively biography published by the journalist and historian Eve M. Kahn. “Forever Seeing New Beauties: The Forgotten Impressionist Mary Rogers Williams, 1857–1907” (Wesleyan University Press) is based on letters, sketches, journals, and paintings that surfaced in a Connecticut boathouse in 2012.
Williams, a baker’s daughter from Hartford, ran Smith College’s art department while spending summers crisscrossing Europe by train, carriage, and bicycle. She socialized with Albert Pinkham Ryder in New York and trained with James McNeill Whistler in Paris.
Her paintings, exhibited at venues from Paris to Indianapolis, were praised by critics, but after her untimely death, she fell into deep obscurity.
This book documents the artist’s fierce opinions and reproduces her pastels and paintings of everyday marvels, from cottages mirrored in Norwegian fjords to Italian church altars swathed in incense.
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