Elenore Abbott

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Elenore Abbott
Born Elenore Plaisted
Lincoln, Maine, United States
Died 1935
Nationality American
Education Philadelphia School of Design for Women, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Drexel Institute
Known for Illustration, scenic design, painting
Movement Art Nouveau[1]
Spouse(s) C. Yarnall Abbott
Elenore Abbott, Illustration for The Two Brothers
Elenore Abbott, Illustration from The Two Kings' Children in Grimms' Fairy Tales, 1920 Charles Scribner's Sons edition.
Elenore Abbott, Illustration for The Shoes that Were Danced to Pieces. Grimm's Fairy Tales. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1920.

Elenore Plaisted Abbott (1875 – 1935) was an American Art Nouveau book illustrator, scenic designer, and painter. She illustrated early 20th-century editions of Grimm's Fairy Tales, Robinson Crusoe, Kidnapped and other books.

Early life and education[edit]

Born Elenore Plaisted in Lincoln, Maine, Abbott studied art at three institutions: Philadelphia School of Design for Women and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and in Paris, France, the Académie des Beaux-Arts,[2] were her work was also exhibited.[3]

She moved back to Philadelphia in 1899. She studied with Howard Pyle at the Drexel Institute. Pyle was a major influence on Abbott, and she acknowledged, later in her life, that she created her favorite pieces under his tutelage.[2]

Mid-life and career[edit]

She married lawyer and artist C. Yarnall Abbott in 1907 and the couple lived in Rose Valley, Pennsylvania after 1911.[2] Her husband designed the house, with two separate studios, that the family lived in.[4]

They had one daughter, Marjorie. After Elenore's sister, also named Marjorie, died, the family took in her daughters, Sonya and Elenore.[2]

Abbott, known for her book illustrations, was also a landscape and portrait painter and scenic designer.[3]

As an illustrator she produced work for Harper's Magazine, the Saturday Evening Post,[2] and Scribner's.[2][5] Abbott created illustrations for Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island and Kidnapped, Johann David Wyss's Swiss Family Robinson, Louisa May Alcott's Old Fashioned Girl, and the Grimm's Fairy Tales. Her illustrations were based on photographs, which she would take and then use to produce images, including paintings.[2]

"Elenore Abbott loves her fairy tales, and no child who receives such a book will be disappointed... Elenore Abbott is not on the surface a clever artist; her active, vigorous yet idealist’s mind is brought into subjection and guides the long sensitive fingers that hold the water color brush." -Evan Nagel Wolf, 1919[2]

Abbott was a member of Philadelphia's "The Plastic Club", an organization established to promote "Art for art's sake", which included Jessie Wilcox Smith, Violet Oakley, Elizabeth Shippen Green.[6] These women were identified as the New Woman. As educational opportunities were made more available in the 19th-century, women artists became part of professional enterprises, including founding their own art associations. Artwork made by women was considered to be inferior, and to help overcome that stereotype women became "increasingly vocal and confident" in promoting women's work, and thus became part of the emerging image of the educated, modern and freer "New Woman".[7] Artists the, "played crucial roles in representing the New Woman, both by drawing images of the icon and exemplifying this emerging type through their own lives." In the late 19th-century and early 20th century about 88% of the subscribers of 11,000 magazines and periodicals were women. As women entered the artist community, publishers hired women to create illustrations that depict the world through a woman's perspective. Other successful illustrators were Jennie Augusta Brownscombe and Rose O'Neill.[8]

Abbott did scenic design for the Hedgerow Theatre, including work for The Emperor Jones.[2] Abbott was a member of the Philadelphia Water Color Club. Her works are in the Brandywine Museum in Pennsylvania.[3]

She co-founded the Rose Valley swimming pool, in 1928, which was housed on land donated by the Abbotts and financed with money from paintings that Abbott sold.[2]



Watercolor paintings[edit]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Exhibited in the 1916 Philadelphia Water Color Exhibition.


  1. ^ "Quick Facts and Keywords for Elenore Abbott". Elenore Plaisted Abbott. AskArt. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "The Artists post 1911". The Artists. Rose Valley Museum and Historical Society. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c Elenore Plaisted Abbott. The Artists Post 1911, Rose Valley Museum and Historical Society. Retrieved March 5, 2014.
  4. ^ C. Yarnall Abbott. The Artists Post 1911, Rose Valley Museum and Historical Society. Retrieved March 5, 2014.
  5. ^ Library of Congress. Copyright Office. Catalog of Copyright Entries. Part 4. Works of Art, Etc. New Series. 1919. p. 270.
  6. ^ Jill P. May; Robert E. May; Howard Pyle. Howard Pyle: Imagining an American School of Art. University of Illinois Press; 2011. ISBN 978-0-252-03626-2. p. 89.
  7. ^ Laura R. Prieto. At Home in the Studio: The Professionalization of Women Artists in America. Harvard University Press; 2001. ISBN 978-0-674-00486-3. pp. 145–146.
  8. ^ Laura R. Prieto. At Home in the Studio: The Professionalization of Women Artists in America. Harvard University Press; 2001. ISBN 978-0-674-00486-3. p. 160–161.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h Philadelphia Water Color Club. Philadelphia Water Color Exhibition Catalogue. 1916. p. 46, 48, 49, 50.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]