Henry Fitch Taylor

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Henry Fitch Taylor
Henry Fitch Taylor circa 1900
Henry Fitch Taylor circa 1900, from the Archives of American Art
Died(1925-09-10)September 10, 1925[1]
Spouse(s)Clara Sidney Potter Davidge
Figure with Guitar II, 1914, Smithsonian American Art Museum
Memorandum certifying Henry Fitch Taylor as Secretary of the Association of American Painters and Sculptors, July 3, 1914, from the Archives of American Art

Henry Fitch Taylor (1853–1925) was an American painter who was to become the oldest among the generation of American artists who responded to and explored Cubism. Taylor served as the first president of the American Association of Artists and Painters (AAPS), the organization which mounted the 1913 Armory Show; he later stepped aside from that role in favor of Arthur B. Davies, but continued to serve as trustee and secretary of AAPS.[2][3]


He was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1853. He studied at the Académie Julian, in Paris, and in 1885 went to Barbizon to paint.[2] He returned to America in either 1888 or in 1889, and established his studio in New York City.

Between 1898 and 1908 he resided in Cos Cob, Connecticut. He was part of the Cos Cob Art Colony,[4] where did some painting but did not show his work. Among his visitors there were John Twachtman, Childe Hassam, Willa Cather, Arthur B. Davies, George Luks, and Walt Kuhn; many of these acquaintances would come to play an important role in Taylor's life as an artist.[2]

He married Clara Sidney Potter Davidge, the daughter of Bishop Henry Codman Potter, in 1912. They moved to her estate on Staten Island.[5]

Armory Show[edit]

As reported by Jerome Myers in his autobiography Artist In Manhattan[6]

Elmer MacRae and I formed the "Pastelist's Society," for the showing of intimate drawings and pastels. Without our realizing it then, this society was to have important consequences for the subsequent course of American art. Some time afterwards in the Madison Gallery, of which Henry Fitch Taylor was the director, Walt Kuhn, Elmer MacRae and I were exhibiting our work. As passengers on a ship are thrown together and become friendly, so in our voyage through a two week exhibition, time was not lacking to talk shop. Walt Kuhn said to me, "Myers, you and MacRae have done so well with your 'Pastelist's Society,' why can't we get together on a scheme for a large exhibition?" So we agreed to talk it over at my studio nearby, at 7 West 42nd Street in the McHugh Building, across the street from the New York Public Library. (Date: December 14, 1911) There our first meeting was held (Kuhn, MacRae, Taylor, Myers) and a tentative list of members was made up which finally resulted in the organization of the "Association of American Painters and Sculptors." As Walt Kuhn says in his commemorative pamphlet, The Story of the Armory Show: "The group of four men who first set the wheels in motion had no idea of the magnitude to which their early longings would lead."

In the 1913 Armory Show three of Taylor's paintings were shown: "Omen," "Prostitution," and "Dusk Of Morning."[7]

A 1921 Tragedy[edit]

In 1921 Taylor's wife drowned. The New York Times headline: "Bishop Potter's Daughter Drowns. Body of Mrs. Henry Fitch Taylor Discovered in Marsh Near Her Long Island Home. Had A Spinal Ailment. Belief Is That She Fell Into the Mud and Could Not Free Herself."[8]


Taylor died on September 10, 1925, in Plainfield, New Hampshire.[1]


  1. ^ a b "New Hampshire, Death and Burial Records Index, 1654-1949". Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  2. ^ a b c "Henry Fitch Taylor". Sheldon Museum of Art. Retrieved 31 January 2013.
  3. ^ "1913 Armory Show: The Story in Primary Sources". Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 1 February 2013.
  4. ^ "Henry Fitch Taylor". Ask Art. Retrieved 2009-02-16. Henry Fitch Taylor, born in Cincinnati in 1853, was the oldest American artist to experiment with modernist painting. He studied at the Académie Julian, in Paris, beginning 1884 and also worked at Barbizon, possibly encouraged to go to France by Joseph Jefferson whose popular performing troupe Taylor had joined.
  5. ^ "Mrs. Davidge Wife Of Artist Taylor. Eldest Daughter of Bishop Potter Married to Henry Fitch Taylor on March 20". New York Times. March 29, 1913. Retrieved 2011-11-15. Mrs. Clara Sidney Davidge, the eldest daughter of the late Bishop Henry Codman Potter, was quietly married on Thursday, March 20, to Henry Fitch Taylor
  6. ^ Myers, Jerome (1940). Artist in Manhattan. American Artists Group.
  7. ^ Milton W. Brown, The Story Of The Armory Show, The Joseph H. Hirshhorn Foundation, New York Graphics Society 1955.
  8. ^ "Bishop Potter's Daughter Drowns. Body of Mrs. Henry Fitch Taylor Discovered in Marsh Near Her Long Island Home. Had A Spinal Ailment. Belief Is That She Fell Into the Mud and Could Not Free Herself" (PDF). New York Times. November 8, 1921. Retrieved 2009-08-10. The body of Mrs. Clara Sydney Taylor, a daughter of the late Bishop Potter, was found on Sunday morning in a marsh beside a private road leading from the cottage where she was living to the home of her brother, Alonzo Potter, at Smithtown, Suffolk County, L.I.

Further reading[edit]

Agee, William C. 1966. Rediscovery: Henry Fitch Taylor New York, NY: Goldowsky, Noah, Gallery, 1966. (Exhibition catalog)