‘A Kind of Nobility’: The Forgotten Artist Alethea Hill Platt

The landscape painter Alethea Hill Platt (1860-1932) survived family scandal and won acclaim for exhibiting luminous views of Europe and America at hundreds of venues as elite as the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Art Institute of Chicago, and National Academy of Design. On Friday, December 11, independent scholar Eve M. Kahn will explain how she has rescued Platt’s legacy from obscurity in a Zoom lecture for the Sharon Historical Society & Museum in Connecticut.

Platt, who maintained a summer studio in Sharon, was a native of Scarsdale, N.Y., and descended from Revolutionary War heroes. Around 1900, after a relative absconded with her inheritance, she reinvented herself as an artist in Manhattan. She traveled in Europe—especially Brittany, Cornwall, and Devonshire—and in Maine, the Adirondacks, and Woodstock, N.Y. With vibrant colors and textured impasto, she depicted thatched-roof cottages, woodworking shops, harbors, peasants in moonlight, and sun-dappled glades. Her paintings of craftspeople and utilitarian buildings resonate with a kind of Ashcan School empathy for laborers in remote spots.

In the artworks, on view from Sacramento to Detroit and Yonkers, The New York Times found a “quality of serenity, even a kind of nobility.” American Art News placed her “in the ranks of America’s leading women painters.” She helped found organizations, including the Society of Women Painters, that helped other female artists. Yet she has received little attention in recent years, until Kahn’s feature article on Platt this fall in The Magazine Antiques.

The online Zoom talk, heavily illustrated with images of Platt’s homes and paintings, will also cover mysteries still surrounding the artist’s life and work.

No registration required. Please use select this link on Friday, December 11th, to listen to the lecture and view the lecture materials. Please be online by 4:55pm: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/6312716761