National Museum of Women in the Arts
Elizabeth Boott
April 13 1846 - March 22 1888
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Photograph of Elizabeth Boott, 1863, unknown photographer. 4 x 3 inches (11 x 7 cm). Frank and Elizabeth Boott Duveneck Papers, 1851-1972. Archives of American Art, Washington, DC, USA. www.aaa.si.edu
Place of Birth:
Cambridge
Nationality:
American
Phonetic Spelling:
ee-LIHZ-ah-behth boot
Minority status:
White non-Hispanic
Work Type/Media:
Painting
Artistic Role(s):
Genre Painter, Oil Painter, Portraitist, Still life Painter, Watercolorist
Style:
Other
Artist's Biography:
Elizabeth “Lizzie” Boott, was raised by her widowed father, Francis Boott, who devoted his life to his only child. Father and daughter were inseparable—a prominent Bostonian who moved among the major artistic and literary circles both in America and Europe, Francis encouraged his daughter to study art, music, and the humanities, moving to Italy for ten years to let her soak up the cultural atmosphere. Elizabeth, with the help of her social standing, was able to take full advantage of the changing roles for women during the Victorian age, especially in the art world. She studied with many leading artists and frequently exhibited landscapes, portraits, figure paintings, and still lifes at the Boston Art Club and the National Academy of Design in New York. She was part of a generation of women who helped break the gender barrier in pursuing a professional art career.

Boott’s work demonstrates the impact of her major teachers including William Morris Hunt, founder of the Boston Art Club and one of the first art instructors to accept female students; and Thomas Couture, master of the plein-air landscape painting of the Barbizon School. From Hunt and Couture, Elizabeth learned the most modern ideas and methods of her day and adopted loose, fluid brushstrokes and warm brown tones.

Boott’s most important teacher was German-American Bohemian painter Frank Duveneck. Boott enrolled in one of his classes in Munich in 1879. The artists were soon engaged and Boott convinced him to move his school to Florence, near Villa Castellani at Bellosguardo where Boott had lived off and on her entire life. Boott’s father, although an avid admirer of Duveneck’s work, disapproved of the engagement. Highly sophisticated, well-educated Boott was a member of the loftiest social circles, while Duveneck came from provincial Cincinnati of meager background. Nonetheless, the couple was married in Paris in 1886. Not long after the birth of a child, Boott died of pneumonia in March 1888. Duveneck sculpted a bronze personification of Boott for her grave in the Cemetery of the Laurels near Bellosguardo.

The influence of Boott and Duveneck’s styles and artistic tastes on each other’s work is striking. Duveneck’s earlier works consisted of a dark realism using bold brushwork characteristic of Munich painting, while his later works became notably lighter in texture and color, qualities associated with his wife’s delicate watercolors of picturesque Parisian Salon themes. Similarly, Boott’s watercolors and paintings evolved during her relationship with Duveneck, becoming stronger in composition and bolder in execution.

Other Occupation(s):
Art Educator
Place(s) of Residence:
Boston
Florence
Place(s) of Activity:
Munich
Villiers-le-Bel
Where Trained/Schools:
Private lessons, Paris, France (1886) Private lessons, Munich, Germany (1879) Académie Julian, Paris, France Art School of William Morris Hunt, Boston, MA, USA (1869)
Related Visual Artists:
wife and student of Frank Duveneck friend of Margaret Bush-Brown student of William Morris Hunt student of Thomas Couture student of William-Adolphe Bougereau student of Tony Robert-Fleury student of Félix-Henri Giacomotti
Earliest exhibition:
Boston Art Club, Boston, MA, USA (1874)
NMWA exhibition(s):
Preserving the Past, Securing the Future: Donations of Art, 1987-1997
Artist retrospective(s):
Duveneck: Frank Duveneck and Elizabeth Boott Duveneck, Owen Gallery, New York, NY, USA (1996) Elizabeth Boott Duveneck: Her Life and Times, Triton Museum of Art, Santa Clara, CA, USA (1979)
Related places
Paris (died at)
Newport, 1882
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Villa Castellani Bellosguardo, 1886
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