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  • Henry Snell: A Legacy of Influence


    Celebrating its 10 Year Anniversary, Gratz Gallery & Conservation Studio of Doylestown, Pennsylvania is pleased to present an exhibition of works by Henry Bayley Snell and the many artists from the New Hope School and the Philadelphia Ten whom he influenced throughout his life.  The exhibition will be available for viewing from Saturday, November 6, 2010 through January 30, 2011.  The exhibition features more than 100 drawings and watercolors by Henry Snell dating from 1899. There will also be a selection of oil paintings by Snell as well as a collection of works by many of Snell’s pupils from the Philadelphia School of Design for Women, now Moore College of Art and Design. Many of Snell’s students from PSDW would go on to form the renowned Philadelphia Ten, which was a group of self-promoting women artists who exhibited and sold their work at a time when it was frowned upon by much of society, with the world of professional art dominated by men. The exhibition also features a variety of work by many of Snell’s New Hope School contemporaries - artists such as Walter Baum, Edward Redfield, Robert Spencer, George Sotter and Fern Coppedge among many others.
     
    As is the annual tradition of Gratz Gallery & Conservation Studio, in celebration of its anniversary a gift is given to a charitable organization in the form of a single contribution by the gallery. This year Paul and Harriet Gratz have chosen to benefit the Travis Manion Foundation in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. Named for and in honor of the beloved local Marine Corps officer who was killed by enemy sniper fire in the Al Anbar Province of Iraq in April, 2007, the Foundation’s mission is to assist wounded Veterans and their families. The gallery’s gift will be earmarked specifically for the Fellowship Program. Travis Manion fellowships provide a service opportunity to wounded Veterans who still have the desire to serve their country but whose disabilities prevent them from continuing to serve in the military. To learn more about this organization visit www.travismanion.com.
     
    Henry Bayley Snell was born in Richmond, England on September 29, 1858 to Edward and Elizabeth Snell. In 1882, when he was seventeen, he came to the United States and enrolled at the Arts Student League in New York City. In the early 1880s Snell began working for a printing and etching company in New York City. It was there that he met his lifelong friend, fellow artist, William Lathrop. Snell and his new wife, British painter Florence Francis, first visited their friends the Lathrop’s at their home in New Hope, Pennsylvania in 1898. Shortly thereafter, Henry and Francis would settle permanently in New Hope, taking up residence above the Solebury Bank Building at the corner of Bridge and Main Streets. In 1899, Henry was offered a teaching position at The Philadelphia School of Design for Women. Snell greatly enjoyed his time at the Philadelphia School of Design for Women (PSDW) and remained an important member of the school’s faculty until his death in 1943.
     
    Snell was an incredibly influential member of the faculty at PSDW. While many of his colleagues were reluctant to support the advancement of women in the arts, Snell was very encouraging of his female students. He was one of the strongest and earliest supporters of the Philadelphia Ten. Aside from teaching at PSDW, Snell also taught summer classes in Boothbay Harbor, Maine and Gloucester, Massachusetts. In addition to his teaching Snell also managed to put together an extensive body of work in an array of mediums. He is well known for his delicate drawings, subtle watercolors and atmospheric oil paintings. He was a beloved member of the New Hope Circle and painted extensively with William Lathrop and other founding members of the group.
     
    On January 17, 1943, after a long a successful career as an artist, Snell died in New Hope. He was 85. Examples of the artist’s work can be found at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Worcester Art Museum, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Albright-Knox Art gallery, the Butler Institute of American Art, the Heron Gallery, the James A. Michener Art Museum and the Allentown Art Museum among others.