Common Corners

His Published Life

Artists of Grand Rapids

Early Grand Rapids Years

Marinus Harting

Kent Base Ball Club

When They Were Boys

Palestine Exhibition Company

Art In Chicago

Paintings By
Mr. Lawrence C. Earle

Brush & Pencil

Grand Rapids
Artists and Writers

Carter Times -
Dutch Boy Painter

Robert L. Stearns

Artist Paints Types
of Kingdom Come

Latest Portrait:
Mrs. Van Sluyters

Earle's Pictures are
Mountain Portraits

Exhibits New Work

Good Art in High
Class Movie Film

Motion Picture Classic
magazine cover 1916

Paints Portrait of
YWCA Helper

Lawrence C. Earle,
Distinguished Artist,
Dies at Friend's Door

Garfield Gives
Reminiscence of
Artist L. C. Earle

Dutch Boy Painter
Vol. XV Number 2
March 1922




Lawrence Carmichael Earle

  A near contemporary of Frederick S. Church was Lawrence Carmichael Earle. He was born in New York in 1845, and moved to Grand Rapids as a youth. Like Church, he studied with Marinus Hartung, but following the footsteps of Church, he eventually left Grand Rapids to study in Chicago with Walter Shirlaw. Before moving to Chicago, Earle returned to New York in 1866 and briefly studied there. Shirlaw recognized Earle's talent and urged him to travel to Europe and enter the Royal Academy in Munich. It is doubtful that Shirlaw could have greatly influenced Earle because he did not travel to Europe himself until 1870. At Munich Earle studied with Ludwig Barth, Franz Wagner, and other distinguished artists of the Academy. Later he traveled to Italy, where he was impressed with the masters of the Italian Renaissance, but it was the style and sentiment of the Munich school that left the deepest impression on the young artist. The thick, painterly use of pigment and heavy impasto characteristic of the Munich Academy were hallmarks of Earle's later style. In 1881 he returned to New York, where he took a studio and entered into the city's competitive art scene of the 1880's and 1890's. Earle exhibited intermittently at the National Academy's annual exhibitions from 1888 until after the turn of the century, and in 1897 he was made an associate of the Academy. Unlike Church, he was never elected a full Academician. Curiously, there is no record of Earle and F. S. Church resuming their boyhood relationship in New York. Earle eventually settled in Montclair, New Jersey, after his return to this country from his studies in Europe. Following the death of his wife in 1909, he returned to Grand Rapids, where he lived until his death in 1921. Earle was a founding member of the Art Association and influential in its early affairs. He was also a member of the American Water Color Society, the New York Water Color Club, and the Artists' Fund Society.

  In 1911 Earle was honored with an exhibition of his work by the Grand Rapids Art Association in the St. Cecilia Building. This was the second exhibition of the newly-organized Association. In 1913 and again in 1929, after his death, the work of Earle was exhibited at the Art Gallery.

  Earle specialized in a popular style of figure, genre, and still-life paintings. His painting of a Nurse, not dated, gives a flavor of his style of type characterization. His 1913 exhibition in Grand Rapids received considerable attention in the local press because of his charming and anecdotal representations of the mountain people of the Appalachia region of Kentucky. Many of his works were portraits of the character types of the region. Old Man with Geese, not dated, may be a work resulting from this trip to the mountains of Appalachia. One of Earle's most noted works was called Life in a Great City (un-located). It was simple in composition and showed two dogs, gaunt and shivering in a driving storm, standing outside a closed door in the heart of a large city. The utter dejection of the older dog, whose life has taught it what homelessness and cold are, and the hopefulness of the younger animal, who still believes in both its companion and the kindliness of fate, were captured skillfully by the artist. Unfortunately, other animal paintings by Earle were not so well handled, and on occasion the artist could be tryingly maudlin. Trout Fishing, not dated, and the interesting Still Life, are characteristic of his work.

!Artists of Grand Rapids 1840-1980, J. Gray Sweeney; Grand Rapids, 1981: The Grand Rapids Art Museum, The Grand Rapids Public Museum

*Thanks to Dr. J. Gray Sweeney for permission to use material from
Artists of Grand Rapids 1840-1980, J. Gray Sweeney; Grand Rapids, 1981:
The Grand Rapids Art Museum, The Grand Rapids Public Museum

Copyright of content compilation 2006-2020

Common Corners