|Born: Eva Lawrence Watson |
Other: Eva Watson Schütze
|Dates: ||1867 - 1935, May|
|Born: ||US, NJ, Woodbridge (not: Jersey City)|
Member of the Photo-Secession.
NOTE: pob is commonly given as Jersey City but the NJ State Archives indicates Woodbridge, NJ, daughter of Dr. John and Mary Watson. (pers. email, Gary Saretzky to Alan Griffiths, 7 July 2013)
Approved biography for Eva Watson-Schutze
(Courtesy of Christian Peterson)
Watson-Schütze was born Eva Lawrence Watson in 1867, in Woodbridge1], New Jersey. As a fifteen year old, she enrolled in the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, where she studied painting and life drawing with Thomas Eakins. She worked for a number of years at a commercial printer in Philadelphia and then shared a photography studio with Amelia Van Buren in Atlantic City between 1894 and 1896. In 1897, she opened her own portrait studio, back in Philadelphia.
In 1898, Watson commenced her career as a pictorialist, when six of her pictures were accepted in the first Philadelphia Photographic Salon, the country’s most prestigious showing of artistic photographs. The next year, she joined the Photographic Society of Philadelphia, which organized the salons, and herself served on the jury. In 1900, she was a judge for both the Chicago and, again, Philadelphia salons. A few years later, she wrote an article on salon juries for the April 1903 issue of Camera Work.
In 1901, she married Martin Schütze, a professor at the University of Chicago, and she was subsequently known as Eva Watson-Schütze. She reestablished a portrait studio in Chicago and commenced photographing the families and friends of many university faculty members, such as the educator John Dewey. Additional subjects were found at the upstate New York Arts-and-Crafts colony Byrdcliffe, where, beginning in 1902, she spent about half of each year.
Already a member of London’s prestigious Linked Ring Brotherhood, Watson-Schütze became a founding member of Alfred Stieglitz’s elite Photo-Secession group in 1902. Her work was included in most of the Secession’s major exhibitions, including two in 1904, at the Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Institute and Washington’s Corcoran Gallery of Art. Stieglitz had selected some of her images for inclusion in Camera Notes, when he was editing that magazine, and in January 1905 he featured two photogravures by her in Camera Work, both of them figure studies.
Watson-Schütze was so well regarded around the turn of the century that she was profiled in a number of national magazines. In 1900, both Brush and Pencil and Photo Era ran articles on her. Frances Benjamin Johnston declared her one of "The Foremost Women Photographers in America," in the October 1901 issue of the Ladies’ Home Journal, and she was also praised in Camera Work. Among the annuals that reproduced her work were England’s Photograms of the Year 1903 and the American Annual of Photography 1901.
Watson-Schütze’s pictorial work consisted largely of portraits and figure studies. She exhibited them regularly for only about ten years, beginning in 1898. Among the cities in which she showed were Bradford, Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Dresden, Glasgow, Hamburg, Leeds, London, Montreal, Paris, Pittsburgh, Toronto, Turin, Vienna, and Wiesbaden. In 1900, she presented solo exhibitions at both the Camera Club of New York and the Boston Camera Club. F. Holland Day included her pictures in his important show, the New School of American Photography, seen in London in 1900 and Paris the next year. Perhaps her last showing was in An Exhibition Illustrating the Progress of the Art of Photography in America, organized by Clarence H. White in 1912 for New York’s Montross Galleries. In 1913, her photographs illustrated the book, Prose that Every Child Should Know: A Selection of the Best Prose of all Times for Young People, edited by Mary E. Burt.
At some point, Watson-Schütze resumed painting, a pursuit that eventually took the majority of her studio time in both Chicago and at Byrdcliffe. Late in life, she involved herself in community organizations that promoted the arts, such as the Chicago Women’s Club, at which she presented the paper "Women in the Fine Arts," during Chicago’s 1933 Century of Progress Exposition. She also joined the University of Chicago’s Renaissance Society, for which she served as president from 1929 until her death in May 1935.
- The place of birth for Eva Watson-Schutze was Woodbridge, NJ. (pers. email, Gary Saretzky to Alan Griffiths, 7 July 2013)
Christian A. Peterson Pictorial Photography at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (Christian A. Peterson: Privately printed, 2012)
This biography is courtesy and copyright of Christian Peterson and is included here with permission.
Date last updated: 1 June 2013.
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