Chapter 2: Columbia Architecture School >>>


Chapter 1:
The Early Years

 

James Perry Wilson Chipmunk
J.P.Wilson as a young adult. Photo collection of Frederick VanDuyne III

 

1889-1906  Early Training in Art
James Perry Wilson, known to his family and friends as Perry, was born on August 13th 1889 in Newark New Jersey.  He was the last of six children born to Sarah Hillhouse Perry and James Palmer Wilson.  The Wilsons were a religious, hard-working, middle-class family.  Perry's father, James Palmer Wilson worked his way up in a small Newark manufacturing business, becoming its general secretary in 1911.   At this point the family may have been comfortable financially, but the Wilsons would never think of making a display of their wealth. St. Paul's Episcopal Church, located down the block, was a central feature of their lives.  The Wilson family, like other middle class families in Newark, placed strong emphasis on manners, taste, formality, and high moral standards.  Great importance, too, was placed on intellectual pursuits and the children may have been competitive amongst themselves in that regard.

When Perry was an infant, Newark was considered the nation's most unhealthy city with a population of over 100,000.  Like every American city in the late 19th century, Newark was experiencing the associated problems of rapid population and industrial growth.  One of Newark's most serious problems was the water supply.  The Passaic River had served as the town's main source of water, but by 1875 the river was so befouled by industry and by other cities upstream, that official reports described the water as "highly offensive to both smell and taste".  At just under 20% for children under one year of age, Newark's child mortality rate was the highest in the nation.i  By 1892, Newark ran new water lines to the Pequannock River in the distant hills of Passaic County, dropping the death rate from typhoid fever by 70%.  In 1899, when a temporary water shortage forced the city to again introduce Passaic River water into the water system, epidemics of typhoid fever, dysentery, and diarrhea engulfed the city; fifty deaths were traced directly to use of Passaic River water.ii

Newark's city managers were slow to act on the growing evidence of the relationship between pollution and disease.  It wasn't until construction of hundreds of miles of sewage lines in 1910 that the city stopped emptying its raw waste into the meadowlands and marshes.  The Passaic River remained polluted with industrial and human waste until a joint sewage system was developed with seven other upstream towns in 1924.  Furthermore, Newark's unpaved roads and traffic congestion complicated life in the city, making moving about a dirty and dangerous undertaking.

Newark's middle class families at the turn of the century didn't know that physical cleanliness was the basis for good health, but believed that disease and illness was the outcome of degeneracy and slovenliness.  High moral standards, exemplified by good manners and taste, were embraced in an effort to insulate themselves against disease.  Generally middle class families had lower death rates due to illness than working class families because they lived under less crowded conditions and further from the sources of pollution. The Wilsons, even though they embraced English manners and taste, were not spared on this account.  Two of Perry's siblings died in childhood of typhoid and respiratory illness before he was born, an older sister died of pneumonia when he was eight, and typhoid killed his father in 1914.  As a child, Perry himself contracted ungulant fever from unpasteurized milk; the disease produces pain and swelling of the joints and muscle weakness.  He was sickly from that time on. He also became ill with typhoid fever in 1906, the same year he graduated from high school.

One may speculate that growing up a sickly child was a hidden blessing for James Perry Wilson.  Although painting was an accepted pastime for the women in the Wilson household, Perry, weakened by illness, may have been exempted from the coming-of-age expectations of a young man and therefore able to practice his painting skills to his heart's content.  The 1906 bout with typhoid was most likely debilitating for six months or more and his strength probably came back slowly.  Perhaps, given the family history with disease, his mother made sure he was completely recovered before she let him go off to college.  Perry would have made good use of the recovery time practicing his painting; open-air painting excursions were probably encouraged for health reasons.  His mother and sister both painted in watercolor and Perry began painting in that medium early on; later, at age 17, he would switch to oils.  While his mother and sister were likely his most significant long-term artistic influences, his sister's intimate friend Lucy Baker, with five years of professional education at the Art Student's League, may have been a primary source of training in techniques and composition in these formative years.

 

James Perry Wilson with women
J.P. Wilson as a young adult on an overlook with unidentified women.  This is likely a plein air painting site as well.  Photo collection Frederick VanDuyne III.

 

These are speculations; the details of how James Perry Wilson learned to paint remain a mystery.  There are no records that, as a young man, he took any formal painting classes.  While at Barringer Public High school, most of his class work was college preparatory and classical in nature.  The only art class was freehand drawing, taken for three years as an elective.  Later at Columbia University in the architecture school, he took no courses in painting, though technical drawing classes comprised 15% of his course load.  His earliest known paintings date from 1918, when he was 28 or 29.  Although he had only been out of college for three years, these works exhibit all the skill of a mature landscape painter.

 

Barringer High School Class
1906 graduating class at Barringer Public High School.  James Perry Wilson, the tallest young man with tie at the center rear

 

It is possible James Perry Wilson was self-trained.  He had extraordinary mental faculties.  Presented with a problem or phenomenon he didn't understand, he would pursue the answer in an obsessive manner until he had exhausted it from numerous angles and vantages. Wilson seriously delved into astronomy, meteorology, photography, studies in perspective, and math. He would pick up ideas and apply them quickly.  In the case of landscape painting, he used his technical notes, scientific data, and his previous empirical observations as mental references to check his painting.  Wilson had a lifelong love of painting outdoors that began in childhood.  Indeed, there is no evidence that he ever painted a still life or drew or painted from the human figure (though he drew and painted several portraits of friends and family from photographs).  Wilson's focus on his own particular, empirical brand of realism never wavered over his lifetime.  He never experimented with other styles and he was never moved to embrace any contemporary art movement.  He started painting the landscape at an early age, found it to be a considerable challenge, and proceeded thereafter, to hone his landscape painting skills with a singular passion throughout his life.  He spent a lifetime noticing how atmosphere mediates light, how an object's local color changes under different conditions, how the sun imparts color to the landscape and how color is reflected off different surfaces. He was very interested in a balloonist's perception that the color of the sun became noticeably whiter as the balloon ascended.  Wilson explained that as the balloon ascended, the atmosphere thinned and less color was absorbed.  However, he knew the sun was a yellow-white star and that beyond the atmosphere altogether, sunlight would retain a slight yellowish cast.

Over his long lifetime, James Perry Wilson never lost his love of painting nor his ability to apply to it everything he had learned over the years. Certainly he had the intelligence and visual sensitivity to be self-taught, yet there were strong artistic resources in his immediate and extended families from whom as a young man he could have learned.  The following explores the contributions his family of origin made to James Perry's training, as well as the influence their close family friend, Lucy Baker, may have had on his artmaking.

In a published interview, Wilson put a pastoral spin on his background, "[I'm] a descendant of hearty farmers who settled Vermont and New York in the 1600's.iii  He was referring to his maternal grandmother's Hillhouse lineage.  Though likely said in humility, the statement belies the fact that the Hillhouses were among a number of prominent Pre-revolutionary families.  The Hillhouse ancestors can be traced back for centuries to Ireland. Reverend James Hillhouse came to America from Ireland with other Presbyterians and settled in Connecticut.  His sons were all well-educated lawyers, doctors and military leaders during the Revolution.  Successive generations of Hillhouses played key roles as businessmen, legislators, and academics in early American society.  The Hillhouse women possessed great intellectual and artistic abilities that were passed on to their children and grandchildren. They married men with equally strong character.  Perry's grandmother Hillhouse and great grandmother Hillhouse married successful businessmen.  Perry's mother did the same.  

Perry's maternal grandfather, Amos Stone Perry, was a descendant of John and Abigail Adams.  His maternal grandmother, Sarah Anne Hillhouse (Perry), like many of the Hillhouse women, possessed strong literary and artistic tastes.iv  Her three sons (Perry's three uncles) were all of high standing in their fields; James Hillhouse Perry was a civil engineer and a commander in the Navy, John Schoolcraft Perry was a physician, and Edward Delavan Perry was a classics professor at Columbia University.  Her other daughter (Perry' aunt), Mary Stone Perry, married Estevan A. Fuertes and their son Louis Aggasiz Fuertes, the renowned bird artist, was James Perry Wilson's first cousin.

 

Louis Aggasiz Fuertes painting in studio 1923
Louis Aggasiz Fuertes painting in his studio, 1923
Image courtesy of the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Libraries.

 

Fuertes family documents shed indirect light on the obscure history of the Wilson family.  The two cousins, Louis Aggasiz Fuertes and James Perry Wilson didn't know each other well, but there were some strong parallels in their lives and upbringing.  Their common grandmother, Sarah Hillhouse Perry, according to Louis' sister, Mary Katherine Fuertes ("Kippy"), brought family money and a leisurely lifestyle to her marriage. Kippy further relates that their grandmother led an intense and self-centered artistic and literary career.  She had a passion for beautiful things and was inordinately proud of her children's music.  She painted acres of canvas in oils and composed reams of poetry.  She was proud of her son's excellent minds and studied Sanskrit grammar with her youngest son, Edward, and taught herself to read and write German.  She kept her grandchildren supplied with boxes of high quality Winsor Newton watercolors and proper brushes.v   Both James Perry Wilson and Louis Agassiz Fuertes grew up using quality materials to make their paintings.  Their art had the full support of the Hillhouse matriarchs.

So did their music.  Both James Perry Wilson and Louis Aggasiz Fuertes were talented pianists. "Kippy" wrote that "musically, [Louis] was so gifted that he might, I think, have made something of a career in that field, if he had so chosen."  Louis' mother was herself an accomplished pianist, continuing to play during the years when she was bearing and rearing her children.  Kippy describes her: 

"Even when she was an elderly grandmother, nearly blind, she performed with vigor and delicacy, playing minor scales, Spanish dances, and certain favorite portions of the piano music of Bach, Scarlatti, Beethoven, Chopin.  [She was] a serious musician adored by her children. The family was only together at meal times and on musical occasions, when the parent's piano and flute were enthusiastically supported by the children's voices.vi"

Perry's mother, like her sister, was serious about music and helped foster her children's interest in it.  Perry studied the piano seriously and was committed enough to give at least one formal piano recital of Mozart, Chopin, Beethoven, and Mendelssohn on June 15, 1910,  when he would have just been finishing his freshman year in the architecture school at Columbia University.  A Newark paper praised the performance citing that: "his phrasing [was] intelligent and expressive, he charges his playing with the feeling of one who can enter into its spirit.  He was ‘heartily' encored."

Louis Aggasiz Fuertes' father didn't want Louis-or any of his children for that matter-to go into art, but Mary Stone Perry defended his desire to pursue it.vii Louis became one of the foremost bird illustrators and was devoted to his mother for all the years of his life.  What is known about James Perry Wilson suggests that a similar dynamic may have operated in the Wilson family.  We know James Perry Wilson started painting at an early age and yet he took only one art class in high school.  In a 1975 interview late in his life, he stated that he never wanted to be an architect, but rather a landscape painter.  This evidence suggests that following his own heart's desire to be an artist was frustrated by an insistence that he choose a curriculum that would lead to a paying job; attending the Columbia University architecture program was likely a necessary compromise. Similarly, Perry adored his mother and lived with her until her death at age 98.

Perry's father, James Palmer Wilson, was born in 1849 to John Robert Wilson, an Irishman, and Caroline Ball, the daughter of a New Jersey farming family whose lineage dates back at least to the mid-1700's.  Perry's grandfather, John Robert Wilson, in what seems to be a rags-to-riches story, worked his way into the banking business and then became a co-owner of a jewelry manufacturing firm started by Enos Richardson, J.L. Palmer, and J.B. Palmer.  Perry's father, James Palmer Wilson, likely named after one of his father's business partners; he seems to have learned business at his father's knee as he was an efficient provider and businessman. Sarah Hillhouse Perry's family retired to New Brunswick, NJ, where perhaps in an Episcopal church, the two met.  Nevertheless, James Palmer must have been a formidable young man to catch the eye of a young woman of Sarah's class.

The relationship between Perry and his father may have been strained.  Perry certainly wasn't like the rest of the boys.  His high school monthly paper good naturedly ribbed Perry about his lack of athletic prowess-"Perry Wilson received the greatest number of votes for class athlete"-and his discomfort around girls:  "Seen in Room 35, Perry Wilson talking to a girl!"  Both of these qualities continued into adulthood. It seems that his high school peers viewed him as an eccentric: "Perry's pleasant little walks between periods are becoming very noticeable and amusing to spectators."viii  Socially, Perry was somewhat of an outsider; he didn't join extracurricular clubs or organizations and appears to have been most at ease in his home reading books or practicing his painting or music.  If Perry's father had any aspirations that his son was going to take over the family business, he would have soon discovered that Perry had neither the interest nor the make-up to become a businessman.

 

The evidence is suggestive rather than decisive, but the life path James Perry Wilson followed and the art he made seem to have been guided, if not determined, by a multigenerational female network whose love of art and music sheltered a gentle, shy, and unathletic boy from the harsh demands of the male arena. The Wilson's family friend, Lucy Baker, was one of the women whose impact on James Perry Wilson's art may have been significant.  Several of the living descendants of the Baker family have noted the close friendship that developed between the Wilsons and the Bakers.  The Wilson family lived on 4th Avenue in Newark, the Bakers lived on Broad St. very close to St. James Episcopal church (Broadway and 3rd Avenue) The Bakers would later move to 2nd Avenue in 1881.  The two families lived near each other for many years.

But the connection was not merely geographic.  They had St.James in common.  John Osborne Baker (Lucy Baker's father) helped found St. James Episcopal Church in Newark in 1888.ix   He was senior warden for many years and clerk of the wardens and vestrymen.   The Wilsons had lived in the neighborhood for 10 years before the church was founded.  Although James Palmer Wilson is not listed as an early vestryman, it is quite likely the Wilsons were original members and possibly were involved in it's founding.  In any case, the Wilson family was active in the church well into the 20th Century.  Perry's sister, Elizabeth, "Bessie" Wilson worked in the relief effort of the St. James branch of the Red Cross during WWI and was very active in the church thereafter.  In 1923, Perry completely redecorated and elaborately repainted the interior of the nave.  The photo is all that exists.  The church and all its records were destroyed by fire in 1960.

St. James Episcopal Church
Interior of St. James Episcopal Church, Newark.  Collection of Ruth Maier

 

Perry's mother, Sarah Hillhouse Wilson and her friend Lucy Whiton Baker were both born in 1846, they both had big families and many of the five Baker children and six Wilson children were close to each other in age.  Indeed, the young mothers, Sarah Hillhouse Perry and Lucy Whiton, may have helped deliver each other's babies.  They had the death of children in common as well.  The Bakers lost one child early in life, the Wilsons lost two children and one daughter in early adulthood, all to illness.  Both husbands were white-collar businessmen, James Palmer Wilson was the general manager of Hartig Engine Mfg., John Osborn Baker was in the stock and bond business.  While many of Newark's middle class residents fled to the suburbs at the turn of the century, both the Wilson and Baker families stayed in the city. 

Between 1871 and 1875, two daughters were born to the Wilsons (Bessie 1871 and Anna 1873) and also to the Bakers (Lucy 1873 and Mary 1875).  The closeness of the two families suggests that the girls grew up together, trained to be homemakers together, became intimate friends, and learned to paint together.  Both mothers spent much time teaching the girls skills they would need to run a home.
Carol Smith-Rosenberg in an essay on 19th century women writes that:
"Central to these mother-daughter relations is what might be described as an apprenticeship system.  In those families where the daughter followed the mother into a life of traditional domesticity, mothers and other older women carefully trained daughters in the arts of housewifery and motherhood.  Such training undoubtedly occurred throughout a girl's childhood but became more systematic, almost ritualistic, in the years following the end of her formal education and before her marriage...Under the careful supervision of their mothers and of older female relatives, such late-adolescent girls temporarily took over the household management from their mothers, tending their young nieces and nephews, and helped in childbirth, nursing, and weaning.  Such experiences tied the generations together in shared skills and emotional interaction."x
Certainly it seems likely that both elder Wilson girls may have spent a considerable time with the care of their baby brother. After all, Bessie was 17 years old and Anna 15 when Perry was born.  Lucy Baker, as a result of being in close proximity, may have also shared a significant role helping to care for Perry as well. Lucy's interest in fine art and Bessie's love of painting forged an additional bond of friendship between the girls.  Lucy, as a young girl, probably admired the watercolors Bessie painted at an early age.  Later when Lucy went on to study art formally at the Art Student's League, the roles may have reversed with Bessie taking a keen interest in what Lucy was learning there.

The Wilson boys, Robert Clifford and Perry, were expected to excel at school and attend college, and both did.  A review of Barringer High School yearbooks reveals only one year of high school attendance for Bessie and nothing for her younger sister suggesting that the Wilson girls were working in the home.  Perry wrote in a biographical sketch that he had painted landscapes since childhood.xi  Lucy and the two Wilson girls may have taught Perry how to paint from an early age and as he started to show interest and talent, they may have provided coaching. Ruth Billard Morrill, who knew him later in his life, recalls Perry saying that an "aunt" taught him how to paint. Lucy Baker, may have been that "aunt", especially if she doted on him, providing one-to-one instruction in landscape painting. Mary Leuzarder, nee Mary Whiton Baker and her family referred to Perry's sister, Bessie as "Aunt Bessie", making it likely the Wilson's referred to the Baker girls with the reciprocal title.  Wilson's blood-related aunt Mary, the mother of Louis Aggasiz Fuertes, could have been the aunt who taught him to paint, but a review of the Fuertes manuscripts at Cornell shows that visits were rare between the two families.  The Fuertes family was based in Ithaca, NY, a significant distance of over 200 miles from the Wilsons in Newark.

Perry's close relationship with Lucy Baker is further evident from his attendance at her wedding to Frederick Van Duyne at age 12. He wrote about it to a friend, "When I was a little boy, the first wedding I ever attended was that of a young woman who was an intimate friend of my sister.  It was a large church wedding, and made a considerable impression on my youthful memory.  The bridegroom was a young army officer recently graduated from West Point.  In the course of time they raised a family of four children; but since the husband and father was stationed at various places in this country and the Phillipines, I saw little of them for a good many years.  Then in 1920, after his return from France, the officer-by this time a colonel-was stationed near New York, and the family was living on his ancestral farm in Towaco, NJ.  That summer I spent almost every weekend with them, and became a close friend of the oldest child, a boy of 17.  He showed artistic talent, and I started him painting landscapes in oil.  In 1922 he went with me to Monhegan Island (where all my marines were painted) and became as devoted to the place as I was.  For several summers we went there together.  But after he finished school and started working, we could not always arrange our vacations to coincide.  One year-about 1928, I think-he had already left the island when I arrived, and I found everyone talking about the sudden romance that had blossomed that summer.  Of course, I was anxious to meet the girl that aroused his ardent interest and I found her very attractive.  When they were married in 1931 I was Frederick's best man.  The following year their only child, a boy, was born, and at his baptism I was his godfather."
Perry maintained close contact with the VanDuynes after the marriage and for years later. During the 1920s, Perry spent much time with the Van Duyne family in Towaco, NJ. He would take the train from Newark to Towaco to paint the farm country with Lucy's son, Frederick Jr.  A large number of paintings from Towaco attest to this close relationship with the VanDuynes.  James Perry Wilson spent Easter, Thanksgiving-and sometimes both-with the Van Duyne family well into his later years.

 

James Perry Wilson Towaco House
Wilson at the VanDuyne house in Towaco, circa 1930 Photo permission of Frederick  VanDuyne III

 

Wilson also designed the Van Duyne's Towaco house on the foundations of an old barn in 1926.    The Towaco house was, to my knowledge, the only house Wilson ever designed,.  He drew up the blueprints at his Newark home and it was clearly a labor of love.  The central room, or "great room" is the main gathering spot with open, high ceilings and bookended with "clerestory" windows. The details, such as the reuse of the barn timbers, the hardware designed for the doors, the large, homey fireplace, and the decorative railing patterns attest to the attention Wilson put into this house and loosely reflects his day job of designing neo-Gothic churches. The house is also eccentric.  A narrow staircase leads to a very small second story room that wasn't included in the blueprints.  It could have been a servant's room, but the VanDuynes never had a servant.  The room can also be reached by a small crawl-space over the great room.

James Perry Wilson's architectural drawing

While the Wilson/VanDuyne relations were very close, personally, Lucy Baker Van Duyne's relationship to Perry most certainly was grounded in art instruction.  Lucy attended the Art Student's League from 1892 to 1898.  As a result, young Perry may have received secondhand, through Lucy Baker, the best art education available at the time.  Bessie, and possibly even their mother, may also have been picking up painting tips from Lucy as well.  Perry's mother and sister continued to support his interest in painting after Lucy had married and departed and they may have continued to train and critique his paintings. Since no paintings of Perry's mother or sister have been discovered to date, it is impossible to verify this part of my hypothesis from a comparative analysis of their paintings.

However, there are several extant examples of Lucy Whiton Baker's landscape paintings and it is possible to detect many similarities with Wilson's painting style. Lucy Baker's handling of the trees and limbs is loose and very close to Wilson's in the early 20's and teens.  They also both let the raw canvas show through around the trees and shrubs, which adds an airiness and lightness to them.  Both have a bright, optimistic color palette.  There is no evidence that Lucy Baker uses black, Wilson never used black.  Lucy Baker and Wilson both use an impressionist's technique of laying many colors side-by-side, letting the eye of the viewer blend the colors.  Lucy Baker and Wilson both use a painterly approach of applying paint where paint strokes are visible.  It is very easy for the viewer to see the evidence of the artist on the canvas.  As he grew older and painted in the dioramas, Wilson controlled and tightened the application of paint.  Lucy Baker and Wilson have a clear understanding of atmospheric perspective, both detail and high keyed color fade in the distance.  They both painted directly outdoors.
The most obvious difference is that Lucy Baker wasn't as concerned with visual accuracy as was Wilson.

 

Lucy Van Duyne painting and James Perry Wilson Painting
Left: Lucy Baker Painting
Right: James Perry Wilson Painting

I assert that Lucy Baker likely taught him the basic skills he needed to render his optical impressions of the landscape most convincingly in paint and she may have introduced him to outdoor painting excursions to nearby Packanack Mountain, Boonton Falls, or Horseneck Bridge in central New Jersey.  While none of these early, before the turn-of-the-century landscape studies have been found, several of Perry's later landscape studies are located at these sites.  It was Perry's approach as an adult to find overlooks or picturesque sites in New Jersey or the New York and return to them repeatedly to paint, either solo or with friends.   Perry, at an early age may have accompanied Lucy Baker, Anna Wilson, and Bessie Wilson to these locales.  Lucy Baker was well versed in the art museums in New York City and Perry was very likely taken there to see and critique some of the best landscape art America had to offer.  He continued these art museum visits throughout his adult life.

 

If indeed Lucy Baker did train young Perry, this training ended when she married West Point Military graduate and Army lieutenant Frederick Van Duyne on April 16, 1902.  Shortly thereafter, Lietenant Van Duyne was sent from New Jersey on military assignments and Lucy followed.  It is known that he was stationed in Texas in 1903; their first child, Frederick Jr. was born there.  Their second child, Edna was born in the Philippines in 1904.  Military assignments would keep the Van Duynes moving for many years to come.   It seems Lucy's very significant impact in teaching art to the Wilsons was during the time before her marriage.  Although Perry later came back into the Van Duyne's sphere in his late 20's, he was not so much the student as the friend and painting instructor to Lucy's teenage son Frederick Jr.  In 1920, The Van Duynes moved with their four children to their ancestral farm in Towaco NJ.  Frederick Jr. was in his teens and his mother probably began to train him in techniques of artmaking.  Perry may have visited during one of these lessons, or Lucy may have invited him out to help with the lessons, but Perry started coming to Towaco on a regular basis to paint with Frederick Jr. Perry clearly loved doing this because he spent many weekends in Towaco painting study after study of the Towaco farmscape from 1918 to 1924.  Over a hundred of these studies dated from this time period were left in a box in the Towaco house and have only recently been discovered.

 

Towaco 30 May 1920
Towaco 30 May 1920

New Lane 30 October 1921
New Lane 30 October 1921

Untitled, No Date
Untitled, no date

 

There is nothing written or in oral history that confirms with certainty that Lucy Van Duyne had a significant role in Wilson's art training.  The VanDuynes were proud of the talent and success of their friend, Perry and the heirs own many of his best easel paintings.  Yet, none of the family members have heard that Lucy VanDuyne trained him.  Lucy or her children never mentioned it.  The training may have been informal enough that it wasn't recognized for what it was.  Also, Lucy had moved away by Perry's 13th year, which is a young enough age to assume that any significant education would have occurred later.  His early love of painting and his artistic gift, his enormous intellectual capacity, and his obsessive focus on a topic of interest, may have been enough to precociously develop the tools necessary to produce high quality landscape paintings. But as previously noted, Perry's grandmother, Sarah Hillouse Perry played a continual role supporting the artists in her large family which would have included Perry's mother, Bessie, and Perry, himself. Perry grew up around a group of women who took painting very seriouslyxii, who provided support, and who would have been able to give informed critiques of his landscape studies.  Most likely both of these factors came together to produce the foundational art education for one of America's greatest landscape painters.

Chapter 2: Columbia Architecture School >>>


i Galishoff, Stuart, Newark, The Nation's Unhealthiest City, 1832-1895 (Rutgers University Press, 1988) P. 84.

i Cunningham, John T., Newark p. 225-6

iii Selway, Bonnie.  "Now 85, He Has Worked Non-Stop Since 1914." Herald American 14 Mar. 1975

iv Hillhouse, Margaret. The Descendants of Rev. James Hillhouse, New York: Tobias A. Wright, 1924. 290-291

v Fuertes, Mary Katherine (Kippy). Louis Aggasiz Fuertes Manuscripts. Ms 2662, Box 22. Kroch Library, Cornell University, Ithaca.

vi Fuertes p.4

vii Boynton, Mia(Louis Aggasiz Fuertes granddaughter) Telephone interview 4 Jan. 2002.

viii The Acropolis, March and June 1906, Barringer High School archives

ix Leuzarder, Linda Patrice. The Leuzarder Genealogy. Dec 1981 (coll. Ruth Maier and F. Schroeder

x Smith-Rosenberg, Carroll, "Relations Between Women in 19th Century America." Women's America, ed. Kerber Linda. New York: Oxford UP, 1995. 175.

xi Clark, James L. "Biographical Data on James Perry Wilson". 5 May 1944. American Museum of Natural History archives

xii Perry's older brother Clifford may have also painted.  Clifford graduated from the  Columbia University School of Mines before it became the school of architecture and probably had artistic ability (personal conversation with Ruth Hoffman, 5-22-01).