Walter Gay
American, 1856-1937
Selected exhibitions
19th and 20th Century American Art,
Debra Force Fine Art
Summer Show,
Debra Force Fine Art
Americans Abroad,
Debra Force Fine Art

Once dubbed “the dean of American painters in France” by the New York Times, Walter Gay spent much of his life in Paris. There he studied under and befriended Léon Bonnat—a teacher of Gustave Caillebotte, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Thomas Eakins, and John Singer Sargent—and showed at the Paris Salon. In 1882 he traveled to Barbizon and began painting light-filled scenes of French peasants. His 1889 marriage to heiress Matilda Travers gave him entrée into the city’s elite. He shifted his focus to the interiors for which he is best known, painting the stylishly opulent Belle Époque homes of his inner circle, which included the likes of writer Edith Wharton. These sumptuous portraits of rooms filled with lavish antique furnishings captured what Gay called “the sprit of empty rooms.”

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