Mary MacMonnies Low, ‘Effet de Vague, Mont Saint Michel, France’, ca. 1904, ArtGiverny

Signature: Signed lower left, Mac Monies

Image rights: Subject: This painting might have been done during an extreme powerful storm that occurred in 1904. Mont saint Michel in the background is a granite Island surrounded by salt marshes. The tides can vary at 46 feet between high and low tide. The blur of elemental forces is rendered more tragically in that impressionist painting.

“Born in New Haven, Connecticut, Mary Fairchild was a painter of both light-filled and tonalist figure, portraits, and landscapes, and won numerous awards and recognition including membership in the National Academy of Design.

She was of "blue-blood" lineage as a descendant of Governor William Bradford of the "Mayflower." When her parents moved her to St. Louis, she began art study at the St. Louis School of Fine Art, and then she studied in Paris at the Academy Julian and with Carolus Duran.

In 1888, she married sculptor Frederick MacMonnies, and they lived and entertained fashionably in Paris where among their frequent guests was James McNeill Whistler. The couple summered with their two daughters in a 14th-century monastery in Giverny where they became good friends with Claude Monet and his family. A next door neighbor was Isadora Duncan, who danced nude in her garden.

Both she and her husband earned high recognition at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. She had a large mural, displayed opposite one by Mary Cassatt, and two paintings, and her husband's large fountain was the central feature of the exhibition.

Frederick MacMonnies left Mary for one of his art students, and her second husband was Will Hickok Low, a mural painter, and they lived in Bronxville, New York from 1909 to 1932
She later returned to New Haven where she died. Between 1886 and 1907, she exhibited regularly at the Paris Salon. She also exhibited in 15 exhibitions at the Art Institute of Chicago.”

David Zellman, 300 Years of American Art

Dubois de la Cotardière
Auction: Hotel des ventes Bayeux, France
July 14 1999, lot 75 illustrated page 23
Private collection, California

About Mary MacMonnies Low