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Raymond Perry Rodgers Neilson


Raymond Neilson was born in New York in 1881. He represented the academic strain in American Art and won many accolades from the art establishment. Neilson reflected the social and political life and change in America in his choice of subject matter and technique.

During World War I Neilson, who came from an eminent Naval family that listed Admiral Perry as an ancestor and Commander Rodgers as his namesake, was attached to the Admiralty in London. When he returned to America, he began a long and distinguished career as a portraitist. These portraits for which he became so famous contain far more than just a likeness. His women are placed in backgrounds that sometimes highlight a magnificent bouquet of flowers, often arranged in a carefree manner, but painted with exacting realism that would present a sharp contrast to the static pose of his subject. The intricacies in the pattern of the silk dress or the splendid texture of a fur stole on his paintings share an equal role with their beautiful women.

He studied at the Art Students League with George Bridgman, George Bellows, Luis Mora and Frank DuMond. He also studied at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts School, Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Academie Julien in Paris, Academy Colarossi, and Academie Grande Chaumière. He was also the pupil of several noted teachers including: William Merritt Chase (in New York), J.P. Laurens (1912-14), Lucien Simon, Naudin, Caro Delvai and Riched E. Miller in Paris.

Neilson was an associate member of the National Academy of Design in 1925 and 1938 became a National Academician, or full member. He was also a member of the Century Association in New York, Salmagundi Club, Allied Artists of America, Audubon Artists, the Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts, American Artists Professional League.

He exhibited widely and won several important awards including: silver medal at the Paris Salon in 1914 and silver medal at the Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco in 1915.

He exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art (1913-16; 1924-25), the Paris Salon (1914), Corcoran Gallery Biennials (1914-23, 3 times), Pan Pacific Exposition (1915), National Academy of Design (1916-1946, 1941-prize), East Hampton Guild, Allied Artists of America, New Haven Paint and Clay Club, Salmagundi Club (1944, 1945 prizes), Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts (prizes 1944-49), Albright Art Gallery (1921-22), Art Institute of Chicago, Carnegie Institute, World’s Fair New York (1939), Currier Gallery of Art (1941-prize), American Artists for Victory, Century Association, and others.

His work is included in the collections of the following institutions: Luxembourg Museum in Paris, New York Chamber of Commerce, New York Public Library, New York Clearing House, F.D. Roosevelt Library, U.S Naval Academy, US Military Academy, Cornell University, Yale University, Princeton University, and others.

Neilson also taught at the Art Students League and the National Academy of Design.