West Woodstock, Conn.
An etcher, lithographer, painter and watercolorist, Ernest Haskell is best known for his landscapes depicting Monterey cypress trees. He was born in West Woodstock, Connecticut in 1876. After graduating from Woodstock Academy in 1895, he briefly attended art school in Boston, and then went to New York where he worked on the art staff of the New York American. He also created illustrations and posters for Scribner’s and the New York Sunday Journal and experimented with lithography. In 1897 Haskell went to Paris to study. He briefly attended the Académie Julian but found it not to his liking, and studied Old Masters in the Louvre and Impressionists at the Galerie Durand-Ruel on his own. Haskell met James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903), who encouraged him to make etchings. Haskell probably made his first etchings and lithographs while in Paris. He returned to New York in 1898 and had an exhibition of his drawings, oils and lithographs at Brooklyn’s Pratt Institute in 1899, which received praise. He resumed working as an illustrator and drew caricatures, most notably one of Whistler, and designed theatrical posters. Haskell returned to Europe in 1900, spending about two years in Paris before traveling to London. Back in New York, he married Elizabeth Foley in 1903 and settled on Staten Island, spending summers in Maine. Over the remainder of the decade Haskell was busy as an illustrator, made paintings and prints, and notably created a series of silverpoint portraits and landscapes drawn with pen and ink. After a trip to Paris in 1910, he published a set of twelve etchings depicting Parisian scenes, known as “The Paris Set.” That year he exhibited with John Marin (1872-1953) and Childe Hassam (1859-1935) at Alfred Stieglitz’s (1864-1946) 291 Gallery in New York. The Berlin Photographic Company mounted an exhibition of his work in New York in 1911, some 115 objects. Haskell visited Florida in 1914 and California in 1915 and realized that his greatest aesthetic power lay in his ability to express nature out in the open. His works were exhibited at New York’s Kennedy and Company Gallery in 1914 and two retrospective shows were held in 1916, one at Kennedy and the other at the Art Institute of Chicago. Haskell wrote treatise on "Line" for Chicago exhibition catalogue. He exhibited twenty-six prints at San Francisco’s 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition, winning a bronze medal. After his wife died in 1918 Haskell returned to California, where he made drypoint etchings, mezzotints and watercolors, exhibited in San Francisco, and in 1920 met and married Emma Laumeister. They returned to the East, spending winters in New York and summers in Maine. Haskell exhibited frequently at the Anderson Galleries and others in New York City and in 1925 at the Smithsonian’s United States National Museum in Washington, D.C.. He spent the summer of 1925 painting watercolors in California. The following November Haskell was killed in an automobile accident in Bath, Maine. (rev. TNB 2/2015) Selected bibliography: Moore, Russell J. and Ruth Fine Lehrer. Ernest Haskell, 1876-1925, a retrospective exhibition: a portfolio of selected work. Exhibition catalog. Brunswick, Maine: Bowdoin College Museum of Art, 1976.