UNIVERSITY of GLASGOW

The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Solomon Joseph Solomon, 1860-1927

Nationality: English
Date of Birth: 1860.09.16
Place of Birth: The Borough, London
Date of Death: 1927.07.27
Place of Death: Birchington

Identity:

Solomon Joseph Solomon, a portrait and figure painter, was born into a Jewish family. He was the brother of the portrait, landscape and interior painter Lily Delissa Joseph, née Solomon. In 1897 he married the daughter of the late Hyman Montague.

Life:

Solomon studied art at the Royal Academy Schools, Munich Academy, Ecole des Beaux-Arts under Cabanel, and also under Rev. S. Singer. He painted mainly portraits, for example, Mrs Patrick Campbell as 'Paula Tanqueray' (1894; The Arts Club, London), which made his name as a portraitist. However, he also painted mythological and biblical scenes. These were often large and theatrical, for example, Ruth and The Birth of Love. He had a number of important patrons among rich Jewish entrepreneurs, such as Alfred Mond, who commissioned Mrs Alfred Mond and her Children (1908; Private Collection). In World War I he worked as a camouflage artist.

Solomon exhibited from 1881 at the Royal Academy, New Gallery and Society of British Artists. In 1886 he was elected a member of the New English Art Club, a group with which JW exhibited in 1888. A year later he entered into membership at the Royal Institute of Oil Painters. In 1891 he was elected a member of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters and in 1896 he became an associate of the Royal Academy, achieving full membership in 1906. He was a member of The Arts Club from 1887 until at least 1920. He joined the Royal Society of British Artists in 1919, and in that year was appointed its President, a role undertaken by JW from 1886-88.

Solomon was among those who attended a dinner organised by W. C. Symons to congratulate JW on being made an Honorary Member of the Royal Academy of Munich, a dinner held at the Criterion in Piccadilly on 1 May 1889. He asked A. L. Baxter from the Reform Club to accompany him (#05510).

Bibliography:

Bénézit, E., Dictionnaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs et Graveurs, 8 vols, Paris, 1956-61; Wood, Christopher, Dictionary of Victorian Painters, Woodbridge, 1971; Johnson, J., and A. Gruetzner, Dictionary of British Artists 1880-1940, Woodbridge, 1980; Maas, Jeremy, The Victorian Art World in Photographs, London, 1984; McConkey, Kenneth, Memory and Desire: Painting in Britain and Ireland at the Turn of the Twentieth Century, London, 2002.