Walter Elmer Schofield

Life Dates

Walter Elmer Schofield is regarded as a leader of the Philadelphia Impressionists and central to the broader phenomenon of American Impressionism. Born in Philadelphia in 1866, Walter Elmer Schofield was the son of a prominent businessman, Benjamin Schofield. He graduated from Central High School after attending Swarthmore Preparatory School for a year. His adoption of painting as a profession apparently derived from a visit to a ranch in Texas, where ranch hands saw his sketches and proclaimed him a budding artist, an observation he took to heart. From 1889 to 1892 Schofield pursued his artistic career by attending the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and working with the acclaimed artist Thomas Anshutz. There he studied alongside the artists William Glackens and Hugh Henry Breckenridge, with whom he maintained a lifelong friendship.

From 1892 to 1894, Schofield attended the Académie Julian in Paris. He spent two more years throughout France where, despite his academic training, he became heavily influenced by the works of French impressionists. In 1886, the artist married Muriel Charlotta Redmayne and took up residency in the United Kingdom. He traveled annually to the United States during the winter months and painted his masterful renditions of the Pennsylvania countryside. Warmer seasons spent in England produced his popular works along Cornwell’s rocky coastline.

Schofield’s legacy has been carefully preserved at Woodmere. Stemming from the artist’s close friendship with Edith Emerson, a memorial exhibition was held a year after his death, serving as the museum’s first “special exhibition”. A second major exhibit in 2015, International Impressionist, broadened the view of Schofield’s work to highlight the scope of his transatlantic career.

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