Julie Hart Beers was born in 1835 in Pittsfield, Massachuetts. She was the sister of two important Hudson River School artists, James McDougal Hart (1828-1901) and William Hart (1823-1894). Taught by her brothers and her husband, also a painter, Beers became one of the first American-born women to gain recognition as an artist. She moved to New York in the late 1850s, and her works were widely exhibited through the latter part of the century in venues such as the Boston Athenaeum, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and National Academy of Design. After the death of her first husband in 1875, the artist remarried and the couple moved to Metuchen, New Jersey. Beers’ art includes many intimate landscapes painted along the Hudson River and in various New England states, as well as fresh, colorful still lifes.
William Gerdts observed in his exhibition catalog, Women Artists of America, 1707-1964, that “Mrs. Julie Hart Beers Kempson became the only woman artist of the century to specialize in landscape. It is perhaps not surprising to find so few women landscapists, since the rigors of painting outdoors and the unseemliness of women engaging in this activity during the Victorian era acted as a deterrent” (1). Her talent and determination attests to her prominent position in nineteenth century American art.
1. William H. Gerdts, Women Artists of America 1707-1964 (Newark: Newark Museum, 1965), 8.