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Mary Danforth Page


Page was born in Boston and began drawing lessons with Helen M. Knowlton at age seventeen. In 1889, she began five years of lessons at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston under the tutelage of Frank Weston Benson and Edmund Charles Tarbell. In 1903, she traveled to Europe where she copied the paintings of Diego Velazquez while in Spain. Upon her return, she took lessons at Harvard University in color theory with Denman Ross and at some point also studied informally with Abbott Handerson Thayer.

In 1896, she married Dr. Calvin Page, a research bacteriologist and settled into 128 Marlborough Street in Boston where she had a studio on the top floor. Page began receiving commissions at home for copies of works by people like Gilbert Stuart and original commissions. Three of her paintings were accepted for the Panama-Pacific Exhibition of 1915 in San Francisco and one of them won a bronze. Further prizes followed at the National Academy of Design and the Newport Art Association. In 1921, she had her first one-woman show at the Guild of Boston Artists and was elected and associate of the National Academy of Design in 1927. Throughout her career, she continued to win prizes and received an honorary MA from Tufts University.

Page insisted throughout her career that sitters visit her in her studio rather than her visiting them. By the 1920s, she was charging $1000 for a full-length portrait and painted such subjects as Mary Emma Woolley, the president of Mount Holyoke College, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, in rehearsal under Serge Koussevitsky and six professors at Harvard. She also designed a poster, Building for Health, published during World War I.

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