Colin Campbell Cooper- American Impressionist: Interior Scene – Oil On Canvas c. 1900 P790

“Cooper’s work is most often discussed in the context of a particular place or movement–American Impressionism within New York, or Impressionism within California are most frequent. Also referenced is work by Cooper that falls within the American Orientalist movement. He is also referred to as an American painter who, sophisticated and well-trained and -travelled, throughout his life documented his many travels. Actually Cooper was all of the above. While his oeuvre has rarely, if ever, been examined in its entirety, both the quality and the scope of his work is tremendous.”

A domestic interior, and a beautiful study of light, as it is experienced from inside, the whole scene muted, but with the glimpse of the day outside all the more intense for how it is filtered, bounced into the room from a building opposite and even given back into the glass of a framed picture. The apparent cool and darkness of the composition gives way to a warmth and essential luminosity that becomes the heart of this fascinating work.

It must be noted that the painting has been extensively restored and the canvas relined.

Canvas 18.25″ x 15.25″, frame 24″ x 21″.

Price on request.

Colin Campbell Cooper was intelligent, hard-working and talented–combined with his family’s willingness to finance many aspects of his early career, Cooper had an edge over many of his contemporaries, and he made the most of it. He travelled, taught, painted and exhibited after he finished school. In 1902, when Cooper was in his mid-forties, he began the long series of skyscraper and modern urban landscape paintings for which he is currently best known.

A resident and distinguished impressionist painter of both the East and West Coasts, Colin Campbell Cooper earned an international reputation with his depictions of landscapes, florals, portraits, gardens, interiors and figures.  He was especially noted for street scenes and skyscrapers of New York and Philadelphia, and his impressionist* palette was inspired by Childe Hassam, whom he met in New York beginning in the 1890s.

In the later part of his life, he focused on West Coast subject matter and espoused The California Style of watercolor painting, a bold, aggressive new oil-painting look to a medium that had traditionally been used more modestly.

He was born in Philadelphia to an upper class family where the father was a surgeon, and he, the son, was encouraged by his educated family to pursue art.  He was also inspired by the art he saw at the 1876 Philadelphia Exposition.  He studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts with Thomas Eakins and in Paris at the Academies Julian, Vitti, and Delecluse.  During that time, he traveled throughout Europe and painted picturesque architectural scenes, which gained him widespread recognition.  Sadly many of these paintings were lost in a fire of 1896.

From 1895 to 1898, he was instructor of watercolor at the Drexel Institute in Philadelphia and then moved to New York City from where he and his artist wife, Emma Lampert, traveled throughout the world in search of subject matter.  On a European trip in 1912, they sailed on the Carpathia and became part of the rescue operation of the sinking Titanic, an experience that Cooper depicted in a painting,  View of Steamship Carpathia passing along the edge of the ice flow after recuing survivors of the Titanic (1912).

Of this event it was written by an historian that Carpathia, built 1902, “was sailing from New York City to Rijeka on the night of Sunday, 14 April 1912.  Among her passengers were renowned American painters Colin Campbell Cooper and his wife Emma, journalist Lewis P. Skidmore, photographer Dr. Francis H. Blackmarr and Charles H. Marshall, whose three nieces were traveling aboard the Titanic.  . . .At 4 o’clock in the morning Carpathia arrived at the scene after working her way through dangerous ice fields.  Carpathia was able to save 705 people, all that survived the sinking of TitanicCarpathia, outbound for the Mediterranean prior to the distress call, ferried the survivors to New York.”  (

The Coopers first went to California in 1915, spending the winter in Los Angeles and in 1921, settled in Santa Barbara, where he served as Dean of Painting at the Santa Barbara Community School of the Arts.