Edward Willis Redfield – 2011 Honored Citizen

STHS_Redfield_Edward_Edward Willis Redfield was born in 1869 in Bridgeville, DE, and spent the early part of his life in Philadelphia. He attended the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia. In 1887 he traveled to Paris where he studied at the Académie Julian and the École de Beaux-Arts. He met his wife Elise in France, and the two settled in Centre Bridge in 1898. Edward was one of the first painters to move to Solebury and is considered a co-founder of the New Hope artist colony along with William Langson Lathrop. Edward himself adamantly maintained his independence from the New Hope group. Today these artists are collectively known as the Pennsylvania Impressionists, and Edward is one of the most acclaimed of the group.

Edward painted en plein air on large canvases, many with snow scenes. He would stand outside in snowy weather for seven to eight hours at a time, filling his canvas “at one go” to capture the immediacy of the scene before him with rapid strokes of thick impasto. The paintings display a vigorous realism and capture the glaring, reflective quality of the snow. He painted in the Solebury area for some 20 years. Perhaps his best-known painting in Bucks County is that of the burning of the Centre Bridge.

Edward’s works were exhibited nation-wide, including twenty-seven that were featured at the Panama-Pacific International Exhibition in San Francisco, CA, in 1915. Today his paintings are displayed in the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, and in other major museums.

Edward Redfield passed away in 1965.

STHS has three oral history interviews of Edward Redfield:  recording 1, recording 2, recording 3.