Joseph DeCamp is considered one of American’s preeminent portrait painters. He was a member of The Ten American Painters (1898) with Hassam, Tarbell, Benson, Dewing, Reid, Metcalf, Hassam, Weir, Twachtman (and Chase, who took Twachtman’s place in 1902). DeCamp was considered a Tarbellite and a leading member of The Boston School of Painting. DeCamp was born and raised in the Cincinnati area and became a lifelong friend and admirer of Frank Duveneck. With Duveneck he traveled throughout Europe and met most of influential artists of the 19th-century (including Whistler, Sargent and Monet).
Studying under Duveneck at the Munich Academy, DeCamp gained a high respect for academically accurate drawing combined with fluent brushwork. DeCamp’s work is in permanent collections throughout the world, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Metropolitan Museum of Art; Worcester Museum; PAFA; Cummer Museum, Jacksonville, FL; Harvard University Portrait Collection (President Theodore Roosevelt); Cincinnati Art Museum; and elsewhere. He was renown for having painted many famous people’s portraits, including presidents of the United States.
Throughout DeCamp’s career he was plagued with sickness and misfortune. In 1904 a studio fire at the Fenway Studios, Boston, and another fire in his Maine studio, destroyed most of his life work. There are no more than 94 known canvases by Joseph DeCamp but collectors who want examples by The Ten American Painters want to own his work. Unfortunately, there are not enough to go around. DeCamp is best known for his Eakin-like portraits in which dark plays against light tonalities and people’s characters are understood. He died in Boca Grande, Florida in 1923.