BIOGRAPHY - Emile A. Gruppé (1896 - 1978)
Emile Albert Gruppé was a twentieth-century American painter. Gruppé was born in 1896 in Rochester, New York. He was the son of the Canadian-born American painter Charles Gruppé, who ran an artistic household. Emile’s siblings later pursued careers in the arts, with his brothers Karl and Paulo becoming a sculptor and a cellist, respectively, while his sister Virginia became a watercolor painter. The family moved to the Netherlands when Emile was an infant, where Charles planned on acquiring and selling contemporary Dutch paintings to sell on the American market. Emile and his family would not return to the United States until 1913, starting his formal artistic training shortly after. After briefly being apprenticed to a sign painter in Rochester, Gruppé studied at the National Academy of Design in New York, the Cape Cod School of Art in Provincetown, and the Académie de la Grande Chaumière in Paris. He studied under George Bridgman, Charles Chapman, Richard Miller, and Charles Hawthorne at these schools. However, Gruppé admitted that his most influential teacher was probably John Fabian Carlson, whom he met while attending a summer school organized by the Art Students League in Woodstock, New York.
After his studies, he moved to Gloucester, a small town on the coast of northeastern Massachusetts. He set up a studio there and began producing Impressionist-inspired landscapes and marine paintings. By the 1930s, he had become well-known among art circles, particularly in the northeastern United States. He founded the Gloucester School of Painting in 1942, recruiting several of his former instructors, including Carlson and Miller, to serve as faculty. The school was located in a part of Gloucester called Rocky Neck, which since the 1870s had a reputation as a hub for American artists from Winslow Homer to Edward Hopper. Through the school and other local arts organizations like the North Shore Art Association and the Rockport Art Association, he taught classes on painting, sometimes en plein air, to large crowds of up to one hundred attendees.
After suffering from a stroke in 1970, he stepped back from his school duties but continued to paint. He passed away on September 28, 1978. He was a member of the Salmagundi Club and the Allied Artists of America, among many other organizations. Gruppé’s son Robert owns and operates the Gruppé Gallery in Gloucester, while his daughter Emilie owns the Emile A. Gruppe Gallery in Jericho, Vermont.