JULIE HELLER GALLERIES
ARTHUR V. DIEHL
“Arthur V. Diehl was a warm, loving, generous, creative, entertaining man with artistic talent in many areas. He was a painter, a musician, a poet, an actor, an inventor, a husband, and a father [...] He showed his work in department stores and gave lectures and demonstrations in schools. His paintings carried themselves off the walls of his studio. There were no galleries involved, and no one else stood to profit, so no one else pushed his work [...] Diehl was not part of any organized group of artists. He used his time to paint and run his open studios. This open studio where the public was invited to see him work was a novel idea - but one that fit his style. He could work and talk at the same time. He opened a series of these studios, the first being in Asbury Park, NJ in 1909 [...] He admired masters like Rembrandt, Whistler, Sargent, and Homer, but did not have any interest in being part of an art movement. He painted perhaps 3000 paintings in a year and although he lived only 59 years, he left a vast number of paintings which are scattered all over the country.
Born in London on January 6, 1870, Arthur was one of six children of Louis and Alice Mangold Diehl [...] While still 18, he married one of his sisters’ nurses over twice his age, and at 23 he moved to the USA. The wife, Lizzie, followed him there, but died in 1894, and their three children seemed to have died young. He married secondly an actor’s widow, Marguerite Haynie Tower, about ten years older than himself with three children. They had a daughter, Mayatha, in 1899. His work in these early years in America is uncertain, but he painted thousands of copies of European paintings and original paintings for a New York art dealer. He did not sign these paintings with his own name [...] Marguerite died in 1904, and in 1904 in New York City, he married Eugenia (Jennie) Ludwig, a woman his own age, of Austrian descent. One child, Arthur C.V. Diehl, was born in 1909, and the couple adopted and brought up Mayatha [...]
In 1912 he moved his entire family to Sandwich [...] After leaving Sandwich he found a heaven at the Head of the Bay in Buzzards Bay in a cottage owned by the wealthy and eccentric Mrs. Frederick E. Snow [...] After World War I, he rented part of the Moody House on Shore Drive in the Monument sector of Bourne, and his family lived there until his death in 1929 and afterwards [...] During the ‘20s his life took a more orderly pattern, painting summers at Provincetown, and during the rest of the year putting on painting shows in various cities, typically in major department stores in Boston, Worcester, Springfield, Providence, Hartford and New Haven [...]
Arthur Diehl’s painting style quite naturally evolved from the french Barbizon School since he came from Europe and knew the European painters‘ work [...] Arthur painted landscapes, mostly Cape Cod scenes, sand dunes, and wharfs. His figures are a part of the landscape, not the main subject of the paintings, except in his allegorical paintings in which figures were the central theme. His paintings are not as dark as some of the paintings of the Barbizon School. They are very realistic, but leaning towards the impressionistic. He became more impressionistic towards the end of his life but never fully joined the movement. He realized that the impressionistic paintings were his best work and they sold very well. Finding that he had cancer, he painted furiously to establish a backlog to provide income for his family after his death. He died at the Truesdale Hospital in Fall River, Massachusetts, January 12, 1929, and he is buried in Grey Gables Cemetery in Bourne [...]”
- Eugenia Diehl Pell, granddaughter