Colin Campbell Cooper

Cathedral at Carcassonne

circa 1890s
oil on canvas
26 x 20 inches
36 x 30 inches framed
signed lower right

Karges Fine Art, California
Private collection, Atlanta (purchased circa 1994)


Colin Campbell Cooper, painter, teacher, writer, lecturer, watercolorist and impressionist was born in Philadelphia, P.A. in 1856. His father, a wealthy surgeon, encouraged his son to pursue his talent in 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, the Academie Julian in Paris with Vitti, and Delecluse and additionally at other art schools in Paris. He spent much time in Europe painting figure and architectural subjects, many of these paintings were lost in a fire of 1896.

Speaking of the success that Cooper had in rendering his city scenes, a writer for the "Brush and Palette" (1872) magazine wrote "that Cooper has the natural gift of seeing the beauty of what to most people are prosaic structures, and the patience and persistence to perfect his delineation of street and building, is the secret of his success as an architectural painter."

From 1895 to 1898, Cooper 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.

The Cooper's 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 Arts. He also painted in Taos, New Mexico, and in Arizona including the Superstition Mountains east of Phoenix.

Cooper was a member of many leading art clubs in this country. He was elected an associate member of the National Academy of Design in 1908, and elected to full status as an Academician to the National Academy of Design in 1912. Additionally he was a member of the New York Watercolor Club; Art Club of Philadelphia; Philadelphia Watercolor Society; American Watercolor Society; Fellowship Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art; Lotus Club; National Arts Club and American Federation of Arts and others.

He won numerous awards including: Wm. T. Evans prize, AWCS, 1903;1910; gold medal for oil and silver medal for watercolor, Pan Am Pacific Expo., San Francisco, 1915; Hudnut prize, NYWCC, 1918 and others. His work can be found in many important museum collections throughout the world. He passed away in Santa Barbara, California on November 6th 1937.