Schütze, Eva Watson, 1867-1935

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Eva Watson-Schütze was born in Jersey City, New Jersey in 1867. At the age of sixteen she enrolled in the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, where she studied under Thomas Eakins. She eventually became a founding member of the Photo-Secession movement and contributed both images and articles to Stieglitz's Camera Work, while being an active participant in Steiglitz's circle of followers and artists. Like many late-19th-century photographers, Eva Watson-Schütze originally had her work exhibited at Alfred Stieglitz's influential New York Gallery.

Watson-Schütze established a new studio in Chicago and soon attracted a large and appreciative clientele for her romantic, yet powerfully composed portraits and figure studies. Beginning in 1902, she and her husband spent their summers in Woodstock, New York. Eventually, Watson-Schütze lived there six months out of the year, working on photography and painting.

In Woodstock, she became associated with Byrdcliffe, a distinctly American arts and crafts colony. Founded by Ralph Radcliffe Whitehead, his wife Jane Byrd McCall, Hervey White (associated with Jane Addams's Hull House) and painter Bolton Brown, Byrdcliffe was conceived under the precept set forth by John Ruskin and William Morris: a movement resistant to the rapid urbanization and industrialization during the latter part of the nineteenth century. They had the vision of developing a utopian community that would foster the education and collaboration of like-minded artists; the mission: producing handmade objects to finance the colony and concurrently holding classes to lend its aesthetic traditions to future generations.

Additionally, in 1929 Watson-Schütze became the director of the Renaissance Society, a non-collecting museum founded in 1915 at the University of Chicago and is Chicago's oldest contemporary art museum. Named for the spirit of rebirth, the society sought to provide university students with a well-rounded education in the arts. Although located on the university campus, the museum has remained an independent institution.

Despite the controversies surrounding modern art following the Armory Show of 1913, the society, from its inception, was quick to embrace modernism. Under Watson-Schütze's direction, from 1929 to 1935, the society presented groundbreaking exhibitions of early modernists such as Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Marc Chagall, Jean Arp, Joan Miró, Wassily Kandinsky, Piet Mondrian, Henri Matisse, and Constantin Brancusi, as well as pivotal one-person shows of Isamu Noguchi, Alexander Calder, Fernand Léger, and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.

Eva Watson-Schütze died in 1935.

From the guide to the Schütze, Eva Watson. Photographs, 1902-1929, (Special Collections Research Center University of Chicago Library 1100 East 57th Street Chicago, Illinois 60637 U.S.A.)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Schütze, Eva Watson. Photographs, 1902-1929 Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library,
referencedIn Schütze, Martin. Papers, 1900-1950 Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library,
referencedIn Johnston, Frances Benjamin, 1864-1952. Frances Benjamin Johnston papers, 1855-1956 (bulk 1890-1945). Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn Frances Benjamin Johnston Papers, 1855-1956, (bulk 1890-1945) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
creatorOf Oakley, Violet, 1874-1961. Violet Oakley papers, 1841-1981. Archives of American Art
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Addams, Jane, 1860-1935 person
associatedWith Castle, Mabel Wing person
associatedWith Dewey, John, 1859-1952 person
correspondedWith Johnston, Frances Benjamin, 1864-1952. person
correspondedWith Johnston, Francis Benjamin, 1864-1852 person
associatedWith Mead, George Herbert, 1863-1931 person
associatedWith Mead, Henry C. A person
associatedWith Nef, Elinor Castle, 1894 or 5-1953 person
associatedWith Nef, John Ulric, 1899- person
associatedWith Oakley, Violet, 1874-1961. person
associatedWith Schütze, Martin, 1866-1950 person
associatedWith Tufts, James Hayden, 1862-1942 person
associatedWith Yeats, W. B. (William Butler), 1865-1939 person
Place Name Admin Code Country


Birth 1867

Death 1935

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Ark ID: w6418xw8

SNAC ID: 71728912