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Anthony Thieme

Anthony Thieme: Anthony Thieme

Anthony Thieme


1888 - December 6, 1954

After establishing an eponymous art school in Rockport, Massachusetts in 1929, Anthony Thieme was instrumental in developing the coastal community as a flourishing arts center.

His work, heavily inspired by the Impressionists but exhibiting his love of bold colors, was almost entirely created “en plein air”. He was continually inspired by the landscapes and maritime scenes of the historic villages and fishing ports that dotted the North Shore of Massachusetts, but perhaps he is most well known for his depictions of a humble – now famous — fishing shack, which he painted more than 400 times in his career. His school operated from 1929 to 1943, a period in which some of the country’s best artists traveled to Rockport.

Although he received critical acclaim in his lifetime and his pieces are now part of the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Boston Museum of Fine Art and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Thieme’s career grew from a modest beginning. He was born in Holland in 1888 and at age 14 began his studies at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Rotterdam and at The Hague, much to the dismay of his parents, who would have preferred him to continue his studies at the naval school where he was initially enrolled. He left home at age 17 to travel around Europe, pursuing his passion for painting but frequently finding work instead as a stage designer.

He continued to work in this capacity after he had moved to the United States, first to New York, where he designed sets for ballerina Anna Pavlova, and then later to Boston. In 1928/1929, Thieme married, gave up set designing, and moved to Rockport, where he was able to earn a living from the sale of his paintings. 

He continued to travel throughout his lifetime, particularly in South America, where the hot primary colors found so prevalently throughout the landscape and architecture strongly influenced his own pieces. He set up a winter residence in St. Augustine, Florida, in the late 1940s/early 1950s, and a nearby river became a recurring motif in his work from that time in place.

Thieme committed suicide on December 6, 1954 in Connecticut. The circumstances surrounding his death remain unclear, but he remains the preeminent figure of the Rockport School to this day.

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