The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Alfred East, 1849-1913

Nationality: British
Date of Birth: 1849.12.15
Place of Birth: Kettering
Date of Death: 1913.09.28
Place of Death: London


Alfred East was a landscape painter and etcher.


East studied at Glasgow School of Art and then at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris under Tony Fleury and William-Adolphe Bougereau. His landscapes were greatly influenced by those of the Barbizon school, although they tended to be more decorative and idealised, e.g. Autumn (1887; Manchester City Art Galleries) and A Haunt of Ancient Peace (1896; Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest). He travelled widely throughout Europe as well as to North Africa and Japan.

East became an Associate of the R.A. in 1899 and a full member in 1913. He was one of the founder members of Royal Society of Painters-Etchers and Engravers in 1885, along with JW's brother-in-law Francis Seymour Haden. He also became a member of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours in 1887, resigning in 1898, of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters in 1888 and of The Arts Club in 1889. He was elected an honourary member of the Royal Miniature Society in 1907. He also became a member of the New English Art Club in 1887, a group with which JW exhibited in 1888, and of the Royal Society of British Artists in 1883, a society of which JW was elected President in 1886. East in turn became its President in 1906. In 1910 he was knighted.

East's name was included in a list by JW of those to be invited to the private view of 'Notes' - 'Harmonies' - 'Nocturnes', Messrs Dowdeswell, London, 1884, on 17 May (#08682). However, JW spoke slightly disparagingly of East in 1888, writing to Charles Deschamps that the works of Aubrey Hunt were 'far more artistically rare' than anything ever composed by East (#07923).


Bénézit, E., Dictionnaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs et Graveurs, 8 vols, Paris, 1956-61; Wood, Christopher, Dictionary of Victorian Painters, Woodbridge, 1971; Johnson, J., and Anna Greutzner, Dictionary of British Artists 1880-1940, Woodbridge, 1980; McConkey, Kenneth, Memory and Desire: Painting in Britain and Ireland at the Turn of the Twentieth Century, London, 2002.