The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Solomon Joseph Solomon, 1860-1927

Nationality: English
Date of Birth: 1860.09.16
Place of Birth: The Borough, London
Date of Death: 1927.07.27
Place of Death: Birchington


Solomon Joseph Solomon, a portrait and figure painter, was born into a Jewish family. He was the brother of the portrait, landscape and interior painter Lily Delissa Joseph, née Solomon. In 1897 he married the daughter of the late Hyman Montague.


Solomon studied art at the Royal Academy Schools, Munich Academy, Ecole des Beaux-Arts under Cabanel, and also under Rev. S. Singer. He painted mainly portraits, for example, Mrs Patrick Campbell as 'Paula Tanqueray' (1894; The Arts Club, London), which made his name as a portraitist. However, he also painted mythological and biblical scenes. These were often large and theatrical, for example, Ruth and The Birth of Love. He had a number of important patrons among rich Jewish entrepreneurs, such as Alfred Mond, who commissioned Mrs Alfred Mond and her Children (1908; Private Collection). In World War I he worked as a camouflage artist.

Solomon exhibited from 1881 at the Royal Academy, New Gallery and Society of British Artists. In 1886 he was elected a member of the New English Art Club, a group with which JW exhibited in 1888. A year later he entered into membership at the Royal Institute of Oil Painters. In 1891 he was elected a member of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters and in 1896 he became an associate of the Royal Academy, achieving full membership in 1906. He was a member of The Arts Club from 1887 until at least 1920. He joined the Royal Society of British Artists in 1919, and in that year was appointed its President, a role undertaken by JW from 1886-88.

Solomon was among those who attended a dinner organised by W. C. Symons to congratulate JW on being made an Honorary Member of the Royal Academy of Munich, a dinner held at the Criterion in Piccadilly on 1 May 1889. He asked A. L. Baxter from the Reform Club to accompany him (#05510).


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 A. Gruetzner, Dictionary of British Artists 1880-1940, Woodbridge, 1980; Maas, Jeremy, The Victorian Art World in Photographs, London, 1984; McConkey, Kenneth, Memory and Desire: Painting in Britain and Ireland at the Turn of the Twentieth Century, London, 2002.