Low, Mary Fairchild (1858–1946)

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Low, Mary Fairchild (1858–1946)

American painter. Name variations: Mary Louise Fairchild MacMonnies. Born Mary Louise Fairchild in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1858; died in 1946; descendant of Governor William Bradford of the Mayflower; attended St. Louis Art Academy; studied at France's Académie Julian and with Carolus-Duran; married Frederick MacMonnies (a sculptor), in 1888 (divorced); married Will Hicok Low (a mural painter and illustrator), in 1909; children: (first marriage) two daughters.

Mary Fairchild Low was born in 1858 in New Haven, Connecticut, and studied at the St. Louis Art Academy, where she won a three-year scholarship. She then studied in Paris under Carolus-Duran. While there, she met and married sculptor Frederick MacMonnies. Both successful artists, they lived in an elegant apartment on the Rue de Sèvres, summered in their 14th-century monastery at Giverny, and frequently entertained. Their next door neighbors were Claude Monet and Isadora Duncan . The 1893 Chicago Exposition was a joint showcase for the Mac-Monnies where their work was well received. Frederick's large sculpture Barge of State was the central fountain, while Mary Low's mural Primitive Woman was displayed opposite Mary Cassatt 's Modern Woman. Their marriage ended, however, when Frederick turned his attention to one of his art students.

Mary Low's works include groups of nudes or modern figures painted in the open air and sunlight, with delicate charm, as well as landscapes and portraits. Under the name Mary Louise Fairchild MacMonnies, she was awarded several gold medals in European exhibitions; in 1902, she won the Julia Shaw prize of the Society of American Artists. After her second marriage to Will Low, Mary moved to Bronxville, New York, and dispensed with the name MacMonnies, deleting all references to her former husband.