Walter Launt Palmer American, 1854-1932


Walter Launt Palmer was born in Albany, New York in 1854, the son of the sculptor Erastus Bow Palmer, and consequently grew up surrounded by art and artists. He undertook his first art lessons while he was still a young man in his teens with the portraitist Charles Elliott. He was fortunate enough due to his father's friendship with Frederic Edwin Church to secure a selective spot as one of the great landscape artist's students. Afterward he traveled extensively in Italy and France. In Paris he began to study with the master of color tonalities Emile Auguste Carolus-Duran who taught Palmer the importance of tonality control. In addition Palmer studied the work of the great Impressionists as well as those of the American artists studying abroad such as John Singer Sargent, John Henry Twachtman, William Merritt Chase, Frank Duveneck, and Robert Blum. During his lifetime Palmer received numerous prestigious awards from such organizations as the National Academy of Design who awarded him the Hallgarten Prize for outstanding artists under 35 with potential, the Philadelphia Art Club and the Boston Art Club. The Metropolitan Museum purchased one of his paintings entitled Sunlight shortly after it was painted in 1921. This acquisition marked the importance of Palmer as an artist and provided an important note to his legacy.  Palmer died in Albany, the very town where he was born, on April 16, 1932 at the age of 78. Palmer is still recognized today as the great artist he was when he was alive and painting his beloved snow scenes. 


National Academy of Design, Associate 1887, Member 1897

Society of American Artist, 1881

New York Watercolor Club

American Watercolor Society

Salmagundi Club, 1901


Century Association

American Federation of Arts

Union Internationale des Beaux-Arts et des Lettres

New York State Fine Arts Commission


National Academy of Design, 1877 (Hallgarten Prize)

Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893 (medal)

Philadelphia Art Club, 1894 (gold)

American Watercolor Society, 1895 (prize)

Boston Art Club, 1895 (gold)

Tennessee Centennial Exposition, Nashville, 1897 (prize)

Paris Exhibition, 1900 (prize)

Pan-American Exposition, Buffalo, 1901 (medal)

Charleston Exposition, 1902 (medal)

St. Louis Exposition, 1904 (medal)

Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, 1907 (medal)

Corcoran Gallery of Art Biennials 1907-1912

Buenos Aires Exposition, 1910 (medal)

Art Institute of Chicago, 1919 (Butler Award)

Wilmington, 1926 (DuPont Award), 1928 (DuPont Award)

Brooklyn Art Association

Museums and Public Collections

Albany Institute of History and Art, New York

Art Institute of Chicago

Art Museum, Youngstown, Ohio

Buffalo Fine Arts Academy

Butler Institute of American Art

Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, New York

Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester, New York

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas

Museum of the National Academy of Design, New York City

Omaha, Nebraska Art Society

Public Galleries, Richmond, Indiana

Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery at Scripps College, California

Society of American Artists

Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington D.C.

Wichita Art Museum, Kansas

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