Caleb Arnold Slade’s paintings hang alongside those of John Singer Sargent at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston and, to many people, his Venice paintings and Arab scenes are Sargentesque because each embodies beautifully orchestrated, fluent brushwork and an artistic design. Like Sargent, Slade is known for his scenes in and around New England and Venice, Italy, France and Arabia and his impressionistic brushwork is confident and accurate.
Slade was born in Acushnet, MA in 1882 and maintained a studio in Truro, MA near Edward Hopper. He graduated from Brown University in 1904 and then studied art at the Art Students League with F.V. Dumond, Louis Loab and others. During this period he became an illustrator to earn enough money to travel and study in France. He went to Paris in 1905 and studied at the Academie Julian with Jean Paul Laurens, Schommer and Bachet (1907).
By 1905, Slade had established a cosmopolitan studio on Paris’s Left Bank and diligently studied painting, entertained American and Parisian students and studied the human anatomy and nature. He sketched in Moret, Bashet, Brittany, Holland and Venice and was considered a consummate Impressionist by the French.
By 1920, Slade was renown for his marines, figural works, portraits and landscapes executed on location in Italy, France and America. He was well recognized for his canvases that showed World War I soldiers returning and leaving for battle in France and some of it was reproduced in The Literary Digest, Women’s Home Companion and numerous newspapers.
During World War I, Slade maintained a studio in France, where painters like Chauncey F. Ryder and others stayed and painted. In 1918, he was sent to Chateau sur Seine under secret order to study and construct camouflage materials and paint designs for the U.S. troops, and by the end of the war he was commissioned to paint portraits of V.P. Dawes, Senator Borah, Admiral Moffatt, General Frank T. Hines and other dignitaries. After the war he returned to Tunis to paint a series which was published in Scribner’s in 1921. He became a proficient portrait painter, but preferred painting landscapes with figures and at the end of his life he painted biblical and religious subjects.