My Family at Somesville, c. 1888

Art gallery, Laurelton Hall, Long Island, New York, 1902–57

Oil on canvas Louis Comfort Tiffany, American, 1848–1933 24 x 36 in. (73-001)

While some artists visiting the popular island resort of Somesville, Maine, chose to focus on the impressive seascapes, Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848–1933) turned his eye to a vast field of wildflowers through which his family took a stroll. He captured that charming scene in the painting My Family at Somesville. The painting depicts Tiffany’s second wife, Louise, with son Charles Lewis, daughter Mary, twins Comfort and Julia, and their nurse on a leisurely walk with a cow. The Somesville scene, an idyllic outdoor image of his family, was one of Tiffany’s favorites. There are at least two other similarly themed Tiffany works: the 1888 oil painting Family Group with Oxen and the 1889 watercolor Family Group with Cow. Tiffany, of course, began his artistic career as a painter. In Louis Comfort Tiffany: The Painting Career of a Colorist, Joan Elliott Price notes that Tiffany’s mature painting style developed from years of experimentation. His first paintings resembled the subject matter and technique of his early teachers, especially George Inness (1825–94) and Samuel Colman (1832–1920). Tiffany’s genre paintings, including those of his family, Price says, “suggest the making of an individual artist, a self-sufficient colorist.”