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Artist Biography

 Anna Eliza Hardy, the daughter of the artist Jeremiah Pearson Hardy and Catherine Sears Wheeler Hardy was born Jan. 26, 1839 in Bangor Maine. Anna Eliza, or Annie as she was known, was the only daughter and youngest of four children. Hardy's early education was that of schools in Bangor, Maine. She painted her first painting at the age of sixteen under her father's encouragement, promising her one of his landscapes if she would copy it. Her love of color thus aroused, she spent most of the rest of her life in a prolific outpouring of small but exquisite still lifes. Although her chief instructor was her father, she later painted for a short time in the studio of George Jeannin in Paris and had some instruction with the American Painter Abott H. Thayer. Hardy herself became a teacher and instructed other women artists in floral painting.

The single theme of Anna Hardy's art was the intimate world of still life. William Gerdts described her as "the finest still-life specialist in Maine in the nineteenth century" ("Art Across America"). She executed her compositions with "loving precision rendering bouquets of roses and wild flowers, peeled oranges, translucent grapes, and folded linen napkins in a manner that blended the decorative instinct of a primitive with the illusionism of a trompe-l'oeil painter." Hardy later developed a more impressionistic rendering of still-life painting. Her sense of color was refined and delicate while capturing the quality and freshness of nature.

Hardy exhibited at the National Academy of Design, the Boston Art Club and the Society of Independent Artists. Lithographs of her flower paintings were made by Louis Prang Chromolithographs. In later life she lived for a time at South Orrington, Maine, and finally at Jamaica Plain, Mass., where she died at the age of ninety-five on Dec. 15, 1934.
Anna Eliza Hardy’s paintings are held in many private collections and in the Portland Museum of Art, Portland, Maine.

References:
Peter Hastings Falk, Who Was Who in American Art (Connecticut: Sound View Press, 1999)
Chris Petteys, Dictionary of Women Artists (Boston, MA: G.K. Hall & Co., 1985)
William H. Gerdts, Art Across America: Two Centuries of Regional Painting, 1710-1920, Volume 1, (New York: Abbeville Press: 1990)
Charlotte S. Rubinstein, American Women Artists (GK Hall, 1982)