Cape Ann Artists of the Past

Anthony Thieme

anthony thieme


Anthony Thieme

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

“Anthony Thieme (20 February 1888 – 6 December 1954) was a landscape and marine painter and a major figure of the Rockport (MA) School of American regional art. He was a contemporary of important Rockport artists Aldro Hibbard, Emil Gruppe, W. Lester Stevens, Antonio Cirino, and Marguerite Pierson.

Born in Rotterdam on 20 February 1888, Thieme studied at the Academie of Fine Arts in Rotterdam for two years and then, briefly, at the Royal Academy, the Hague. He traveled widely in Europe, frequently finding work as a stage designer.

Thieme traveled to the United States at the age of 22. He quickly found work as a stage designer at the Century Theater in New York, designing sets for the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova. When the commission ended, he traveled to South America, primarily Brazil and Argentina. Stage work again provided his livelihood. A return to Europe followed with further work in England, France, and Italy.

Returning to the United States with a contract for additional stage work, Thieme found himself in Boston. He discontinued work on the stage in 1928 and from then on made his living with the sales of his paintings and etchings. Thieme married Lillian Beckett in 1929 and moved to Rockport, MA. He established the Thieme School of Art. He exhibited his work frequently at the Grand Central Art Galleries in New York.

He continued to travel widely; Mexico, Guatemala, Florida, and France were major destinations, always painting en plein air.

Thieme committed suicide on 6 December 1954 in Greenwich, CT. The circumstances of his death are not fully understood. There have been stories of deep depression or major illness, but no definitive rationale for his suicide has emerged.

Anthony Thieme was a full member of the American Watercolor Society, Art Alliance of America, the Salmagundi Club, the Boston Art Club, North Shore Art Association, Rockport Art Association, New York Water Color Club, Art Alliance of Philadelphia and the National Arts Club.”


Anthony Thieme by Judith A. Curtis. Published by the Rockport Art Association, 1999.



  • Post this under: “Neither here nor there”…. but back in the late 20’s, my great uncle, Stan Burkhard, who lived in Freeport, Long Island, built a small summer house off of South Street in Rockport. Stan subsequently sold it to Mr. Thieme in the early 30’s and when they passed papers, Mr. Thieme surprised Uncle Stan with a 20 x 24 painting of the Motif which hung for years in Uncle Stan’s Bearskin Neck home…. my second cousin now has the painting and has given me first refusal on it (if they decide to sell it!?)…. by the way, Stan was the only person I know of that pronounced it: MO tiff… not mo TEEF or MO tive…. he was also a bit of a philosopher… he’d tell me: Jim… you marry the right girl… there’s nothing like it! You marry the wrong girl… there’s nothing like it! (How true!)


  • The photo of Thieme painting Motif #1 appears staged, not uncommon with artists, with him holding a dry brush to a dry, finished painting. What seems odd to me is that the canvas is framed. Did he just not bother to remove the canvas from the frame for the photo shoot? Would he actually have used an old frame to hold the canvas during the painting process? The reason for the latter might be to account for the finished appearance of the composition when framed, as about 1/4 inch is lost in all dimensions by the overlapping rabbet. That loss of the last 1/2 inch of edge can drive a fussy painter nuts. (Non fussy painters need not bother !!)


    • I’m not sure who the woman is. I would think it’s his wife.
      I’ve never seen a plein air painter painting with a canvas already framed. It looks staged. My father have done similar staging when someone wants a photo. He did a lot of articles in the old Grumbacher Magazine “Palette Talk”.
      Some bring a frame to see how the composition will look once done.


  • And who is the woman he is talking with and what is the sculpture? I had a guess of Anna Hyatt Huntington, sculptor of our fabulous Joan of Arc statue in Gloucester. It does not resemble her photos found on a web search. Help


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