Irving Ramsey Wiles

Irving Ramsey Wiles, born in Utica, New York, renounced his original plan of becoming a violinist to become a painter instead. After having completed his studies in Great Barrington, Massachusetts he began his art training at the age of 17, first learning the basics from his father, Lemuel Maynard Wiles, whose studio was on Washington Square Park. Having showed considerable talent and skill at an early age, the young Wiles exhibited at the National Academy of Design just one year after he began painting. His mature style, however, began to flourish under the tutelage of established and esteemed American painters William Merritt Chase and James Carroll Beckwith with whom he studied at the Art Students League from 1879-1882. Wiles was greatly inspired by Chase’s style and skill, and their relationship developed into one of great friends. 

Wiles went to Paris in 1882 where he was a student of Carolus-Duran, Jules Lefebvre, and Boulanger at the Academie Julian before returning to New York City in 1884. For several years it was necessary for him to work for Scribner’s, Century and Harper’s magazines in order to make ends meet as he was unable to support himself from portraiture alone. In 1897 Wiles was elected to the National Academy Design and was finally able to devote more time to his figurative and portrait paintings. He was widely commissioned by important clientele, including Theodore Roosevelt and William Jennings Bryan. Although Wiles was known and esteemed for portraiture, he painted landscape and genre subjects as well, always working in a blend of Impressionism and Realism, styles he had adopted from his training in both the United States and France.