Woman of the Century/Lyle Durgin
DURGIN, Miss Lyle, artist, was born in Wilmington. Mass., in 1850. A sister of Harriet Thayer Durgin, she grew up as one with her, so far LYLE DURGIN. as environment and teaching were concerned. They drew the same life and inspiration from their home surroundings and studied in the same schools, and when their education was completed found themselves with the same inclination toward art. Lyle went to Paris in 1879 and became a pupil of Bonnat and Bastien Lepage. Later she entered the Julien Academy for more serious study in drawing, working enthusiastically, early and late, both in the school and in her own studio, supplementing her studio work by anatomical studies at the Ecole de Medicine under M. Chicotot. In summer time the sisters sketched in England. Switzerland and France, drawing fresh inspiration from nature and travel and taking home collections of sketches for their winter's work. Lyle chose figure painting in oil and portraiture as her special department of art. So earnestly did she study from 1879 to 1884 that the Salon received her paintings in the latter-named year, and again two years later, when she offered a painting of beauty, which won for her recognition, as an artist of power. In 1886 the Misses Durgin returned to America and opened a studio in Boston. Welcomed to the best society, in which they naturally found a home, the sisters began work, each in her own field of art. The first picture exhibited by Lyle in Boston was a portrait of a lady. Then followed in rapid succession one of Henry Sandham, a celebrated artist of Boston, and many others of persons of more or less distinction in the social and literary world. Receiving a commission for mural paintings for a church in Detroit, Mich., she started early in 1890 for a prolonged course of travel in Italy, finally settling in Paris for the execution of those great original works, which were completed and placed in the church in December, 1891. They represent the four Evangelists and are of heroic size, filling the four compartments of the dome-shaped interior. They are painted after the manner of the middle time of the Venetian school, corresponding to the Byzantine character of the edifice. Although the ecclesiastical traditions of saints and church fathers allow of but little variation, her works are characterized by freshness, originality and strength unusual to find at the present day, and are worthy of mow.- interest from the fact that this is a branch of painting which hitherto has been almost exclusively in the hands of nun.