Laura Coombs Hills. Pastel Painting
Laura Hills was born in Newburyport, Massachusetts, in 1859. Early in her career, she was particularly well known for her miniatures. Hill's miniatures brought her fame and enough income to support an apartment and studio on Beacon Hill and a summer home of her own design, the Goldfish, in Newburyport, MA. But failing eyesight and a diminishing interest in miniature portrait commissions prompted the sixty year old artist to shift her focus to floral pastels. She concentrated increasingly on her "portraits of flowers". Her success with these works was readily recognized in her own day as is demonstrated by her astonishing sales records. She was consistently and speedily supported by Boston art galleries and patrons. Even throughout the Depression years, the floral pastels sold for between $100 and $500. The artist continued to exhibit new works through 1947 at the age of eighty-eight.
The 1939 Boston Herald stated: “The queue curled around the building
to admit her loyal following of collectors who purchased virtually every piece in the show by noon.”
Pauline Shaw Fenno, daughter of Quincy Adams Shaw, who had a keen eye that was developed from her exposure to the art assembled by her parents, purchased seventeen pastels from Doll & Richards between 1932 to 1939.
Laura Hills died on February 21, 1952. Always modest, Laura would be exceedingly
pleased to see the attention her work garners today from collectors and curators alike.