Achsah Barlow Brewster


Achsah Barlow Brewster Biography

Achsah Barlow Brewster (1878-1945) was born in New Haven, Connecticut. Brewster attended Smith College and moved to New York City in 1902 where she studied at the Art Students League with Kenyon Cox, Arthur Wesley Dow, Walter A. Clark and Frank Vincene DuMond, and at New York School of Art with Robert Henri. In 1904 she was introduced to her future husband, the artist Earl H. Brewster, by the poet Vachel Lindsay, who thought she looked like the imaginary woman on a magazine cover painted by Brewster. 

In 1905 Brewster went to Paris to study at the Institut des Beaux Arts and from live models at the studios of Lucien Simon and Castellucio. After returning to the United States, Brewster spent three summers at the prestigious MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire. Earl and Achsah married in 1910. The Brewsters went to Europe for their honeymoon and never returned to the United States except for a brief visit in 1923. While living in Paris in 1912 Achsah gave birth to her daughter, Harwood, who became the subject of many of her paintings. Until 1935 the Brewsters moved frequently between France and Italy and traveled to Ceylon and India. They were close friends with many well-known artists and authors of the time including D. H. Lawrence, Willa Cather and Elihu Vedder. In 1935, the Brewsters moved permanently to Almora, India where they became friends with three generations of the Nehru family.

During Brewster's lifetime, her paintings were exhibited in Paris at the Galerie Cheron and the Grand Palais and in Rome at the Secessione. In India they were exhibited at the Roerich Centre of Art and Culture in Allahabad. Many of Brewster's paintings were purchased for various churches, colleges, public buildings and homes in Europe, the United States and India. Achsah Brewster artwork is in the collection of Smith College and the Telfair Museum of Art, Savannah, GA. The Brewsters personal correspondence as well as Achsah's memoir, The Child and a memoir are housed at Drew University Library in Madison, New Jersey.  

In 2007 ACA Galleries presented the exhibition Divine Pursuit: The Spiritual Journey of Achsah and Earl Brewster with a catalog.