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Irene E. Parmelee, her surname also spelled Parmely (1847 – 1934),[1] was an American painter and portrait artist.

Early life

Irene E. Parmelee born in Guilford, Connecticut.[2] She was the daughter of Mary and Horton L. Parmelee, a farmer. Her older siblings were Emily, Charles, Mary, and Jane.[3]


Parmelee studied under Henry Bryant of Hartford beginning in 1872 and the following year with Nathaniel Jocelyn in New Haven. She studied for a year at the Yale Art School, which had just begun admitting women,[2][4] under Robert Walter Weir.[5] Still stating to others that she was still a student, she opened a studio in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1875.[4]

Parmelee later traveled to Paris and attended the Académie Julian from 1881 to 1884 where she studied with Joseph-Nicolas Robert-Fleury, Pierre Auguste Cot, and Jules Joseph Lefebvre.[2]


She was a career portrait artist and operated a studio in Springfield, Massachusetts from 1875 to 1929.[2] Parlee painted the portrait of Marcus Perrin Knowlton, Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, made after a photogravure, in 1912. It hung in the court house in Springfield following a formal presentation ceremony at the fourth annual Massachusetts Bar Association meeting in December of that year.[6][7] She was paid $1,125 (equivalent to $26,578 in 2015) for the framed painting.[8]

Parmelee made a portrait of Samuel Bowles, III, who was an editor of the Republican and a City Library Association member for 37 years and was on the board of directors for 24 years. His wife donated the portrait to the Springfield Library, which was hung next to a portrait of his father, Samuel Bowles, II.[9]


She died on August 29, 1934 in Los Angeles, California.[10][11][12]


A partial list of her paintings are:

Amherst College, Mead Art Museum, Amherst, Massachusetts[1]
Chester W. Chapin (b. 1798), oil, copy after Joseph Oriel Eaton
George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum, Springfield, Massachusetts[1]
Horace Smith, oil, 1881
Horatio N. Case, oil, 1890
Charles M. Merriam, oil, 1890
Henry S. Lee, oil, 1891
James M. Thompson, oil, 1895
Ephraim Bond, oil, 1896
Samuel Bowles, oil, 1896
Dr. Josiah Gilbert Holland, oil, 1896
James Kirkham, oil, 1896
Everett Hosmer Barney, oil, 1903
John Olmsted, oil, 1903
Julius Appleton, oil, 1907
Chester Chapin, oil
Mrs. Timothy M. Walker, oil
Maine State Museum, Augusta[1][13]
Portrait of George Evans, oil, 1901
Massachusetts Historical Society[14]
Mrs. Edward Bates (Lucy Douglas Fowler) 1830-1916
Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield, Massachusetts[1]
Portrait of James Philip Gray, oil
Unitarian Church, Boston, Massachusetts[1]
John Wille, oil, 1886
Yale University, School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut[1]
Henry Bronson (1804-1893), oil on canvas, 1881


"Search: Parmalee painter". Smithsonian American Art Museum. Retrieved September 26, 2014.
B. Fahlman (1991). "Women Art Students at Yale, 1869-1913: Never True Sons of the University". Woman's Art Journal 12 (1): 15–23. doi:10.2307/1358185.
"Irene E. Parmele, Guilford, Connecticut", Seventh Census of the United States, 1850; Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29; National Archives, Washington, D.C., p. 30, September 20, 1850
Harry Willard French (1878). Art and Artists in Connecticut. Lee and Shepard. p. 171.
William Clogston (1884). King's Handbook of Springfield, Massachusetts: A Series of Monographs, Historical and Descriptive. J.D. Gill, Publisher. p. 165.
Sydney Russell Wrightington; Horace Williams Fuller; Arthur Weightman Spencer, Thomas Tileston Baldwin (1913). The Green Bag. Boston Book Company. p. 78.
Massachusetts Historical Society (1914). Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society. The Society. p. 127.
Massachusetts Bar Association (1914). Annual Report of the Massachusetts Bar Association. Rockwell & Churchill Press. p. 64.
Springfield City Library Association (Springfield, Mass.) (1916). Springfield City Library Bulletin. p. 186.
Irene E. Parmelee, died August 29, 1934, Los Angeles, Pleasanton, California: California Department of Health and Welfare. California Vital Records. The Vitalsearch Company Worldwide, Inc.
"Irene E. Parmelee (Deaths)". Los Angeles Times. August 30, 1934. "Irene E. Parmelee of 324 Union Place. Services today at 10:30 a.m. at the chapel of Francis V. Hall & Son."
"Official Death List". Los Angeles Times. September 2, 1934. "Irene E. Parmelee - August 29 - 87 years old"
Federal Writers' Project of the Work Projects Administration for the State of Maine (1939). Maine's Capitol. Kennebec Journal Print Shop. p. 31.

Cuthbert Lee (1968). Portrait register. Biltmore Press. pp. 237, 595.

Further reading

Peter Hastings Falk, ed. (1999). Who Was Who in American Art. 400 years of artists in America. Second edition. Madison, Connecticut: Sound View Press.
Dean Flower, Francis Murphy (1976). American Paintings, Watercolors and Drawings (A Catalogue to 1923). p. 119.
Daniel Trowbridge Mallett (1935). Index of Artists: International-Biographical. p. 1130.
Maria Naylor (1973). Exhibition Record 1861-1900, National Academy of Design. p. 1075.
Chris Petteys (1985). Dictionary of Women Artists. An international dictionary of women artists born before 1900. Boston: G.K. Hall & Co.
Theodore Stebbins, G Gorokhoff (1982). American Paintings at Yale University: An illustrated Checklist. p. 213.

External links

Portrait of Chester W. Chapin by I.E. Parmelee

Artist, USA


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