Anna L. Stacey 1865–1943
Anna Lee Dey Stacey demonstrated artistic inclinations as a child. In her native Glasgow, Missouri, she attended the Pritchett School Institute before moving to the Kansas City Art Association and School of Design. Among her instructors was landscape painter and teacher John F. Stacey, whom she married in 1891. The couple settled in Chicago, where Anna enrolled in the Art Institute of Chicago. By the time she graduated with honors in 1896 she had already exhibited in the museum’s annual exhibition of American art and with the Art Students’ League of Chicago and the Palette Club, a women artists’ organization. Influenced by her Art Institute instructor Leonard Ochtman, a landscape painter, Stacey specialized in figures posed out-of-doors, solidly rendered with the bright color of impressionist practice. Her watercolors and oil paintings found favor with critics, prize juries, and the women’s clubs that offered important patronage to local artists in turn-of-the-century Chicago. In 1905 and again in 1914, Stacey was honored with solo exhibitions at the Art Institute and she received numerous prizes over the course of her career.
In 1900, the Staceys visited Paris for the Exposition Universelle, and Anna studied briefly at the Académie Delecluse; they also stopped in the artists’ enclave of Auvers-sur-Oise. Thereafter, Anna’s painting style shifted toward a more tonal approach, often featuring subdued light and evening settings. Her works included landscape and marine views as well as images of women and girls posed out-of-doors; later, she gravitated toward portraits and still-life painting.
Childless, Anna and John forged equally successful careers, and they apparently enjoyed a mutually supportive relationship. From their studio-home in the Tree Studios building on Chicago’s Near North Side they traveled together in search of subjects. They made several tours of Europe, visited Canada and the western United States, and worked for consecutive summers in coastal Gloucester, Massachusetts, and Mystic, Connecticut. In the 1920s, they became regulars in the community of conservative impressionist painters in Old Lyme, Connecticut. Having first visited California in 1915 to see the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco, the Staceys moved in 1937 to Pasadena. There, two years after her husband’s death, Anna died at age seventy-seven.
Wendy Greenhouse, PhD