Abrams, Lucien (1870–1941)

By: Diana Church

Type: Biography

Published: 1976

Updated: August 23, 2018

Lucien Abrams, painter, the son of Maj. William Henry and Ella Murray (Harris) Abrams, was born in Lawrence, Kansas, on June 10, 1870. He probably moved to Marshall, Texas, with his parents in 1874; in 1883 the family moved to Dallas. Abrams graduated with a degree in art and architecture from Princeton in 1892 and began his career as an artist. He studied at the Art Students League, New York, from 1892 to 1894, then at the Académie Julien in Paris under Benjamin Constant and Jean Paul Laurens. He also studied with James A. McNeil Whistler in Paris. From 1894 to 1905 Abrams lived in Paris or at the family villa on the Mediterranean. He also painted in Belgium, Provence, Brittany, Italy, and Spain. He produced a number of works during a six-month stay in Algeria (1905–06). The following year he worked in Rockport, Massachusetts, and New York City. He returned to France in 1908 for a six-year stay; there he worked chiefly in Provence. Although strongly influenced by Whistler, during his years of travel Abrams developed his own style, in which are merged elements of Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, and Fauvism.

Abrams exhibited at the New Salon of the Société National des Beaux Arts from 1899 to 1901; from 1902 to 1914 he exhibited annually at the Salon d'Automne and the Société des Independents in Paris. He also exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in 1903 and 1911, at the National Academy of Design in New York City in 1907, and with the Society of Independent Artists in 1917 and 1919; his works were shown at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Dallas Art Association, the Dallas Women's Forum, the Fort Worth Museum of Art (see MODERN ART MUSEUM OF FORT WORTH), and the Witte Memorial Museum, San Antonio. He was represented at the 1925 Texas State Fair Art Exhibition by a group of flower pieces and landscapes. One-man shows of his work were held at the Dallas Woman's Club, the Pabst Galleries in San Antonio, and the Durand-Ruel Galleries in New York City.

On March 11, 1915, Abrams married Charlotte Gina Onillon, a native of Paris and graduate of the Sorbonne; they had one daughter. They returned to the United States and purchased a residence in Old Lyme, Connecticut, where Abrams became an active member of the Lyme Art Association. He was also a member of the Dallas Art Association, the San Antonio Art Association, the American Federation of Arts, and the Society of Independent Artists. Although Old Lyme was the artist's principal residence, he maintained a studio at his father's home in Dallas and another house in San Antonio. Abrams died in New Haven, Connecticut, on April 14, 1941. Several of his works are in the permanent collection of the Dallas Museum of Art.

Diana Church, Guide to Dallas Artists, 1890–1917 (Plano, Texas, 1987). Gallery Files, Marion Koogler McNay Art Museum, San Antonio.

  • Visual Arts
  • Painting
  • Dallas/Fort Worth Region
  • Dallas
  • North Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Diana Church, “Abrams, Lucien,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 17, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/abrams-lucien.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

August 23, 2018

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