DIEHL, Arthur Vidal

1870 - 1929

Arthur Vidal Diehl

Arthur Vidal Diehl was born at Leighton Grove, St Pancras, London in 1870, the fourth child of German born Louis Vidal Diehl (1838-1910), director of the Royal London Orchestra, and his wife Alice Georgina née Mangold (28 February 1844-13 June 1912), a pianist, and a published novelist, who married at St Giles, London in 1863. In 1871, Arthur was a 1-year-old, living at Leighton Grove with his parents 33-year-old Louis and 27-year-old Alice, with three siblings Louis 6, Henrietta 4 and William Charles 3, all born in London. Although his connection to Suffolk is tenuous, Arthur was educated at Crespigny House School, Aldeburgh, Suffolk where he was a member of their cricket eleven and in 1881 won 1st prize of 7s. 6d. [37p] for the 100yd race for boys under 16 and in 1886 painted a picture of the Aldeburgh tavern 'The Cross Keys' and in 1889, exhibited at the Royal Academy, 'The Quay, Ald[e]burgh' which sold for 100 pounds. Arthur is said to have conducted his father's orchestra at the age of 16 and in 1890 he illustrated in one of his mother's books 'Dr. Paull's Theory'. His mother took him to see Sir Frederic Leighton (1830-1896), president of the Royal Academy, who pronounced Arthur a 'genius' and recommended that he be sent to Italy to study and, at the age of 15, he became a student of Milanese artist Salvatori Luigi Stefani (1827-1929) also continuing the discipline of copying paintings in museums during his two years in Italy. He then abandoned his education at Oxford University to roam around Europe, stopping briefly to study painting in Milan. He left for the USA where he arrived with little funds and whilst a resident in New York, in 1897 his painting 'New York City Life' received rave reviews. In 1904, his two previous wives having died, he married for a third time, Jennie Ludwig, daughter of an Austrian immigrants and five years later, they had a son, Arthur Charles Vidal Diehl, also an artist. Diehl and his family first went to live at Cape Cod in the summer of 1912, renting a cottage at Ballston Beach in Truro and when they returned the following summer, Diehl set up a studio in Commercial Street which, except for a couple of years during World War I, remained his summer studio for the rest of his life but often returned to England. Arthur later had a studio in the Provincetown Art Shop, where he painted swiftly under the gaze of many onlookers, while he kept up a stream of comment. He is said to have been able to produce up to twenty-five paintings in a day which he always sold direct and never to dealers. Diehl was always completely indifferent to price and artistic reputation and painted voluminously as the only way to assure an income for his family. Arthur Vidal Diehl died at Truesdale Hospital, Fall Rivers, Mass. on 12 January 1929.

Royal Academy Exhibits
from 28 York Street, Baker Street, London
1889 928 The Quay, Aldburgh

Works by This Artist