DIEHL, Arthur Vidal

1870 - 1929

Arthur Vidal Diehl, was born in London in 1870, the youngest of the six children of Louis Diehl, director of the Royal London Orchestra, and his wife Alice née Mangold, a published novelist, who married at St Giles, London in 1863. Although his connection to Suffolk is tenuous he was educated at Crespigny House School, Aldeburgh where he was a member of their cricket eleven and in 1881 won 1st prize of 7s. 6d. for the 100yd race for boys under 16 and in 1886 painted a picture of the Aldeburgh tavern 'The Cross Keys' and in 1889, from 28 York Street, Baker Street, London entered a painting, 'Aldeburgh Quay' at the Royal Academy 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, became a student of a 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 very little funds and whilst a resident in New York, in 1897 his painting 'New York City Life' received rave reviews. Diehl and his family first came to 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, with the exception of a couple of years during World War I, remained his summer studio for the rest of his life but often returned to England. In 1904, 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 aritist. 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 25 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. He died on 12 January 1929.

Works by This Artist