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Wiles, Irving Ramsey

The son of artist Lemuel Maynard Wiles, Irving Ramsey Wiles (1861-1948) became one of the most celebrated portrait painters of America's "Gilded Age." Among his clients were Theodore Roosevelt and William Jennings Bryant, as well as socialites and actresses. Born in Utica, New York, and educated at Sedgwick Academy in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, Wiles originally considered becoming a professional violinist. He studied art as a teenager with his father and had his first exhibition at the National Academy of Design at the age of eighteen. He also studied at the Art Students' League with James Carroll Beckwith and William Merritt Chase, with whom he developed an enduring friendship. Chase chose Wiles to complete the portrait commissions left unfinished at the time of his death, and Wiles was widely considered to be Chase's successor. Wiles traveled to Paris for additional studies with Carolus-Duran, Jules Lefebvre, and Gustave Boulanger. On his return to New York in 1884, he made illustrations for Century, Harper's and Scribner's magazines. He taught at his own studio and at his father's Silver Lake Art School in New York. Wiles participated in many exhibitions in America and at the Paris Salons, as well as in several international expositions. At the National Academy of Design he received the Hallgarten Prize and was elected a full member in 1897. His paintings are in private collections and museums throughout the United States and Europe.