James Taylor Harwood was born in Lehi, Utah, on April 8, 1860, into an arts-oriented family. As a youth he spent time sketching, and later studied art with Utah artists George M. Ottinger and Danquart A. Weggeland. In 1888, at their urging, Harwood became one of the first of a group of Utah-born artists to travel to France and study art in Paris.
Before going to Paris, Harwood fell in love with his art student, Harriet Richards; and in 1891, while in Paris, they married. In 1892, he became the first Utahn to have a painting in the prestigious Paris Salon. During the next few years, the Harwood's divided their time between a Salt Lake City studio and Paris, where they returned repeatedly for “refresher” experiences. In 1904, having returned to the United States, Harwood began to teach art in the local Salt Lake City high schools and to paint in his studio.
During the period of 1907 to 1910, Harwood's style changed from tightly controlled Academic Realism paintings toward tonalism and later, Impressionism. In April of 1921, his beloved Harriet died. Two years later, Harwood became the head of the art department at the University of Utah. As chairman, he developed an art program which valued craftsmanship, an emphasis that was carried forward long after Harwood was gone.
In December of 1927, Harwood met and fell in love with a young literature student, Ione Godwin. Their relationship was considered scandalous because of the age difference of 47 years, but on June 1, 1929, they married. Harwood found in Ione the inspiration to begin a re-energized period of work.
At 70, Harwood resigned from the University of Utah to have more time to paint and took his family to Paris once again, where he painted, made prints, and participated in exhibits. Over the next nine years, Harwood's art became recognized for its almost pointillist style. He made frequent trips to Europe until 1939, when the threat of war kept the Harwoods in Salt Lake City, where he died in October of 1940.
Harwood, although an exacting draftsman, had a warm personality and was known as a “patient, loving teacher.” He also was a gifted printmaker and watercolorist.
Source: Springville Museum of Art.