Best known for his sand dune and harbor scenes of Cape Cod, Arthur
Diehl was born in England and exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1899.
He came to America in the 1890s and became so associated with Cape Cod
that Fox Movietone in 1921 made a short movie of him painting at
He also had studies in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey; Boston, Worcester, and Truro, Massachusetts; and St. Augustine, Florida.
worked rapidly, often finishing his paintings as he talked to
prospective buyers. He was also a talented singer and piano player.
Peter Falk, Who Was Who in American Art
Born in England to an artistic family, Arthur Diehl by age 19 had
abandoned his education at Oxford University to explore the Continent,
for a period studying painting in Milan, Italy. He returned to
England, establishing a studio in London. In 1889 Diehl exhibited
a painting titled The Quay, at Aldeburgh at the Royal Academy.
1891 Diehl travelled to the United States. Among his many jobs in the
arts as a singer, actor and musician, Diehl also decorated piecework,
such as snuffbox tops, to make ends meet. By the turn of the
century, he had established studios in Englewood cliffs (1905-09), then
Lakewood and Asbury Park (1909-13), New Jersey.
By 1912 and
possibly through an introduction from friends in the theater, Diehl and
his third wife spent their summers on Cape Cod in Truro (1912-13) and
Provincetown (1914-20) where Diehl established studios. He was
known to paint rapidly on small canvasses usually composing his scenes
from memory and entertaining onlookers as he painted, who in turn would
often buy the works he completed right before them.
to tourists drawn to the Cape each summer as well as visitors to his
studios, Diehl was indifferent to artistic reputation and happy to
sustain his family through his painting. During the winter
months, he would also reside in Saint Augustine, Florida (1920-23),
repeating the formula of his northern success, while still maintaining
studios in Massachusetts and Hartford (1924-26) and New Haven
Diehl died in Falls River, MA, in 1929.
Who Was Who in American Art (Peter Hastings Falk - Sound View Press 1999)
The Dictionary of British Artists 1880-1940 (J. Johnson & A Greutzner - Antique Collector's Club)
The Dictionary of Victorian Painters, 2nd Edition (Christopher Wood - Antique Collector's Club)
Askart.com Biography on the artist.
Biography on the artist as published on Askart.com, Provincetown Art Association and Museum Archives
Biography from Provincetown Art Association And Museum
Arthur Vidal Diehl was born in London in 1870, the youngest of 6
children. His father was the director of an Opera company and his
mother a published novelist. Fabled to have conducted his father's
orchestra at 16, by the time he was 19 he had abandoned his education
at Oxford University and gone off to roam around Europe stopping
briefly to study painting in Milan. He exhibited at the Royal Academy
in London before leaving for the US in 1891, where he arrived broke but
in possession of a wealth of talents.
He turned to piecework in order to make some money, painting the tops
of snuff boxes was one of the jobs he took, but he was also able to
pick up work singing, acting, directing and playing music. His first
wife died young in 1894 and he was married again by the time he went on
tour with the Barrymores. At this time he established his studio in
Englewood, then Lakewood, then Asbury Park, New Jersey. Unfortunately
his second wife died in 1903.
It was possibly through his theatrical connections that he eventually
arrived in Provincetown in 1912 with his third wife. He summered on
Cape Cod every year after that until his death in 1929. His first
studio was at the Pamet Coast Guard Station in Truro. He 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 and he
always sold them directly 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 was in Provincetown when World War 1 broke out and he tried to
enlist in the British Army in Boston but was deemed to old for service.
Instead he wrote a patriotic book of poems called Tommy Rhymes which
was written in cockney slang as a salute to his old home and friends.
The end came on January 12th at the Truesdale Hospital in Fall River.
Arthur Diehl is buried in the Moody lot at Gray Gables cemetery in
From the artist archives of The Provincetown Art Association & Museum
Diehl, Arthur Vidal
Biography: (1870-1929) Largely self-taught. Exhibited at the Royal Academy, 1899. Progress Expo, Ct. 1927.
He came to New York in 1891 penniless and painted snuff box tops and such.
Fox Movietone made a short movie of Diehl painting and talking in Provincetown. Had a recent exhibitions/retrospective of his at the Cahoon Museum., 2008.
Submitted by Thomas Dreiling, Researcher and collector of work by the artist