This website is a source for Anna Stanley’s paintings and her life story, as it has been found, in public documents and private papers. Her paintings have graced her descendents walls, yet a defined picture of her, and a catalogue raisonné was not in existence before 2008. Diaries, sketchbooks and papers, relating to her work, that may have existed, were lost over the last century. This missing information remains a mystery and may be a matter of Anna’s early and unexpected death at the age of forty-two, in 1907.
Her grand daughters, Joanne Stanley Holbrook Patton and Marian Herr Holbrook Roberson, determined to search out a fuller picture of Anna, set out to accomplish three goals in 2006: exhibit her paintings in fine arts museums, locate more of her paintings and lastly have her studied at a university graduate level. It is because of their determination, that much of this has largely been achieved.
The grand daughters contacted Stanley descendents, entreating them to search within their homes for letters, paintings, photographs or anything, which might seem remotely related to the artist. Additionally, the culmination of two years research on the artist and her close contemporaries, can be found here. As more paintings and information are discovered, they will be added to this site.
In 2008, two paintings by Anna were discovered: Portrait: Gen. Stanley, circa 1891, and Panay, Philippines, House with Child at Gate, circa 1901 – 1902. The first was discovered at the Army and Navy Club, in Washington, DC. The portrait was noticed quite by accident, when Anna’s grand daughters were passing down a hall, on their way to a luncheon. They subsequently learned that Gen. Stanley, (their great grandfather) was a founding member of the club and served as its president, in 1899. The portrait is noted as number 15, in the catalogue raisonné. It has since been restored and returned to the club for exhibition.
The second painting was discovered within the family, by a grandniece of the artist. She very generously gifted this painting to one of the grand daughters. The grandniece also provided photographs of Anna’s sister, Sarah Elizabeth “Lil” Stanley Rumbough, taken at the time of Lil’s wedding and intriguing information about another of Anna’s sisters, Blanche Huntington Stanley. Blanche, also a painter, followed in much the same schooling path as Anna, but later. This second painting is noted as number 34, in the catalogue raisonné.
In the summer of 2010, a grand nephew found two more paintings by Anna, which are currently being conserved. One painting is of Anna’s sister, Lil, circa 1884; the other, a Filipina woman, seated in profile, circa 1901 – 1902. The Filipina woman, in profile, was a painting known to be missing. It had been seen, in a period photograph, revealing several paintings by Anna, tacked to a wall, of her then home, the Governor’s House, in the Philippines.
Anna wrote charming illustrated letters to her parents, from the fall of 1887, through the fall of 1889. She lived in Paris, France, and spent two lengthy periods in the Netherlands, painting in the small village of Rijsoord, at first, under the tutelage of John H. Vanderpoel. At the time, her father, David Stanley was the commanding general of the Texas Territory, stationed at Fort Sam Houston, with 5/6th of the U.S. Army under his command. The letters convey a young woman sure of herself, quite modern for her era and in possession of a sense of humor.
The Alice Kellogg (later Tyler) letters provided extraordinary insight into the life of Anna and her fellow artists. While these women lived together, in Paris and the Netherlands, Alice wrote to her family of their daily work life, social activities and teachers, including: Boulanger, Lefebvre, Rixen and Courtois. The letters recounted stories of: Pauline “Lena” Dohn (later Rudolph), Ida C. Haskell, and Alice’s cousin, Anna “Page” Scott. JoAnne Wiemers Bowie, (grand niece of Alice Kellogg) spent ten years, carefully transcribing Alice’s invaluable letters. In 2010, Ms. Bowie found a pencil sketch, in her Kellogg archive, inscribed Fontainbleau, (misspelled) with a super-imposed A S, dated, June 12, 1888. Ms. Bowie feels sure the sketch must be Anna’s work.
Anna was born into a rich American history, of Revolutionary and Civil War families. The U.S. Army and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, were a central part of her life. Anna Huntington Stanley married Lt. Willard Ames Holbrook, and bore two children, Willard Ames Holbrook Jr. and David Stanley Holbrook. As an army daughter and later army wife, Anna lived across much of the United States. She also lived in the Philippines and visited Korea and Japan. Her husband, Willard Ames Holbrook attained the rank of major general and was first Chief of Calvary, after she died. Both her sons attended West Point. Willard Jr. went on to become a general, serving with distinction in WWII, and his son, Willard III, in turn, attended West Point, making a career in the Army.
Anna was active from 1888 to 1897. During her lifetime, she exhibited at: the Salon in Paris; the National Academy of Design; the Detroit Museum of Art; the Boston Art Club; O’Brien Galleries, in Chicago; the Veerhoff Gallery, in Washington, DC; the Grand Art Loan Exhibition, in Washington, DC; and the Cosmos Club with the Society of Washington Artists.
Researcher and Author