She was born in Hawaii and spent much of her childhood in Greece, then moved to Washington, D.C. and enrolled in the Corcoran School of Art. She worked for several years as an artist in the Washington area before moving to Philadelphia, where she attended the Philadelphia School of Design for Women. In 1919 she was invited to join a small Boston group of women painters known as “The Group”, and they exhibited across the U.S. to critical acclaim, and she garnered many awards before she was 20. By 1933, she was living in New York City, and a year later she married someone who was a yachtsman, and many of her watercolors and marine scenes were painted along the New England coast aboard their own schooner. These included a series of works from the 1937 America’s Cup Races. The couple eventually settled in Rockport, Massachusetts.
The painting here was probably done earlier in her career, when she lived in Philadelphia or Boston. The brass plaque at the bottom reads “Washington Square”, and you can find Washington Square in Philadelphia or Brookline, Mass. The painting is similar to another Howell piece that was sold at Christie’s in New York in 2006. That piece was titled “Salem’s 300th Anniversary, Chestnut Street”, and it was dated June 1926.
The painting here has a textured surface and comes in a Stanford White frame. The painting is signed in the lower right; the overall size is 25 1/2 x 23 1/2 in. wide and the sight size is 13 1/2 x 11 3/8 in. wide.
Examples of her work are held at the National Gallery and the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.