Elizabeth Saltonstall Biography

Elizabeth Saltonstall




Elizabeth Saltonstall was born on July 26, 1900 in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. Saltonstall attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, where she was most influenced by the American Impressionist painters and professors Philip Leslie Hale and Henry Hunt Clark and where she studied fine and graphic arts. She went on to study abroad in Paris. Upon returning to the U.S. she began studying on Nantucket island with Frank Swift Chase.

In the mid–1930s Saltonstall attended a summer workshop in Maine taught by printmaker Stow Wengenroth and became captivated by his use of lithography. Soon thereafter she visited George C. Miller, the master lithographer in New York who printed Wengenroth’s lithographs. Like Wengenroth, she began renting small etched lithography stones from Miller and had them shipped one at a time to her home in Massachusetts where she made a careful crayon drawing on its printing surface. Months later she returned the prepared stone and visited Miller’s shop soon afterwards to review the proofs he had pulled and to order small editions. She seems to have shared this activity with her friend, the Nantucket artist Ruth Haviland Sutton (1898–1960), who was also a founding member of the Boston Printmakers.

She exhibited her work throughout the 1940s with the National Association of Women Artists and her prints were shown at the Library of Congress, at the Institute of Modern Art in Boston, and at the National Academy of Design in 1944 and 1946. Saltonstall became an exhibiting member of the Audubon Artists, the Prairie Printmakers, the Springfield Art League, and the Printmakers Society of California.

During the 1940s Saltonstall was active in the “45 Group” of Nantucket Artists, and she remained an influential figure in the island’s art circles for decades. She actively participated in the many of the Boston Printmakers activities, submitting to the annual exhibitions as well as experimenting with etching. She retired from teaching in 1965 but continued to show her prints throughout the decade.

Elizabeth Saltonstall died in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts on May 10, 1990.


Drawn mainly from David Acton: The Boston Printmakers Publication, 60 Years of North American Prints, 1947-2007