Thomas Dewing (May 4, 1851 - November 5, 1938) was an American painter working at the turn of the 20th century. He was born in Newton Lower Falls, Massachusetts. He studied at the AcadÃ©mie Julian in Paris, and later settled into a studio in New York City. He married Maria Oakey Dewing, an accomplished painter who possibly intimidated Dewing due to her extensive formal art training and familial links with the art world.
He is best known for his tonalist paintings, a sub-genre of American art that was rooted in English Aestheticism. Dewing's most common vehicle of artistic expression is the female figure. Often seated playing instruments, writing letters, or engaged in other impassive actions and situated in gauzy, dreamy interiors, the figures remain remote and distant to the viewer. These scenes are tinged with color that pervades the entire picture, setting tone and mood. Some feminist critics have lambasted Dewing's work as being misogynistic; he rarely painted anything other than the female figure decked in sumptuous clothing with vacant expressions.
Tonalism quickly came to be considered outdated with the advent of modernism and abstraction in art, though Dewing was successful in his own day. His art was considered extremely elegant, and has undergone a subtle revival in the last 10 years or so.
Dewing was a member of the Ten American Painters, a group of Impressionists who seceded from the Society of American Artists in 1897.
He spent his summers at the art colony in Cornish, New Hampshire.
The foremost Dewing scholar living today is Susan A. Hobbs. The most complete publication regarding Dewing in book format is The Art of Thomas Wilmer Dewing: Beauty Reconfigured.