DIEHL, Arthur Vidal

1870 - 1929

Unloading Fish

Born in London in 1870, the youngest of the six children of Louis Diehl, director of the Royal London Orchestra, and his wife Alice née Mangold, a published novelist and is said to have conducted his father's orchestra at the age of 16. His mother took him to see Sir Frederic Leighton, president of the Royal Academy who pronounced Arthur a 'genius' and recommended that he be sent to Italy to study and at the age of 15, became a student of a Milanese artist Luigi Stefani also continuing the discipline of copying paintings in museums during two years in Italy. At the age of 19, he entered, from 28 York Street, Baker Street, London, a painting, 'Aldeburgh Quay' in a show at the Royal Academy which was not only accepted, but sold for 100 pounds. He then abandoned his education at Oxford University to roam around Europe stopping briefly to study painting in Milan. Although probably never connected with Suffolk other than his painting in Aldeburgh, and in 1891 left for the USA where he arrived with very little funds but in possession of his talent. Diehl and his family first came to Cape Cod in the summer of 1912, renting a cottage at Ballston Beach in Truro and when they returned the following summer, Diehl set up a studio in Commercial Street which with the exception of a couple of years during World War I, remained his summer studio for the rest of his life but often returned to England. In 1904 he married for a third time, Jennie Ludwig, daughter of Austrian immigrants and five years later, they had one son, Arthur Charles Vidal Diehl, also an aritist. 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 died on 12 January 1929.