|Birth: ||May 12, 1886|
New Jersey, USA
|Death: ||Dec. 8, 1980|
Rhode Island, USA
Olive Tilton Bigelow Pell was a prominent painter of many portraits especially of dignitaries and other prominent people and the second wife of Herbert Claiborne Pell. Olive Bigelow was born in Mountain Station, New Jersey. Her father, John Bigelow, had been a career diplomat
She studied at the Art Students' League in New York and continued her training in London and Paris.
On her return to New York, she illustrated children's books and the covers of Vogue and Harper's Magazines. She made $6 a day and lived in a small apartment along Madison Avenue.
She married first on 15 December 1906 Newell Tilton. Not much known of him but she kept his name, and known as Olive Tilton Bigelow in art circles. They had a two daughters, Pyrma and Ellen. Soon after the birth of Pyrma, Newell and Olive divorced. She claimed $6,000 annually.
She married a second time in 1927 to the wealthy Herbert Pell, a foreign minister in the Franklin Roosevelt administration. She was very oriented towards international matters and began to be involved in women's suffrage.
The Pell family had a massive house in Newport RI, there summer home, located on Bellevue Avenue. Many of the interior rooms appear in her paintings, including the sitting room, living room, library, hall and dining room.
After her marriage, Olive traveled with her husband and painted portraits of friends and family, at home and abroad. Her stepson, Claiborne Pell, later a US senator from Rhode Island, frequently appeared in her paintings.Many of her subjects were part of the War Crimes Commission in London in 1944. She also designed posters for the war effort, for women's suffrage.
Olive's daughter, Pyrma, shocked her mother in the 1950's, when she announced she too would be marrying a Pell, John Howland Gibbs Pell. Thus, she was now part of the family.
Olive painted a self portrait of herself, called "One Lump of Two?". It depicted her serving tea with her famed silver tea service, a wedding gift, which she used all the time. It soon became a family favorite.
In 1961, Herbert died, leaving a small fortune to each of his children, amounting to between $5-8 million. Olive was given a large trust, producing an annual income of almost $150,000 a year, much, much, much more than her original $6 a day income, back when she did magazine covers.
Olive died in 1980, at her Newport mansion. She donated the mansion to the Preservation Society of Newport, which uses it as it's headquarters today. SHe died with $3 million and a lot of paintings.
Herbert Claiborne Pell (1884 - 1961)
Newell Whiting Tilton (1878 - 1963)*
Mildred Ellen Tilton Holmsen (1907 - 2005)*
Pyrma Daphne Tilton Pell (1909 - 1995)*
Berkeley Memorial Cemetery
Rhode Island, USA
Maintained by: kathleen Tanksley
Originally Created by: John Astor
Record added: Jan 09, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 103335628