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Maud Humphrey Bogart
Maud Humphrey Bogart was a talented Artist and Illustrator, who, despite being one of the most recognized and popular illustrators of late 19th century America, is probably more famous today for being the mother of Hollywood icon, Humphrey Bogart.

Maud Humphrey was born on March 30, 1868 in Rochester, New York, the eldest of two sisters born to John Perkins Humphrey and Frances Dewey Churchill.

She began to draw from an early age and, from age 12, she attended evening art classes given by Rev. James H. Dennis, who studied art at the National Academy of Design. She took the classes during the winter months until, at age 14, her eyesight inexplicably began to fail. For two years she could not see to draw or read. Her sight returned just as mysteriously as it failed, but it left her suffering with migraine headaches, which would plague her for the rest of her life.

From 1880 to 1884, Lithographer Louis Prang, the father of the American Christmas card, held an annual Christmas card design competition, offering 4 prizes each year (up to $1000). Maud's submissions won prizes in 1881 and 1884.

At age 16 she was one of the first members of the Rochester Art Club, formed that year by Rev. Dennis. It was about the same time that she received her first commissions and began illustrating for children's magazines for The Century Company and the House of Harper. These were black and white illustrations, as she had not yet settled upon what would become her medium of choice; watercolor.

At 18, she moved to New York City, where she studied at the Art Student's League (founded in 1875). She studied with the League on and off until 1894 and served a 3 year term on their Board of Control from 1891 to1894. The league also provided her with a network of professional contacts for commissions.

At age 20, Maud was contacted by Frederick A. Stokes, reportedly after a friend took one of her pictures to be framed by his company. Mr. Stokes offered Maud the opportunity to illustrate a book for him; an exercise that turned into a long working relationship.

After two years of exclusivity with Frederick Stokes, Maud continued to work on a variety of commissions, intermingled with further instruction, including a trip to Paris for study at the Julian Academy (known as a safe haven for women artists at the time), to help perfect her technique in painting, watercolor and illustration. She maintained an aggressive work ethic, putting in long hours and working rapidly to produce a huge quantity of good quality paintings and illustrations.

By age 25 she was recognized as a child painter; children being her most common theme. She developed her own style of idealized children, in elaborate Victorian dress with bright eyes, rosebud mouth, tousled hair and dainty hands. She would rapidly sketch children at play, capturing the essence of the image, and then flesh out the detail in her studio, adding her signature features in a delicate dry watercolor.

Because of her tremendous commitment and long hours dedicated to her art, Maud had few personal friendships and little time for socializing. However, she did find time to marry Dr. Belmont Deforest Bogart in 1898, and raise a family with him.

Dr. Bogart was popular with women. He was tall, handsome and wealthy. He was well-connected and had been educated at Andover, Yale and Columbia. Maud and Belmont first met at an art studio reunion party in 1896. There was an instant attraction that brought them together, but they were both outspoken and independent individuals and their political differences pushed them apart. They were brought together again after Belmont had an unfortunate accident. A horse-drawn ambulance toppled over on top of him, breaking his leg. Maud visited him in hospital and the visit quickly reignited their attraction. So that Maud could nurse him back to health without the chaperons that convention at the time required of a single woman, they agreed to be married. A week later (in June 1898) the 32 year old Dr. Belmont Bogart took the 30 year old Maud Humphrey for his wife.

They had three children together over the next few years; Humphrey in 1899, Frances in 1901 and Catherine Elizabeth in 1903. They lived in a 4-storey Manhattan town house on the then-fashionable Upper West Side, and bought a summer home in upstate New York; a 55-acre working farm on Lake Canandaigua. They employed a cook, nannies and several other domestic staff.

On the face of it, they appeared to have an idyllic life. However, the reality appears far different. Dr. Bogart's broken leg initially set badly and needed to be re-broken. It was a difficult recovery, which led to a lifetime of residual pain and the start of an addiction to painkillers. He was also quick to prescribe painkillers for Maud's ongoing migraines and a streptococcal-based inflammation (erysipelas). Both of them were said to be heavy drinkers also. Much of the parenting was left to nurses and nannies, with her children referring to her as Maud, rather than Mother or Mom. Both Maud and Belmont worked from home, with the doctor practicing on one floor and Maud working in her art studio on another. The long hours, the formality and lack of affection in their family life, and the drugs and alcohol are said to have led to bitter arguments between the two of them and a less than ideal environment for their children. Humphrey Bogart once said "We were a career family?.too busy to be intimate".

In 1910, Maud became Art Director for The Delineator, a women's fashion magazine. This marked a change of direction for her, artistically, turning her focus to more sophisticated subjects. The publication also supported women's suffrage, a cause very close to her heart. The Lake Canandaigua property was sold in 1915, for a place on Fire Island, off the Long Island shore, to be closer to her office. She maintained her role at The Delineator until 1920.

As their marriage progressed, Maud and Belmont became increasingly distant from each other emotionally and increasingly involved in their own separate lives and interests. However, Maud was remarkably loyal and, as Belmont's health began to deteriorate, she continued to provide the support expected of her. Their fortune and earnings were quickly disappearing to medical bills and the expenses associated with their lavish lifestyles.

In 1934, Dr Belmont Bogart finally passed away. He left Maud with high medical bills, which were eventually cleared by her son, Humphrey Bogart, who was by this time experiencing fame in the movie world. Humphrey then tried to convince his mother that she should move out to Hollywood. She was reluctant at first, but finally agreed. She lived out the rest of her days at Chateau Marmont in Hollywood, California. She died on November 22, 1940 of pneumonia, a complication arising from an intestinal cancer.

It is a little ironic that the death certificate of this headstrong, independent woman, forging herself a career in the Victorian era and becoming an early suffragette, has her occupation listed as "housewife", rather than "artist/illustrator".

While Maud's fame may have been eclipsed by her movie star son and her contribution to the world of illustration largely unknown to many people today, her artwork saw something of a resurgence in popularity in the late 1980s. Some of this was related to the creation of a line of figurines and other collectible giftware by Hamilton Gifts Ltd, based on her artwork (The Maud Humphrey Bogart Collection). The figurines, music boxes, dolls, plates, calendars and more were often produced in limited quantities and a collector's club was formed in 1991.

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