Several factors worked against Theodore Earl Butler's success. First, he lived in the enormous shadow of his father-in-law, Claude Monet. Second, he was working in France during a period of strong anti-American feeling in the French art world. His unique style would eventually receive the credit and praise it deserved, but not until much later in his life.
He had studied with William Merritt Chase at the Art Students League before heading to Paris where continued to study and began submitting works to the Salon. He received an honorable mention at the Salon of 1888, and then traveled that same year to Giverny for the first time.
While living in the primary Impressionist colony, Butler would create a style entirely his own, which served as a forerunner to the Fauvist and Nabis movements for its remarkable use of color, contours, form and effects.
He exhibited widely throughout his career, in both Europe and America, and was even given several solo exhibitions as well. He married Suzanne Hoschede in 1892, who was the daughter of Monet's longtime romantic companion.
He preferred landscape as his subject matter, but with the birth of his two children he began to paint genre and interior domestic scenes.
Unfortunately, his full time residence in France exposed him only to a limited American audience and the critical prevalence of anti-American sentiment prevented him from attaining the level of recognition he so readily deserved. He did exhibit in the Armory Show of 1913, which served as the first organized exhibition of modern art in the United States, and followed that up with submissions in the Panama Pacific Exhibition of 1915.
His works are in several major museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh.