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Article

M. Sue Kendall

(Wesley)

(b Columbus, OH, Aug 12, 1882; d New York, Jan 8, 1925).

American painter and lithographer. He was the son of George Bellows, an architect and building contractor. He displayed a talent for drawing and for athletics at an early age. In 1901 he entered Ohio State University, where he contributed drawings to the school yearbook and played on both the basketball and the baseball teams. In the spring of his third year he withdrew from university to play semi-professional baseball until the end of summer 1904; this, and the sale of several of his drawings, earned him sufficient money to leave Columbus in September to pursue his career as an artist.

Bellows studied in New York under Robert Henri at the New York School of Art, directed by William Merritt Chase. He initially resided at the YMCA on 57th Street. In 1906 Bellows moved to Studio 616 in the Lincoln Arcade Building on Broadway; over the following years the other tenants at this location included the urban realist painter Glenn O. Coleman (...

Article

Henry Adams

(b Neosho, MO, April 15, 1889; d Kansas City, MO, Jan 19, 1975).

American painter, illustrator, and lithographer. One of the most controversial personalities in American art, both in his lifetime and today, Thomas Hart Benton was a key figure in the American Regionalist movement of the 1930s, when he focused on working-class American subject-matter and was outspoken in his denunciation of European modern painting. Today he is best remembered for this phase of his life, and much criticized because of it. But Benton’s long career is not easily reduced to a single moment or achievement: his legacy was more complex. As a young struggling artist in Paris and New York, he was a leading American modernist and abstractionist, and in his early maturity he became the teacher and lifelong father figure for Jackson Pollock, the most famous of the Abstract Expressionists. He was also a major American writer, who wrote on art and whose autobiography of 1936 became a best-seller. He was also a notable figure in American music who collected American folk songs and devised a new form of harmonica notation that is still in use....

Article

Martin H. Bush

(b Cincinnati, March 3, 1902; d New York, Feb 19, 1988).

American painter, draughtsman and etcher. Bishop moved to New York in 1918 to study at the New York School of Applied Design for Women and from 1920 at the Art Students League under Guy Pène du Bois and Kenneth Hayes Miller. During these years she developed lifelong friendships with Reginald Marsh, Edwin Dickinson and other figurative painters who lived and worked on 14th Street, assimilating these influences with those of Dutch and Flemish painters such as Adriaen Brouwer and Peter Paul Rubens, whose work she saw in Europe in 1931.

From the early 1930s Bishop developed an anecdotal and reportorial Realist style in pictures of life on the streets of Manhattan such as Encounter (1940; St Louis, MO, A. Mus.), in which an ordinary-looking man and woman are shown meeting under a street lamp. Throughout her long career Bishop concentrated on the subtleties of fleeting moments in the daily routine of people who lived and worked in and around Union Square, giving these simple occasions a sense of timelessness: shopgirls seated at a lunch counter (...

Article

Cécile Whiting

(b Philadelphia, Dec 7, 1892; d New York, June 24, 1964).

American painter and printmaker (see fig.). He was born into an artistic family: his parents studied with Thomas Anshutz at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and his father was the art editor at the Philadelphia Press, a newspaper that included among its employees the Robert Henri circle of artist–reporters. Davis studied art under Henri in New York between 1909 and 1912. His earliest works, which chronicle urban life in the streets, saloons and theatres, are painted with the dark palette and thickly applied brushstrokes typical of the Ashcan school style inspired by Henri. Davis also published illustrations in the left-wing magazine The Masses between 1913 and 1916, and in The Liberator, which succeeded it in the 1920s.

With his contribution of five watercolours Davis was one of the youngest exhibitors at the Armory Show, the international exhibition of modern art that opened in New York in 1913...

Article

Margaret Moore Booker

(b Cincinnati, OH, Jan 31, 1875; d Sellersville, PA, Sept 4, 1955).

American printmaker and illustrator. Among the pioneer generation of women printmakers in America, she was known for her humorous satires of the American scene. Raised in New Orleans, she moved to San Francisco where she studied art at the Hopkins Institute (c. 1896–7) and joined the Sketch Club (a professional organization that offered exhibition and collaboration opportunities for women).

By 1903 she had settled in Greenwich Village. Three years later she married the painter and etcher Eugene Higgins (1874–1958), and set aside her career. When the marriage ended 11 years later, she became a secretary of the Whitney Studio Club (where she attended evening sketch sessions), shed her married name and traveled abroad. During a trip to Paris in 1926–7, she discovered the medium that suited her artistic temperament: lithography, and studied the technique with Edouard Dûchatel (fl 1880s–1930s) in Paris.

After returning to New York, in ...

Article

Gail Levin

(b Nyack, NY, July 22, 1882; d New York, May 15, 1967).

American painter, printmaker, and illustrator. He was brought up in a town on the Hudson River, where he developed an enduring love of nautical life (see fig.). When he graduated from Nyack Union High School in 1899, his parents, although supportive of his artistic aspirations, implored him to study commercial illustration rather than pursue an economically uncertain career in fine art. He studied with the Correspondence School of Illustrating in New York City (1899–1900). He continued to study illustration at the New York School of Art (1900–1906), under Arthur Keller (1866–1925) and Frank Vincent Du Mond (1865–1951), but began to study painting and drawing after a year. Hopper began in the portrait and still-life classes of William Merritt Chase, to whose teaching he later referred only infrequently and disparagingly. He preferred the classes he took with Kenneth Hayes Miller and especially those of ...

Article

American, 20th century, male.

Born 1909, in St Louis; died 1963, in Morristown (New Jersey).

Painter, watercolourist, printmaker. Landscapes, still-lifes.

Social Realism.

Joe Jones's worked as a house painter from the age of 14 and received no formal artistic training. He joined the Communist party in the 1930s and left St Louis where his Social Realist paintings of Midwestern farm labourers and industrial workers were at odds with the conservative status quo. Jones settled in New York where he worked for the Public Works of Art Project. In ...

Article

M. Sue Kendall

(b Paris, March 14, 1898; d Dorset, VT, July 30, 1954).

American painter, printmaker and illustrator. He returned from France to the USA with his American parents, Fred Dana Marsh (1872–1961) and Alice (née Randall) Marsh (1869–1929), who were also artists, in 1900. In 1920 he graduated from Yale University, New Haven, CT, where he had been art editor and cartoonist for the Yale Record. He moved to New York and became staff artist for Vanity Fair and the New York Daily News. By 1923 he had begun painting scenes of street life in New York in oil and watercolour. His first one-man show was held at the Whitney Studio Club in 1924. In 1925 he joined the New Yorker, to which he contributed regularly until 1931.

In 1925 Marsh travelled with his first wife, sculptor Betty Burroughs, to Europe where he studied and copied the works of the Old Master painters such as Peter Paul Rubens, Rembrandt, and Michelangelo, whom he particularly admired for their ability to organize large figure groups. In ...

Article

Roger J. Crum

(b Pittsburgh, PA, May 24, 1924).

American painter and printmaker. While at high school, Pearlstein produced Social Realist paintings set in Pittsburgh. After his service as an educational poster designer in World War II, he graduated from Carnegie Institute of Technology, Pittsburgh (BFA, 1949), where he had been a fellow student of Andy Warhol. Pearlstein then moved to New York, where in 1955 he received an MA in art history from New York University. From the late 1950s he taught, first at the Pratt Institute, Brooklyn (1959–63), and then from 1963 at Brooklyn College, New York. During the 1950s, while he adhered to realistic and proto-Pop subjects, his charged brushwork in paintings such as Superman (1952; New York, Dorothy Pearlstein priv. col.) demonstrated experimentation with Abstract Expressionism. However, he felt inhibited working within the established avant-garde, and he was opposed to formal and emotional distortion of the figure. From 1959 he painted, almost exclusively, nude studio models in an analytical, realistic manner. He felt that he had ‘rescued the human figure from its tormented, agonized condition given it by the expressionistic artists’ as well as from pornographers. Pearlstein saw his model as ‘a constellation of still-life forms’ and was capable of brutal honesty in painting a protruding abdomen or an unattractive face. His cropping of models’ extremities occurred partly because he began with an anatomical module, often a foot, and developed the rest of the figure irrespective of the edges of the canvas. His interests were formal, and he believed that by not depicting the head, the artist remained detached from the personality of the model. While his abstract compositional schemes continually reinforced the two-dimensionality of the painting, Pearlstein’s figures are sculpturally rendered and strongly projected in depth. An avid apologist for the new realism, Pearlstein argued that his type of realism was distinct from that of Pop art or Photorealism, movements with which his work is often associated (...

Article

Canadian First Nations (Inuit), 20th–21st century, female.

Born 1969, in Cape Dorset (Nunavut).

Graphic artist (felt pen, crayon, pencil), printmaker (lithography, stone cut). Contemporary Inuit domestic scenes, social realism.

Active in Cape Dorset from the 1990s, Pootoogook moved to Ottawa after becoming the first indigenous artist to win the prestigious Sobey Art Award in ...

Article

M. Sue Kendall

(b Kovno, Lithuania, Sept 12, 1898; d New York, March 14, 1969).

American painter, photographer and lithographer of Lithuanian birth. He was born into a family of Jewish craftsmen who emigrated in 1906, settling in New York. From 1913 to 1917 Shahn served as an apprentice in Hessenberg’s Lithography Shop in Manhattan, and in the evenings he attended high school in Brooklyn. In 1916 he enrolled in a life-drawing class at the Art Students League. After studying biology, first at New York University (1919) and then at City College, New York (1919–22), he entered the National Academy of Design to pursue a career as an artist (1923).

After marrying in 1922, Shahn travelled with his wife to North Africa, Spain, Italy and France (1924–5; 1927–9), where he studied both the art of the past and the works of Matisse, Dufy, Rouault, Picasso and Klee. On his return from Europe in 1925 they moved to Brooklyn Heights. There he met Walker Evans, with whom he began to share a studio. Also in ...

Article

Ilene Susan Fort

(b Lock Haven, PA, Aug 2, 1871; d Hanover, NH, Sept 7, 1951).

American painter, printmaker and draughtsman. He studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts with Thomas Pollock Anshutz from 1892 to 1894 and worked as a commercial artist, first with the newspaper the Philadelphia Inquirer (1892–5) and then the Philadelphia Press (1895–1903). He first gained national recognition for his illustrations in the turn-of-the-century poster style, for example Atlantic City Beach (Philadelphia Inquirer, 19 Aug 1894). He earned his living through magazine illustrations until 1916.

Through his association with Robert Henri and the group of young Philadelphia artists around him, Sloan began c. 1897 to paint in oil and became interested in depicting city life. In 1904, he followed Henri to New York, where he stayed for the rest of his life. In 1908, he participated with seven other artists in an exhibition at the Macbeth Gallery to protest the conservative taste of the National Academy of Design. The group was dubbed ...

Article

American, 20th century, male.

Born 19 July 1904, in New York; died 27 November 2001, in Escondido (California).

Printmaker. Urban scenes.

Social Realism.

At the age of 12, Sternberg began taking classes at the art school of the Brooklyn Museum of Art and in 1927...

Article

Sue Taylor

(De Volsen)

(b Anamosa, Iowa, Feb 13, 1891; d Iowa City, Iowa, Feb 12, 1942).

American artist and craftsman. He spent his life in Iowa as an art teacher and noted Regionalist who echoed in visual art the devotion to Midwestern subjects embraced by Iowa writers Paul Engle, Jay Sigmund, and Ruth Suckow. In the 1930s, Wood became associated with Midwesterners Thomas Hart Benton and John Steuart Curry, promoted by New York art dealer Maynard Walker as a genuinely American alternative to modern abstract painting based on European models. Addressing rural and small-town themes in their work, the three achieved national renown through coverage in the popular press, especially Henry Luce’s Time and Life magazines.

The second of four children of Francis Maryville Wood and Hattie Weaver Wood, Grant De Volsen Wood spent his first ten years on the Iowa farm where he was born. Following the death of his father in 1901, the family relocated to Cedar Rapids. Wood’s artistic education was sporadic. After graduating from Washington High School in ...

Article

Native American (Diné/Navajo), 20th–21st century, female.

Born 1966, in Ganado (Arizona).

Printmaker, sculptor, painter.

Political and social realism, abstraction, post-colonial themes.

Melanie Yazzie uses a variety of media including photography, sculpture, print, and paint to create personal, autobiographical and socio-political works. Using her Diné heritage as a source of inspiration, her practice draws attention to many key issues facing indigenous peoples. Themes have included issues of racism, misogyny, identity problems, poverty and abuse. Later works have concentrated more on personal issues and storytelling and touch on traditional, contemporary and imagined themes, including depictions of ceremonial life and ritual. Yazzie often collaborates with artists from other indigenous nations in order to raise further awareness and create shared experience through art practice....