Charles Alfred Meurer – American Artist & Tromp L’Oeil Artist

Charles Alfred Meurer (American, 1865 to 1955)

Cincinnati-based artist Charles Meurer painted in the tradition of the American trompe l’oeil masters, William Michael Harnett and John Frederick Peto. The artist traced his fascination with trompe l’oeil painting to seeing Harnett’s still lifes at the Cincinnati Industrial Exposition of 1886 and other works by Peto in Cincinnati art galleries in the 1890s. Born in Germany in 1865 to American parents, Meurer was raised in Tennessee. [...] Click here to continue reading.

Sendak, Maurice – American Artist & Writer

Maurice Sendak (American, 1928 to 2012)

Maurice Sendak was a Caldecott award-winning children’s book author and illustrator. The Brooklyn native illustrated more than 80 books by other authors before writing one himself: in 1963 he turned the children’s book world upside down with his first masterpiece, Where the Wild Things Are. Sendak’s dark, moody illustrations were a shocking contrast to the comparatively light and happy fare typically found in children’s books of the time. [...] Click here to continue reading.

Godie, Lee – American Artist

Lee Godie (American, 1908 to 1994)

In 1968, following the deaths of two of her children, Chicago native Lee Godie reinvented herself as an artist and future icon of the Chicago art scene. She began to sell her canvases – paintings that she compared favorably with Cezanne’s – at the entrance to the Art Institute of Chicago, thus associating her creative identity with the Art Institute’s renowned collection of late nineteenth-century French art. The [...] Click here to continue reading.

Davis, Vestie – American Artist

Vestie Davis (American, 1903 to 1978)

Vestie Davis was born in Baltimore, moved to New York City in 1928, and never left. He worked many jobs, among them train conductor, circus barker and ticket taker, undertaker, church organist, and subway newsstand operator. Davis did not begin painting regularly until he was in his forties and never trained in art. As described in the introduction to the one-man exhibition Vestie Davisa€™s New York at the [...] Click here to continue reading.

Bartlett, Morton – American Artist

Morton Bartlett (American, 1909 to 1992)

Morton Bartlett was a private man whose artistry became public after his death. The adopted only son of a Boston Brahmin couple, he left Harvard two years before graduating with the class of 1932. Various jobs followed, including gas station manager and printer’s broker, while he devoted himself to creating a fantasy family of perfectly sculpted children. Bartlett photographed these meticulously dressed and posed figures in staged scenarios [...] Click here to continue reading.

Mackintosh, Dwight – American Artist

Dwight Mackintosh (American, 1906 to 1999)

Dwight Mackintosh was committed to a mental institution at the age of 16 and released a lifetime later in a mass displacement at the age of 72. On his release he was encouraged to attend sessions at the Creative Growth Art Center in Oakland, California. Always introspective and limited in his verbal communication, he began to draw with great focus and concentration, paying attention to little else. He [...] Click here to continue reading.

Evans, Minnie Jones – African-American Artist

Minnie Jones Evans (American, 1892 to 1987)

Born into poverty, Minnie Evans was raised in North Carolina by her grandmother. Too poor to continue in school after the sixth grade, despite loving history and “reading about the Gods”, Evans labored as a fish-seller on the Delaware River Sound. In 1918, she became a domestic worker at an elegant estate whose beautiful surroundings inspired her first wax crayon paintings in 1935 (now at New York’s [...] Click here to continue reading.

Mumma, Ed (Mr. Eddy) – American Artist

Ed Mumma (American, 1908 to 1986)

Edward Mumma (who called himself Mr. Eddy) was born in Milton, Ohio, in 1908. Mumma and his wife, Thelma, farmed and ran an antiques and junk business until her death in 1966, when he retired to Florida to be near his daughter. Mumma joined an art class with his daughter’s encouragement, then quit when his teacher called his work “too sloppy”, continuing to paint on his own. Most [...] Click here to continue reading.

Nice, Don – American Artist

Don Nice (American, 1932 to 2019)

Don Nice made monumental single images of familiar American animals and objects, inspired by the meticulous precision of the 19th c. illustrators John James Audubon and Ernst Haeckel. While he is known for his American buffalo, commissioned for the United States Bicentennial in 1975, it is the animals with whom he shared a Hudson Valley home that are the icons of his work. He draws attention to how [...] Click here to continue reading.

Savitsky, John (Jack) – American Artist

John (Jack) Savitsky (American, 1910 to 1991)

Jack Savitsky, also known as “Coal Miner Jack” is best known for documenting the hard life of the Pennsylvania coal miner in detailed, colorful, almost cheerful paintings, but his subjects ranged wide, from animals to religious scenes. He worked from memory on canvas as well as found materials, his style always illustrative and often warmly humorous. Suffering from black lung disease, Savitsky retired in 1960 and began [...] Click here to continue reading.

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