Friday, September 16, 2011

William A. Harper

"Untitled Lanscape"

" Landscape with Poplars ( Afternoon at Montigony)" 1898 oil on canvas

William A. Harper ( 1873- 1910) was a Canadian born impressionist landscape painter. Harper born was in Cayuga, Canada but later moved to Chicago, Illinois while still a little boy. During that time having limited oppurtinities as an African American he took a job as a janitor at the Art Institue of Chicago where he saved enough to pursue higher education there. He enrolled in 1895 and then later graduated with honors. In 1903-05 he went went europe and studied at Academie Julian. In 1907 traveled traveled to Paris where studied with fellow African American painter Henry Osswa Tanner. He was the the recipient of many awards and honors like the Young Fortnightly Prize and Municipal Art League Prize. He passed away 1910 in Mexico City at the young age of 36, suddenly of turbulcoles.

Monday, May 23, 2011

John N. Robinson

"Mr and Mrs Barton",1942 39x 31" oil on canvas
Collection of Clark Atlanta University

John N. Robinson (1912- 1994) was born in 1912.
He was known for his realistic paintings of urban landscapes, church murals, and portraits of family and friends. He was a primarily self taught art artist. Robinson did study briefly for a semester with artist James A Porter at Howard University 1929. From the 1930's Robinson worked as a full-time cook while supporting and raising his family of six, all the while pursuing his passion of painting. Through out his career he received awards and accolades for his work exhibiting in Negro and integrated exhibitions. Through his exhibitions he earned recognition for paintings through out the Washington D.C area. He still remains virtually overlooked in the art world outside of D.C. In 1994 he passed away at 82 years of age.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

William Arthur Cooper

"My Dad" 1931 30x 24" oil on canvas, Collection of North Caroilina Central Unirversity Art Musuem

William Arthur Cooper ( 1895- 1974 ) was born North Carolina. He was a self taught painter, a minister and teacher. Cooper specialized in portraits. He received his religious schooling at National Religious Training School ( now North Carolina Central University) in Durham .

Cooper believed that the burlesque, sensationalized images American Negros, then was so so prevalent, were both cause and effect of poor race relations. A program of arts education combining realistic portraiture, sympathetic biography, and honest conversation, he argued, could Negros and whites imagined one another and thus ultimately how they interacted.

During the Depression Cooper painted a series of African American worthies and common folk. Cooper subjects where his native Carolinians. He strove to capture broader truths about contemporary Negro life. By refusing to paint Negros and southerns as gross caricatures and by rendering his friends, and neighbors at repose, he achieves a realism that was radical and documentary.

He lectured and displayed his work through out the 1930's. In 1936 he published a book of essays and portraits, A Portrail of Negro Life. The book embodied his ideals how through arts education might help interracial relations. He also received recognition and acclaim from his portraiture and organized the North Carolina's first African American art exhibition . Through out his career he remained true to his calling as a minister. He was a Pastor at the Clinton Metropolitan A.M.E. Zion Church in Charlotte, NC.

( this contain exerts from Alexander Byrd in To Conserve A Legacy )

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

William Edouard Scott

"Full Moon, Haitian Rythym" 30 1/4x 24" oil on canvas

"Hiatian Fisherman at Dawn" 1931 13x 9" oil on wood

"Dr. Ulysses Grant Dailey" 1930 32x 20" oil canvas

William Edouard Scott was born in Indiapolis in 1884 where he lived til 1904. That year he decided move to Chicago to live and pursue higher education at the School of Art Institute of Chicago. Later he had the chance to study abroad at the Acade'mie Julian and Acade'mie Calorassi where he was mentored by fellow African American artist Henry Ossawa Tanner. In France he devolped his Impressionist sincibilties which he nurtured through out his career. After the accomulation years of schooling Scotts paintings were choosen in 1912-13 for the Paris Salon and at the Royal Academy of London.

In 1914 Scott returned home and began documenting the African American life in the south. In 1931 he later received a Rosenwald Foundation grant where he travel to Haiti to document people who kept strong ties too there african hertitage. By conscouisly depecting the Haitan life in uplifting way he pushed ahead for racial understanding through his work in his time. He humanized his subjects as strong independent people even though living in and under harsh conditions. He was extreme prolific during his time there producing over a hundred works in a little over a year there.

Scott was best known for his Haitian paintings, murals and portraits. He also by refusing to depict black life to elicit sympathy but to uphold them in high esteem was radical in his time. He passed in 1964 to diabetties in Chicago. He is now considered one of the important African American artist in his generation. His work now resides prestigous collections through out the world such as the Tate Gallery London, the Guggenheim New York and The National Gallery Washington DC.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Hughie -Lee Smith

Hughie Lee-Smith 1970 "Confrontation" 33x 36 oil on canvas, Hunter Museum of Art

Hughie Lee-Smith was born Sept. 20, 1915 in Eustis, Florida, at the age of 10 he moved to Cleveland. There he took classes at Cleveland Museum of Art and Cleveland Institute of Arts, he graduated with high honors and received a grant for post-graduate studies. He later attended John Huntington Polytechnic Institute, the Art Institute of the Detriot Society of the Arts and Crafts and recieved his Bachelor of Fine Art from Wayne State University in Detriot. After schooling he began to teach art and performed with an interracial dance company.

Lee- Smith also served in the Navy during World War II and there completed a mural entitled "The History of the Negro in the United States Navy". In his early work he reflected the social concerns of living in the 1930's during the Great Depression era.

In 1958 he decided moved to New York City where he taught at the Art Students League for the next 15 years. In 1963 he became a member of the National Academy of Design, only the second African American after Henry Ossawa Tanner.

For Lee-Smith early in his career his work can be classified as Social Realism. Later with he work was influenced by surrealism. And his paintings draw heavy comparrison to artist Georgio de Chirico.

During his long illustrative career he's received numerous honors and exhibited through out. Lee- Smith now has work in many major museums collections like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and many others. And his work is still highly sought after and collected .

He died Feb, 23 1999, of cancer in Albuquerque,New Mexico .

Nelson A. Primus

Portrait of Lizzie May Ulmer, 1876 27 1/8x 22"oil on canvas , Connecticut Historical Society

Portrait of Nehemiah Gibson, 1883 oil on canvas

Nelson A. Primus ( 1842-1916) was most known for his of portraits. He was born in Hatford, Connecticut and at age of 15 studied with portrait painter George Francis and later studied with Elizabeth Gilbert Jerome.

In 1864 he move to Boston where he lived and worked for the next 30 years. Here he did paintings of portraits and carriages, while gaining some praise and acclaim for his work. Sales were sporadic though, so to gain extra income he even worked as a books salesman.

In 1895 Primus left Boston and moved west to San Franciso. Here in painted and worked as a model at the Mark Hopkins Institute of Art. He found himself much in the same financial hardships as he was in Boston. Here he lived in the culturally rich Chinese community, were they helped and embraced him. Primus painted Chinatown scenes from this period during the gold rush. He died in 1916 in San Fransico of tuberculosis.

Charles Ethan Porter

"Petunias", 18x24" oil on canvas

"Peonies in a Bowl" 1885 21¼ x 29¼" oil on canvas, private collection

Charles Ethan Porter (1847-1923) was an still life painter. He was born in 1847 in Hartford, Connecticut. In his early childhood his family move to Rockville which is now apart of Vernon, Connecticut. Here he graduated from high school in 1865, and the next 2 years he studied at the Wilbraham Wesleyan Academy in Wilbraham, Connecticut.

In 1871 Porter went on to study at the highly acclaimed New York's National Academy of Design. He supported in himself by teaching art while in school and completed his studies in 1873. That year he opened up a studio in the New York City and later continued his studies with artist Joseph Oriel Eaton the teacher of William Merit Chase.

In 1878 he moved back to Hartford where he lived worked as artist and opened up a studio. Several years later, when he traveled to Paris, he took with him a letter of recommendation from Mark Twain. In 1881 he enrolled himself in the Ecole de Arts Decoratifs. While his years in France he gathered more fundamentals to his already strong repertoire as an painter.

Upon returning to the U.S. he opened up a studio in New York City and two years later in 1887 moved back to Hartford. In 1889 Porter moved back to his childhood home of Rockville. Here he had studios in the Fitch Block and in a tower on Fox Hill. Toward the end of his life, his fortunes declined and he peddled his paintings door-to-door, trading them for food or flowers to paint. Charles Ethan Porter died in Rockville in 1923 almost forgotten, mainly because the racial climate of the time.

In recent years his paintings have been rediscovered and widely appreciated and is regarded as by many as a Master of still-life painting. Although he is mainly known his remarkable still-life's he also painted a hand full of landscapes.