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.