National Society of Colonial Dames of
America in Tennessee

Some of the Artists Represented in this Collection:

Mayna Treanor Avent Murray Percival Bewley Lloyd Branson
Moe Brooker Mark Alan Burnett Washington B. Cooper
William Browning Cooper John Wood Dodge George Dury
Ralph E. W. Earl Gilbert Gaul Cornelius Hankins
George P. A. Healy Ella Sophonisba Hergesheimer Martin W Kellogg
Jacob Lawrence Leslie H. Morrill Michael Shane Neal
Willie Betty Newman Thomas Jefferson Odell, Jr. Henry Stull
Edward Troye Pheoris West Gordon Wetmore
Charles White Catherine Wiley Eleanor McAdoo Wiley
Robert Bruce Williams Hale Woodruff  

Because of the number of portraits either by one of the Coopers or attributed to one of them, links have not been made from those pages to this one.  The other artists are all linked from their works to the brief bios represented here.

Mayna Treanor Avent  (1868-1959)

Mayna Treanor Avent was the daughter of Thomas O. and Mary Andrews Treanor. She was born Sept. 17. 1868 at Tulip Grove Mansion, across the Lebanon Pike in Nashville from Andrew Jackson's Hermitage. Study at Cincinnati was followed by two years at the Academie Julien in Paris. In 1891 she married Frank Avent, a Murfreesboro attorney who later served as State Railroad Commissioner for many years. He died in 1941.

Avent taught painting in Nashville for many years and exhibited throughout the US. She painted in Mass. and SC, as well as TN. She produced oil and watercolor paintings, occasional drawings, and wood block prints in the Japanese manner. She was a member of the Nashville Studio Club, the Nashville Artists Guild, and the Centennial club, which in 1951 held a retrospective of her 68 year artistic career. She spent her last 3 years with her son in Sewanee, TN, where she died on Jan. 2, 1959.

An anecdote of Avent's early life recounts how she was given an armful of magnolias and decided to paint them at once. Finding no unused canvas about, she removed a wooden door panel and painted on it, later explaining "Magnolias just won't wait!" Besides still lifes, her favorite subjects were landscapes, especially TN wheatfields, and negro studies..

from "The South on Paper: Line, Color and Light" By James C. Kelly, p. 22

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Moe Brooker

Born Philadelphia, PA
Lives and works in Philadelphia, PA
Education 1972 MFA, Tyler School of Fine Art, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
1970 BFA, Tyler School of Fine Art, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
1968-69 Tyler School of Art, Rome, Italy
1959-63 Certificate, Philadelphia Academy of Fine Art, Philadelphia, PA

The artist names the Russian abstract painter Wassily Kandinsky when talking about how he became an abstract painter. Kandinsky's book "Concerning the Spiritual in Art," (1912) has been a big influence. And indeed, looking at Brooker and looking at Kandinsky, one sees an allegiance in the artists' spirits. Kandinsky's works are ebullient; full of bold color, energetic line and musical rhythms. So too are Brooker's. Kandinsky was mapping the inner life in his works and so is Brooker. Kandinsky believed both in composing (ordering) a painting and in improvising (working intuitively). Brooker too uses both strategies.

One thinks of music when one looks at Brooker's paintings. His lines and dots are staff lines and musical notes, and the procession of shapes evokes a symphony. Brooker's connection to music is familial and communitarian. He sings in the choir at First African Baptist Church of Philadelphia and he sings with the Royal Priesthood, a group that sings gospel music, sometimes with a jazz inflection. He was the seventh son in a musical household where everyone played instruments and sang. Whether consciously or not, the artist's paintings have song-like structures with passages that are pure call and response, verse and chorus.

Mark Alan Burnett

Encouraged by an artistic family environment, Mark Alan Burnett's early ability was inspired by wide travel and visits to art museums in Europe, the Orient and the United States. His father, a well-known portrait artist and western sculptor, encouraged Mark to pursue art as a career but he selected other paths.

After studying both Art and Environmental Design at the University of Colorado in Boulder, he designed and built homes in Estes Park, managed a bookstore/cafe in Denver, and worked in advertising. Finally, at 30 years of age, Mark returned "home" to his creative potential and became a full-time portrait artist in 1982.

Since moving to Nashville, Mark has completed portraits for clients in Nashville, Chicago, New York, Atlanta, Memphis, Montgomery, Knoxville, St. Louis, Colorado, Florida, and Germany. Because of his keen observation, patience, skill and empathy, his portraits are so full of life that you are deeply touched by them.

Currently Vice President and Member of Merit of the Portrait Society of Atlanta, he was selected as one of the “Top Ten in Tennessee” in 2006 and 2007 by the Portrait Society of America.

In 1991, he won first place for Distinguished Achievement in Portraiture in the national competition in Atlanta. He was one of ten finalists in the international competition of the American Society of Portrait Artists at Montgomery in 1994.

At the 1984 National Artist's Seminar in Chicago, he was a finalist in the competition.

Washington Bogart Cooper (1801-1889)

Born near Jonesboro in 1802; died at Nashville in 1889.  He was unschooled in art up to the age of 26, but he was said to have been always painting faces on barn doors, fences and anything else with a smooth surface.  After receiving instruction for two years from an unknown artist in Murfreesboro--possibly Ralph E. W. Earl--he moved to Nashville and opened a studio.  One year later he had earned enough to go to Philadelphia for study with Thomas Sully and Henry Inman.

On his return to Nashville he became the most prolific painter of portraits in the city's history and, so far as is known, never painted anything else.  Still in the possession of his descendants is an account book he kept from 1838 to 1846 which shows that he averaged about 35 portraits a year at this time.  He seldom received more than $75 for a commission, and more than one sitter refused to pay him at all.  They are listed in the account book as "dead horses."

He painted every Tennessee governor through Robert Love Taylor, with the exception of William Blount, and all the bishops of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, up to his time.

William Brown(ing) Cooper (1811-1900)

Born near Carthage in 1811; died at Chattanooga in 1900.  Financially assisted by his brother Washington, he was able to study at the New York Academy of Design and to follow this with three years in the academies of Paris and Rome.  On his return to the United States he painted portraits in Washington, St. Louis, Chicago, New Orleans and Little Rock as well as in Tennessee.  He maintained a studio in Memphis for 15 years before coming to Nashville and then moved from Nashville to Chattanooga in 1885.

Both Washington and William signed their pictures "W. B. Cooper," thereby posing some problems in attribution.  However, most of the Coopers in Middle Tennessee are almost certainly by Washington.  William seems to have specialized in the painting of children and, probably because of his studies in Italy, to have employed a more opulent palette than his reticent brother.

Tennessee Painting the Past, Tennessee Fine Arts Center, Cheekwood, 1960.

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John Wood Dodge (1807-1893)

John Wood Dodge: and the portrait miniature - Raymond D. White

Dodge was born into a middle-class family in New York City on November 4, 1807. (2) At about the age of sixteen he was apprenticed to a sign painter in whose shop his work included painting tinned cans. Dodge, his fellow workers, and his family quickly recognized that he had considerable artistic ability and encouraged him to develop his talent. Dodge seems to have taught himself, first by copying borrowed paintings and then, during the winter of 1826-1827, by drawing from casts and statuary in the collection of the National Academy of Design in New York City.

He quickly found portrait miniatures on ivory to be his metier, and his progress in the field was remarkable. By 1828 he was painting reasonably competent portraits; in 1829 he first exhibited at the National Academy of Design; and in 1832 he was elected an associate of the academy. In the early 1830s William Dunlap wrote that Dodge "stands among the prominent professors of the art [of painting portrait miniatures] in New York."

Portrait miniatures were not made to be hung on a wall, to be gawked at by the merely curious, as were large portraits. In virtually every case the miniature was painted to be given as a bond between the subject and the recipient. Dodge began to work in the midst of a major change in the technique, and, some feel, in the meaning of portrait miniatures. In the mid-eighteenth century these paintings were small, and the emphasis was on delicate coloring and flattering likenesses. As the century ended, the miniature grew larger (generally 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 inches high), coloration became bolder, backgrounds tended to be darker, and likenesses became more realistic.

Continuation of article:

George Dury

Born at Wurzburg, Bavaria, in 1817; died at Nashville, Tennessee in 1894.  He studied in Munich and, as a young man, enjoyed the patronage of King Ludwig I of Bavaria.  A portrait of Lola Montez, Ludwig's flamboyant mistress, and a miniature of the Grand Duke Alexis survive from that era.

In 1849 he found it expedient to forsake Bavaria for America after having participated in an ill-advised celebration of Washington's birthday during which Washington, Jefferson, Franklin and other revolutionaries were too extravagantly eulogized.  Newspaper advertisements of the early 1850s reveal that he had by then established a studio in Nashville for instruction in the Fine Arts.  

Tennessee Painting the Past, Tennessee Fine Arts Center, Cheekwood, 1960.
CLICK HERE for a 1957 article on Dury and his legacy in Nashville.

Ralph E. W. Earl, ca. 1785-1838

Ralph E. W. Earl, portraitist, was the son of Connecticut painter Ralph Earl (1751-1801) and his second wife, Anne Whiteside of Norwich, England. Born in England, Earl studied under his father in Northhampton, Massachusetts, before traveling to London in 1809 to study under Benjamin West and John Trumbull. After a year in London, he spent four years in Norwich with his grandfather and uncle before journeying to the Continent for a year in Paris. While there, he was able to see, as the result of Napoleon Bonaparte's recent conquests, many of the Europe's greatest paintings.

On January 1, 1817, Earl arrived in Nashville to paint the portrait of General Andrew Jackson, the hero of the battle of New Orleans. Later that year, in Natchez, he met and married Jane Caffrey, Rachel Jackson's niece. She died the next year, but Earl moved into the Hermitage and into Jackson's circle. From 1818 until 1827 he directed the Nashville Museum of "natural and artificial curiosities" on the Public Square. The museum included ten of Earl's portraits.

When Jackson went to Washington as president, Earl went with him. During the next eight years, Earl turned out numerous paintings of Jackson, some of distinction, but many repetitious in nature and mediocre in quality, political icons rather than art. Politicians, especially Democrats, knew it "did not hurt to order a portrait of General Jackson from Earl." He painted many of Jackson's friends and a few of his foes. He designed the invitation to Lafayette's ball in Nashville in 1825, as well as the guitar-shaped driveway and concentric flower beds at the Hermitage. He also executed decorative interior painting at neighboring Tulip Grove. Earl returned to the Hermitage with Jackson in 1837 and died there in September 1838.

James C. Kelly, Virginia Historical Society
Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture, 1998

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Gilbert Gaul

WILLIAM GILBERT GAUL 1855-1919   Gilbert Gaul, late nineteenth-century artist, is best known for his depictions of military topics, particularly scenes of the Civil War. Born in Jersey City, New Jersey, he entered the National Academy of Design in New York City at age seventeen and emerged as one of the era's leading illustrators. Gaul moved to Tennessee and established a studio on property he inherited near Fall Creek Falls in Van Buren County.

Gaul published illustrations in Harper's and Century Magazine. His Civil War paintings of both Union and Confederate soldiers portray a variety of experiences from fierce battles to quiet moments in camp. Works such as Holding the Line at all Hazards and Charging the Battery captured the war's severity and brought him awards from the American Art Association and the 1889 Paris Exposition. The height of his career came in 1893, when he received numerous awards at the World's Exposition in Chicago. Gaul also produced several landscape paintings including Rafting on the Cumberland River (Tennessee State Museum)..

Gaul's popularity eventually began to wane, and by 1904 he had accepted a teaching position at Cumberland Female College in McMinnville. He soon opened a studio in Nashville and published the first in what was to be a series of paintings titled With the Confederate Colors in 1907. The project, however, met with little success, and subsequent paintings were canceled. Gaul then left Tennessee and eventually returned to his native New Jersey, where he produced paintings of World War I before his death.

Teresa Biddle-Douglass, Nashville
Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture, 1998

Cornelius Hankins

Cornelius Hankins was born on July 12, 1863, near Guntown, Itawamba County, Mississippi, the sixth of eight children of Reverend Edward Lockee Hankins and Annie Mary (McFadden) Hankins. He contracted smallpox as a boy after his mother cared for Confederate soldiers. As a result, he was deaf until he was eight years old and had to be tutored at home.

He first studied art under E. M Gardner in Nashville.  Subsequently he worked with William Merritt Chase in New York City and with Robert Henri at the St. Louis School of Fine Arts.  European travel supplemented these studies.  He settled in Nashville in 1900 and was associated for a while with George W. Chambers in the Nashville School of Art.

He painted landscapes and still lifes as well as more than a thousand portraits.  At the time of his death in Nashville in 1946, nine of his portraits were said to be in the Tennessee State Capitol, six in the Alabama, two in the Mississippi, and one in the Louisiana capitol buildings.

Tennessee Painting the Past, Tennessee Fine Arts Center, Cheekwood, 1960.

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George Peter Alexander Healy

An American portrait and historical painter, b. at Boston, 15 July, 1808; d. at Chicago, 14 June 1894. His father was an Irish captain in the merchant marine, and "the Celtic strain ran bright and lovable through the temperament of the son' (Isham). The eldest of five children, Healy, early left fatherless, helped to support his mother. When sixteen years of age he began drawing, and at once fired with the ambition to be an artist. Miss Stuart, daughter of the American painter, aided him in every way, loaned him a Guido's "Ecce Homo", which he copied in colour and sold to a country priest. Later, she introduced him to Sully, by whose advice Healy profited much, and gratefully repaid Sully in the days of the latter's adversity. At eighteen, Healy began painting portraits, and was soon very successful.

In 1834, he went to Europe, leaving his mother well provided for, and remained abroad sixteen years during which he studied with Baron Gros, came under the pervading influence of Couture, painted assiduously, and won (1840) a third class medal in the Salon. His "Franklin urging the Claims of the Colonists before Louis XVI" gained him a second-class gold medal at the Paris International Exhibition of 1855. This year, also, saw him in Chicago, where he remained until 1869, when he again visited the Continent, painting steadily, chiefly in Rome and Paris, for twenty-one years. His final return to Chicago was in 1892.

Healy painted more portraits than any other American artist, and of more eminent men than any other artist in the world. Among his sitters were Pius IX (1871), Lincoln, Grant (1878) Cardinal McCloskey, Louis Philippe ("his royal patron"), Marshal Soult, Webster, Calhoun, Hawthorne, Prescott, Longfellow, Liszt, Gambetta, Thiers, Lord Lyons, and the Princess (now the queen) of Rumania. In one large historical work, "Webster's Reply to Hayne" (1851), now in Faneuil Hall, Boston, there are one hundred and thirty portraits.

Healy was remarkably facile, enterprising, courageous, and industrious. "All my days are spent in my painting room" (Reminiscences). His style, essentially French, was sound, his colour fine, his drawing correct and his management of light and shade excellent. His likenesses, firm in outline, solidly painted, and with later glazings, are emphatic, rugged, and forceful. Healy was an honorary member of the National Academy of Design and wrote a delightful book: "Reminiscences of a Portrait Painter".

Among his principal works are: Lincoln (Corcoran Gallery), Bishop (later Cardinal) McClosky (bishop's residence, Albany), Guizot (1841, in Smithsonian Institution), Audubon (1838, Boston Soc. Nat. Hist.), Comte de Paris (Met. Mus. Of Art, New York).

New Advent, Catholic Encyclopedia

Ella Sophonisba Hergesheimer (1873 - 1943)

Ella Sophonisba Hergesheimer was a painter and printmaker, best known for her images of Tennessee notables, especially society women and their children. Hergesheimer was the great-great granddaughter of the Philadelphia artist Charles Willson Peale, who named one of his daughters Sophonisba after the Italian woman artist of the Renaissance, Sophonisba Anguissola (1523/35-1625).

Hergesheimer was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, where her student works impressed her teachers. She studied for two years at the Philadelphia School of Design and then for four years at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts under William Merritt Chase and Cecilia Beaux. In her first year (1900) she won the prize for perspective, in her second year the prize for animal and figure drawing, and in her third year the prizes for landscape and anatomy. She was judged the best pupil of her senior class and won a three-year Cresson traveling scholarship (1904-1907). She visited Paris and Normandy, Madrid, Germany, Italy, and Holland. In Paris she worked at the Colorossi School and had four paintings chosen to hang at the Paris Salon.

Returning home in 1907, she was commissioned to paint a portrait of Bishop Holland M. McTyeire, the Methodist clergyman who had persuaded Cornelius Vanderbilt to endow what became Vanderbilt University. The commission brought her to Nashville, Tennessee, which became her home for the rest of her life. She exhibited her work extensively in the South and won numerous awards including gold medals at the Appalachian Exposition in 1910 and the Tennessee State Exposition in 1926. She also exhibited at the Philadelphia Sesquicentennial Exhibition in 1926. A lithograph titled "Still Life with Apples" was chosen as one of the "Fine Prints of the Year in 1938."

Her works are in the collections of Vanderbilt University; Heckscher Museum in Huntington, New York; Reading Public Museum and Art Gallery in Reading, Pennsylvania; Tennessee State Museum; and the Morris Museum of Art in Augusta, Georgia.

Above information from the University of Delaware Library, Special Collections Department.  Most of it has been copied here, other than their reference sources and collection, since their original link may or may not be permanent.

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Martin W. Kellogg   (July 2, 1905 – December 26, 1989)

Evalina Harwell

Kellogg was born in Hartford, Connecticut,and his family home was passed down though many generations. His last known address was in Nashville, Davidson County, Tennessee. He lived in West Hartford and Bloomfield, Connecticut as well as Nashville, Tennessee during his working career.

Among other portraits, Kellogg painted John Hill who was president of Aetna Insurance in Hartford in the 1960s, Frank L Boyden, headmaster of Deerfield Academy (MA) (1902–1968) and Wallace W Robbins, Minister of the First Unitarian Church in Worcester, MA from 1956 to 1975. He married Earlene Taylor and had children James, Pamela, Debra, Gregory and Tamara

Kellogg painted several Governors of Tennessee, and these are in the collection of the Tennessee State Museum..

Kellogg had a passion for English setters, which he bred, raised, trained and went to championship competitions. He took his dogs out daily for long training sessions, many times breaking the day up with several of his friends, due to his stamina they could not keep up with him. He kept and raised his dogs until his death.

Jacob Lawrence

Jacob Lawrence, one of the most important artists of the 20th century, was born in 1917 and is best known for his series of narrative paintings depicting important moments in African American history. Lawrence was introduced to art when in his early teens, Lawrence's mother enrolled him in Utopia Children's Center, which provided an after-school art program in Harlem. By the mid-1930s, he was regularly participating in art programs at the Harlem Art Workshop and the Harlem Community Art Center where he was exposed to leading African American artists of the time, including Augusta Savage and Charles Alton, the director of the Harlem Art Workshop and, later, professor of art at Howard University. At the community art centers, Lawrence studied African art, Aaron Douglas's paintings and African American history. With the help and encouragement of Augusta Savage, Lawrence secured a scholarship to the American Artists School and later gained employment with the WPA, working as a painter in the easel division. Lawrence began painting in series format in the late 1930s, completing 41 paintings on the life of Toussaint L'Ouverture, the revolutionary who established the Haitian Republic. Other series followed on the lives of the abolitionists Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, and John Brown. The Migration of the Negro, one of his best known series, was completed in 1941. The most widely acclaimed African American artist of this century, Lawrence continued to paint until his death in 2000.  

Jacob Lawrence was born in Atlantic City but was brought up in a settlement house in Harlem. This was the period of the Harlem Renaissance, a time of sharply focused social awareness and a burgeoning black consciousness, which nurtured the young Lawrence and opened his eyes to the life around him. He began taking art lessons early, and during the Depression, he worked for the WPA.

It was his own background in Harlem and the hard life of black Americans that informed Lawrence's earliest work. His Migration Series, supported by grants from the Rosenwald Foundation, was an immediate success and brought the twenty-four year-old to national attention. Lawrence continued to work in series-possibly reflecting the oral tradition of the black community-and the individual images, while powerful on their own, have connective strength when viewed as a narrative. Never one to shy away from human suffering, no matter how close to home, Lawrence did Hillside Hospital Series based on his stay at the psychiatric hospital in 1949¬50.

Michael Shane Neal

Michael Shane Neal is among the most sought after young portrait artists in America today.

Recently completing portraits of such luminaries as Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, former Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham, U.S. Senator Arlen Specter, U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd, and Federal Chief Judge Anthony Scirica.

Neal's current commissions include former Majority Leader and U.S. Senator Bill Frist, Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne, former Chancellor of Vanderbilt University Gordon Gee, former CEO of Cargill Corporation Warren Staley, Emily Couric for The Emily Couric Cancer Center and Tony Award winning actress Marian Seldes for the Players Club in New York.

The Artist Magazine listed Neal among 20 rising stars in the world of art. His unique, sensitive and insightful paintings display a commitment for portraying not just the outer likeness of his subjects, but their character and personality as well. A self-described “people person” Neal enthusiastically shares his excitement for interpreting his clients on canvas in a traditional yet painterly style.

Since beginning a full time career as an artist at the age of 21, his dedication to quality and passion for his work has lead to the successful completion of portraits on display around the country. Of particular note was the commission to paint Senator Arthur Vandenberg for the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. Vandenberg’s portrait is the first commission of its kind in nearly 50 years, and upon receiving the commission at the age of 32, Neal is among the youngest artists ever commissioned by the United States Senate.

A protégée of the nations leading artist and presidential portraitist Everett Raymond Kinstler (a second generation student of John Singer Sargent), in 2003 Neal exhibited along side Kinstler in a show entitled Realism Now: Mentors and Protégées at the Vose Galleries in Boston, Massachusetts. Neal is the Grand Prize winner of the 2001 Portrait Society of America International Portrait Competition and recently received the Catherine Lorilland Wolfe Award from the National Arts Club and the Tara Fredrix Award from the Audubon Artists of America, both for landscape. In 2004, he received the Artist’s Magazine Award of Excellence at the Oil Painters of America National Exhibition.

Receiving his B.A. from David Lipscomb University, Neal recently received the "Young Alumnus of the Year Award" from his alma mater. He has also studied at the Santa Fe Institute of Fine Arts, The Scottsdale Artist School, and the Lyme Academy of Art. Carving out time for teaching each year, Neal is a popular demonstrator and lecturer at venues around the country. His work has been featured in publications such as American Artist, International Artist, Sketchbook, and The Artist’s Magazine, Art News, and Fine Art Connoisseur.

Neal is a member of the National Arts Club, the Allied Artists of America, the Artist Fellowship of New York, the Cumberland Society of Painters, the Oil Painters of America, the Audubon Artists, and the Portrait Society of America. He is also a member of the Exchange Club of Nashville and Hillsboro Church of Christ. Neal enjoys community outreach projects, golf, plein air landscape painting, and reading with a particular interest in history. The father of two, Neal and his wife reside near his studio located minutes from downtown Nashville.

Willie Betty Newman

Willie Betty Newman, a key figure in the state's art community at the turn of the century, was born on the Benjamin Rucker plantation near Murfreesboro, the daughter of Colonel William Francis Betty and Sophie Rucker Betty. She attended Soule College in Murfreesboro and Greenwood Seminary in Lebanon before studying art at the Cincinnati Art School under T. S. Noble. In 1881 she married J. Warren Newman, but they separated soon afterward, and she never spoke of him again.

For twelve years she studied art in Paris, mostly at the Julian Academy, under masters who included William Adolphe Bouguereau, Jean Paul Laurens, Robert Fleury, and Benjamin Constance. She specialized in genre scenes of French peasant life. A pervasive spiritual quality characterizes her work and is exemplified by Passing of the Holy Bread, now at the Centennial Club, and En Penitence, now at Cheekwood Museum of Art. She exhibited at the Paris Salon from 1893 to 1898, and again in 1900. She received honorable mention and a certificate from the French government for her portrait of Miss Fanny Alice Gowdy, daughter of the American Consul in Paris.

When Newman returned to Nashville, she maintained a portrait studio in the Vauxhall Apartments. Newman portrayed such prominent Nashvillians as John Trotwood Moore, Joel Creek, Governor James Frazier, Mrs. James C. Bradford, James E. Caldwell, and Oscar F. Noel. She was commissioned to paint a portrait of John Sherman, vice president under William Howard Taft, but her work was rejected as too large, and she forfeited the $4,500 fee. Congress commissioned her to do posthumous portraits of James K. Polk and John C. Bell. The Centennial Club commissioned a portrait of Mrs. Elizabeth Rhodes Eakins. The Nashville Museum of Art awarded Newman the Parthenon medal, its highest honor. She died in Nashville on February 6, 1935.

James C. Kelly, Virginia Historical Society
Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture, Online Edition, 2002

Photograph: Courtesy Barry Lamb,
Images of 19th Century Rutherford County: Its Homes and People, 2007.

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Thomas Jefferson Odell, Jr.

Born in 1810; died in 1849.  He maintained a studio in Nashville in the 1840s and subsequently one in New Orleans.  Authenticated works by him are rare, but these include portraits of Andrew Jackson, Zachary Taylor, and possibly one of Franklin Pierce.  The portrait of George Thompson is said to have been painted in gratitude after that gentleman had extricated Odell from debt--a condition in which the artist is supposed frequently to have found himself.

Tennessee Painting the Past,
Tennessee Fine Arts Center, Cheekwood, 1960.


Henry Stull
1851-1913 American

IroquoisWhile Henry Stull initially wanted to be an actor, his life and art ultimately revolved around racehorses, especially at Coney Island, New York.  To make this point, it has been said he was born above a stable in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada in 1851, but this may be an item helpful to making his life story seem even more predestined.  However, he did have close exposure as a child to horses because his father was the driver of a horse-drawn hack.  Stull could have succeeded him, but instead went to New York City in 1873, hoping to be an actor.  However, he failed, and in order to make money, took a job with an insurance company, "but the racetracks and considerable innate artistic talent liberated him." (Peluso, 18B)   CLICK HERE for more . . .

Edward Troye

Gamma-Belle Meade Plantation(b Lausanne, 12 July 1808; d Georgetown, KY, 25 July 1874). American painter of Swiss birth. Before 1822, his father, Jean-Baptiste de Troy, a sculptor of minor fame, moved his family to England, where Edward was instructed in drawing and perhaps painting. The animal painter Jacques-Laurent Agasse knew the family well. Troye wrote in 1857 that he was trained in London by the best masters and stated that he followed the style of George Stubbs and John N. Sartorius. In 1831 Troye arrived in Philadelphia, where he was employed as a magazine illustrator. The following year he exhibited animal subjects at the annual Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts exhibition and rapidly found patrons among racehorse owners. His typical works show motionless, unsaddled and riderless animals against a low horizon (e.g. Undefeated Asteroid, 1864; Richmond, VA, Mus. F.A.). Light glistens across the body surface, detailing muscle and bone structure with a skill that received critical acclaim. Many of his works were engraved for publication in the media. From 1849 he taught French and drawing at Spring Hill College, Mobile, AL. In 1855 he left to spend 18 months travelling in Europe and the Near East. His large landscape views of Syria and the Holy Land went on exhibition and were well received. Thereafter he spent 19 years travelling between the major horse breeding centres in Kentucky, Virginia, Ohio and New York.

Pheoris West

Associate Professor, Department of Art
Ohio State University

Areas of Expertise • Painting and drawing • Computer graphics • Design

Pheoris West is an Associate Professor in the Department of Art's Painting and Drawing program. His work has appeared in numerous art venues, including the Philadelphia Museum, Boston Museum, the Studio Museum in Harlem, MuseoCivico D'Arts Contemporaneo Di Gibillina, Palermo, Italy, and the Cincinnati Contemporary Art Center.

Professor West served as curator of HOMAGE TO JAZZ in 1999 at the Martin Luther King Center in Columbus. He has served on the National Endowment of the Arts Expansion Arts Panel, the International Juror National Exhibition of Zimbabwe, and the Ohio Arts Council.

Education • MFA, Yale University

Pheoris West is an African American artist. He has been an associate professor at the Ohio State University College of the Arts since 1976.

He studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and earned a Masters of Fine Arts from Yale University. His areas of expertise are painting and drawing, computer graphics, and design. His art has been shown in various art displays since 1970. Examples of his work are held in the collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, the Museo Civico D’arts Contemporaneo Di Gibilina, Palermo, Italy, and the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati. He took part in the national touring exhibition “To Conserve a Legacy: American Art from Historically Black Colleges and Universities.” He was a curator for the 1999 "HOMAGE TO JAZZ" at the Martin Luther King Center in Columbus, Ohio. He has also served on the National Endowment of the Arts Expansion Arts Panel, the International Juror National Exhibition of Zimbabwe, and the Ohio Arts Council.

West considers himself an Afrocentric artist. He does not align with modern or post-modern artists. He prefers to integrate the importance of a strong moral society with cultural traditions. Africa is the source for classical art traditions and African and American cultures inspire his imagery. He symbolizes a universal message through the use of traditional tales, mythologies and religion. His most common subject is the black woman. He considers her a symbol for Mother Earth, for the cradle of humanity. She represents the theorized oldest evidence of humanity recently found in Ethiopia. In his work “The Garden” he paints Eve as an enchanting black woman. The painting creates a spiritual energy from the layers of imagery and the balance of color and form.

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Charles White
American, 1918 - 1979

The African-American painter, lithographer, and teacher Charles Wilbert White was born in Chicago. He attended The Art Institute of Chicago and the Art Students League in New York City. White taught at the George Washington Carver School in New York from 1943 to 1945 and was artist-in-residence at Howard University in Washington, DC, in 1945.

The artist executed several murals in various cities throughout the United States, many under the sponsorship of the WPA. His work shows the influence of the styles of the leading Mexican muralists, reflecting his study with David Alfaro Siqueiros and Diego Rivera at the Taller de Gráfica Popular in Mexico. In 1940 the Associated Negro Press commissioned a mural for the Chicago Public Library. He completed another at the Hampton Institute in Virginia in 1943 and, late in his career, at the Mary McLeod Bethune Library in Los Angeles. His works, as seen on this videodisc, frequently feature the strong, stylized forms of African-American figures set against flattened, faceted "walls." The fragmented settings may contain private and public imagery, for example urban structures that are small in scale, making the large figures all the more prominent, monumental, and expressive.

White spent most of his career in Chicago and Los Angeles. He died in 1979. White's work is included in the permanent collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, The Newark Museum, and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art.

[This is an excerpt from the interactive companion program to the videodisc American Art from the National Gallery of Art. Produced by the Department of Education Resources, this teaching resource is one of the Gallery's free-loan educational programs.]

Hale Woodruff (1900-1980)

Hale Woodruff, a nationally known printmaker, draftsman, and painter, was a member of the Atlanta University faculty for fifteen years. During that time the Paris-trained African American artist developed a distinctive American regionalist style. While teaching at Atlanta University, he was responsible for establishing the university's art program .

Hale Aspacio Woodruff was born on August 26, 1900, in Cairo, Illinois, to Augusta and George Woodruff. He moved with his mother to Nashville, Tennessee, after his father died. After graduating from Nashville's Pearl High School, where he had been the cartoonist for the school newspaper, Woodruff studied at the Herron Art Institute in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Upon returning home from a four-year sojourn to France in the 1920s, Woodruff joined the faculty of Atlanta University in 1931. It was his initial venture with art instruction and made him one of the first college professors of studio art in the state of Georgia. In the course of a decade, Woodruff developed a "one-man art department," promoted a plethora of visual arts activities, and initiated the Atlanta University Art Annuals (1942-70), twenty-nine national art exhibitions for black artists.

In response to Atlanta University's "Six-Year Plan" for establishing a School of Music and Fine Arts, Woodruff conducted art classes on the Spelman College campus for Atlanta University's Laboratory High School and for Spelman and Morehouse College students. Among some of the major exhibitions Woodruff succeeded in bringing to the Atlanta University Center campus were selections from the collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art and works by fifty-four contemporary black artists sponsored by the Harmon Foundation. The development of Clark Atlanta University's historic collection of African American art, harvested from the Atlanta University Art Annuals, is wholly attributable to Woodruff's vision and effort. "The one thing I think that must be guarded against," he stated in 1968, "is that, in our efforts to create a black image and to assert our quality, our character, our blackness, our beauty, and all that, the art form must remain one of high level."

Woodruff's early work reflects his exposure to cubism while living in France during the late 1920s and early 1930s. The urban and rural landscapes of Georgia inclined his work and that of his students toward the regionalist style popular during that era. As were several other African American artists, Woodruff was inspired by Mexican muralists like Diego Rivera, with whom he studied.

He completed three mural series: The Amistad Mutiny for Talladega College, The Negro in California History for the Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Company in California (a collaboration with Charles Alston), and the Art of the Negro at Clark Atlanta University Art Galleries. Referring to the influence of African art on the development of Western art, Woodruff stated: "This [the Art of the Negro mural] has to do with a kind of interpretive treatment of African art. . . . I've always had a high regard and respect for the African artist and his art. So this mural . . . is for me, a kind of token of my esteem for African art." The six panels convey a synthesis of the art history of non-European worlds. Also apparent are the lessons learned from Rivera, but the impact of the art of Africa is manifest in this series.

In 1946 Woodruff moved to New York, where he taught at New York University until his retirement in 1968. Woodruff died in New York City on September 6, 1980, but his impact as a teacher in the Atlanta University Center is palpable in the work of his students.

Georgia Encyclopedia

See also Johannes Adam Simon Oertel

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