Visual Arts

Entries - Entry Category: Visual Arts

Alexander, Larry Dell

Larry Dell Alexander is a visual artist, writer, and Bible teacher best known for his elaborate pen-and-ink drawings and crosshatching technique. He painted Clinton Family Portrait, an oil painting that he gave to President Bill Clinton in 1995. He has also written several Bible study commentary books on the New Testament. Larry D. Alexander was born on May 30, 1953, in Dermott (Chicot County), the second son of Robert and Janie Alexander. His father was a truck driver and his mother a hairdresser. He has eight siblings. Alexander began drawing at age four and never received any formal art training while growing up. After graduating from Dermott High School in May 1971, Alexander moved to Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), where …

Allen, Al

aka: Alvin Lee Allen Jr.
Alvin Lee (Al) Allen Jr. was a painter whose contributions to Arkansas culture were his artwork, his teaching, his development of the Department of Art at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR), and two autobiographical books. His mature work was of idealized man-made structures, often with windows, bathed in bright light. His style presents realistic subjects in a classical and abstract way. Al Allen was born on November 29, 1925, the only child of Carrie Allen and Alvin Lee Allen in Steele, Missouri. His father was an automobile dealer in nearby Caruthersville; his mother was a seamstress who later worked for Goldsmith’s department store in Memphis, Tennessee. The Missouri Bootheel landscape was an environment of vast space, emptiness, …

Altvater, Catherine Tharp

Catherine Tharp Altvater was a nationally known watercolorist whose works were shown in numerous museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Today, her paintings are found in many private collections and museums in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Japan. Catherine Tharp was born in Little Rock (Pulaski County) on July 26, 1907, to William J. Tharp and Catherine Collins Tharp. Her maternal grandparents were early settlers of Little Rock, and her paternal grandfather, originally from Tennessee, had a private academy in Little Rock with R. C. Hall. Altvater’s interest in art began at an early age and continued throughout her school years, when she spent many hours in art classes. At the age of eighteen, …

Anderson, Bruce Roy

Bruce Roy Anderson was a prominent Arkansas architect and watercolorist in the mid-twentieth century. Bruce Anderson was born on October 7, 1907, in Newport (Jackson County), the son of George Roy Anderson and Amelia Frei Anderson. He had an older brother, Maxwell, and sister, Bernice. Anderson attended Little Rock (Pulaski County) public schools and graduated from Castle Heights Military Academy in Tennessee. He received a bachelor’s degree in architecture from Auburn University in Alabama in 1929. In 1936, Anderson earned a Master of Architecture degree from the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Anderson married Helen Venus McClain on December 25, 1931. They had one son, Bruce R. Anderson Jr. Anderson began his architectural career in …

Anderson, Frederick Tanqueray

Frederick Tanqueray Anderson was an early twentieth-century Arkansas watercolorist. Categorized as a romantic American Landscape artist, Anderson is known for his steamboat and landscape paintings. Anderson’s paintings were inspired by his boyhood memories of traveling down the Mississippi River with his grandfather on steamboats to New Orleans, Louisiana. According to a Memphis Commercial Appeal article dated May 20, 1945, many regarded Anderson as the leading river scenes painter in America. Frederick T. Anderson was born on July 1, 1846, on his grandfather’s Arkansas River plantation near New Gascony (Jefferson County). His parents were Richard Cuthbert Anderson, who was a physician, and Hortense Barraque Anderson. Anderson had one older sister, Julia. His grandfather, Antoine Barraque, was one of Arkansas’s more prominent …

Armstrong III, Ralph Waldo

Ralph Waldo Armstrong III photographed the African-American community of Little Rock (Pulaski County) for more than fifty years. Between 1951 and 2006, a period of dramatic social change, he accumulated an invaluable archive of thousands of photographs of Little Rock’s black citizenry, houses, churches, schools, and professional and civic organizations. Ralph Armstrong was born on February 23, 1925, in North Little Rock (Pulaski County) to Ralph W. Armstrong II and Callie Armstrong; he had one older half-brother and two younger sisters. His father worked in a Little Rock furniture factory, and his mother took in washing to help the family meet expenses during the Great Depression. Later, she, too, worked in the factory. Armstrong developed an early love for classical music …

Audubon, John James

John James Audubon, a frontier naturalist and artist, is famous for illustrating and writing The Birds of America. He visited Arkansas Territory in 1820 and 1822 and documented Arkansas’s birds, including the Traill’s flycatcher, also known as the willow flycatcher, which is the only bird originally discovered in Arkansas. John Audubon was born Jean Rabin on April 26, 1785, in Saint-Domingue (Haiti). He was the illegitimate child of Jean Audubon, a ship’s captain, and Jeanne Rabin, a French chambermaid. His mother died in 1785 or 1786, and Jean Audubon and his children returned to France after a slave revolt. Along with his sister, he was adopted by his father and stepmother in 1794. Audubon stayed with his father and stepmother …

Benton, Thomas Hart

Thomas Hart Benton—painter, muralist, and writer from Missouri—developed, along with artists Grant Wood and John Steuart Curry, a style of painting in the 1920s that became known as regionalism. Benton was influenced early in his career by a sketching trip he took through northwest Arkansas in 1926. He returned to Arkansas to sketch and paint periodically, primarily in the Buffalo River area. Benton also enjoyed floating and fishing on the Buffalo River and opposed efforts to dam it during the 1960s. Tom Benton was born on April 15, 1889, in Neosho, Missouri. He was the oldest of four children born to Maecenus Eason (M. E.) and Elizabeth (Wise) Benton. M. E. was a lawyer and served as a congressman from …

Betts, Louis L.

Louis L. Betts was a painter active in the first half of the twentieth century in the United States, especially noted for his portraits. His handling of paint and the subjects he chose gave his work a grand and conservative quality, recalling Old Master paintings from the Baroque era as well as styles popular in late nineteenth-century European art centers. Louis Betts was born in Little Rock (Pulaski County) on October 5, 1873, the son of Edwin Daniel Betts Sr., a landscape painter and his son’s first teacher. Young Louis’s mother died soon after his birth, and his father married one of her sisters. They did not remain in Little Rock long, however, for Betts’s three younger siblings (who all …

Bittick, Helen Long

Helen Marie Long Bittick was an artist of the “primitive folk style,” meaning that she had no academic art training but developed her own unschooled, unique patterns of portraying her subjects. Helen Long was born on June 24, 1918, to Bette Ann Mangum and William Monroe Long on the Judge Level Farm between Washington (Hempstead County) and Hope (Hempstead County); she had three siblings. Her father ran a restaurant in Hope and farmed in McCaskill (Hempstead County). Long attended Brookwood School in Hope, the three-room schoolhouse in Friendship, and schools in McCaskill and Blevins (all in Hempstead County). She did not graduate from high school. She married Cloid Sykes Bittick on November 12, 1933, in Bingen (Hempstead County). They had …

blurr, buZ

aka: Butler, Russell
Russell Butler (a.k.a. buZ blurr) is a visual and conceptual artist whose dedication to his post-postmodern artistic vision has placed him at the forefront of the contemporary mail-art, stamp-art, and conceptual art movements. Although internationally known, he remains rooted in the traditions of Clark County, where he resides. Russell Butler was born on August 23, 1943, in Lafe (Greene County). His father, Eugene H. Butler, was a track foreman on the Missouri Pacific Railroad, and his mother, Cleda Elmira Mullins Butler, was a restaurant manager in Forrest City (St. Francis County). Butler had one sister. The family moved often to follow his father’s railroad career in track maintenance. After attending seven different schools around Arkansas, Texas, and Louisiana, Butler graduated …

Bond, Barbara Ann Higgins

aka: Barbara Higgins Bond
Barbara Ann Higgins Bond—whose professional name is Higgins Bond—is a nationally recognized illustrator and commercial artist whose most important works have concerned the history and struggles of African Americans. A pioneer freelance artist since the early 1970s, she has designed and illustrated cultural heritage stamps published by the U.S. Postal Service and the United Nations. Her art has been exhibited by the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the DuSable Museum of African American History, and she is a member of the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame. Barbara Ann Higgins was born in Little Rock (Pulaski County) on December 14, 1951, the daughter of Henry Drew Higgins and Edna Washington Higgins. She grew up in Little Rock in a home on …

Brewer, Adrian Louis

Adrian Louis Brewer, a native of Minnesota, is known in Arkansas primarily for his portraits of prominent citizens, but his artistic genius lay in pastoral landscape paintings of the Southwest and rural scenes of Arkansas, his adopted state. Brewer’s work was influenced by the American Impressionists and reflected the restlessness of modern artists. David Durst, a professor of art at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County), credited him with contributing to the “healthy stature” of art and art activities in Arkansas and keeping “the spark of aesthetic sensibility alive during the difficult years of cultural neglect.” Adrian Brewer, born on October 2, 1891, in St. Paul, Minnesota, was one of six sons of artist Nicholas Richard (N. R.) …

Brewer, Edwin Cook

Edwin Cook Brewer was a founding member of the Arkansas-based Mid-Southern Watercolorists in 1970 and helped his father, artist Adrian Brewer, organize the Arkansas Art League in the early 1950s. Edwin Brewer and his twin brother, Adrian, were born on January 9, 1927, in Little Rock (Pulaski County) to Adrian Brewer and Edwina Cook Brewer. The twins had one sister. Brewer received his early art instruction in the studios of his father and his grandfather, Nicholas Richard Brewer, both renowned artists. His grandfather was known as a portrait painter and was represented in multiple exhibitions of the National Academy of Design in New York City beginning in 1885. Brewer attended Little Rock public schools and Wentworth Military Academy in Lexington, …

Brewer, Nicholas Richard

Nicholas Richard Brewer was an American landscape and portrait artist. He was active in Arkansas during the early twentieth century and is best remembered in the state as the father, teacher, mentor, and early financial backer of one of the state’s most notable painters, Adrian Brewer. Nicholas Brewer was born to Peter Brewer and Mary Ann Gordon Russell Rolph Brewer on June 11, 1857, in what is now Olmstead County, Minnesota. Brewer’s father was an immigrant from Cologne, Germany, who joined the California gold rush of 1849. In St. Joseph, Missouri, he met Mary, who had been recently widowed while also en route to the gold fields and was left nearly destitute with two sons. By 1857, the year Nicholas Brewer …

Brown, Benjamin Chambers

Benjamin Chambers Brown was among the first Arkansas artists to attain national and international recognition as a painter, lithographer, and etcher. He is best known for his plein-air impressionist landscapes of California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains and expanses of brilliantly colored poppy fields. His works are in major museums in the United States and Europe, including the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington DC and the British Museum in London, England. Benjamin Brown was born in Marion (Crittenden County) on July 14, 1865, one of five children born to Judge Benjamin Chambers Brown and Mary Booker Brown. He spent much of his boyhood in Little Rock (Pulaski County). Brown’s parents wanted him to become an attorney, but he wanted to be …

Burr, Edward Everett

Best known for designing the Arkansas Centennial half-dollar, Edward Everett Burr was a commercial artist, sculptor, and art professor. Raised in Paragould (Greene County), he spent most of his career in Chicago, Illinois. Everett Burr was born on January 18, 1895, in Warren County, Ohio, to George and Virginia Burr; he had two siblings. Burr’s father practiced law in Ohio but moved to Paragould in 1905. In 1915, two days after Burr’s twentieth birthday, his mother died. His 1917 draft card shows him living in a boarding house in Detroit, Michigan. His trade was motor building, but he was unemployed. In 1923, his father became a Methodist minister, serving a number of communities in northern and western Arkansas. Burr enrolled …

Byrd, Henry

Henry Byrd was one of Arkansas’s most prolific antebellum portrait painters. His portraits present Arkansas’s merchants, planters, and professional gentlemen, along with their wives and children, as they wished posterity to see them. Henry Byrd was born in Ireland in 1805, one of seven children born to William Byrd and Anne Garrett of Belmount Hall, County Tiperary. He immigrated to America and was naturalized through the port of New York City in November 1835. He established himself as a painter and resided at 164 Delancy Street in New York City. During his years in New York, Byrd married Sarah J. Updike, and they had two children while still in New York. Sometime during the late 1830s, the family migrated south, …

Caldwell, John Paul

John Paul “Pete” Caldwell of Parkdale (Ashley County) was a well-known banker and community leader. During the early 1960s, Caldwell’s lifelong interest in art began to flourish, and he became a widely recognized, award-winning wood engraver and woodblock print artist. John Paul Caldwell was born on December 10, 1908, to John Henry Caldwell and Sadie Caldwell. He completed school in Parkdale. In 1927, he attended the Marion Military Institute (MMI) in Marion, Alabama. In 1928, Caldwell transferred to the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County), where he lettered on the university track team and for two years served on the Razorback yearbook staff. He was a member of Pi Kappa Alpha and Phi Nu Beta. In 1931, grappling …

Christ of the Ozarks

Christ of the Ozarks is a statue located in Eureka Springs (Carroll County) on top of Magnetic Mountain. The white mortar figure of Jesus Christ is seven stories tall and weighs almost two million pounds (about 540 tons). The statue is one of five giant statues of Christ in the world and one of only two in North America. It was sculpted by Emmet A. Sullivan and funded by the Elna M. Smith Foundation. The Elna M. Smith Foundation was founded in 1965 as a non-profit organization named for, and headed by, the wife of Gerald L. K. Smith, who gained prominence as an anti-Semitic minister and political agitator in the 1930s. At a reported cost of $5,000, the foundation …

Christensen, Les

aka: Leslie Ann Christensen
Leslie Ann (Les) Christensen is director of the Bradbury Art Museum at Arkansas State University (ASU) in Jonesboro (Craighead County), but she is best known as a sculptor who works in mixed media using everyday objects to offer a vision of universal experience and common responsibility. Her artwork has been exhibited in solo and group shows throughout the United States and in Europe. Les Christensen was born on July 3, 1960, in Omaha, Nebraska, as the second of four children (and the only daughter) of Dean and Carol Christensen. She attended the University of Iowa, where she received a BFA in sculpture in 1982. She spent a year of graduate school at the Rijksuniversiteit te Utrecht in the Netherlands and …

Cloar, Carroll James

Carroll James Cloar was a painter who earned national acclaim as a realist and surrealist. The majority of his works had conceptual ideas based on his memories from his childhood in east Arkansas. His paintings are characterized by flattened figures in landscapes formed of decorative patterning. One of his paintings was chosen to be among six paintings by American artists commemorating President Bill Clinton’s inauguration in 1993. Carroll Cloar was born on January 18, 1913, on a farm approximately ten miles north of Earle (Crittenden County). The son of Charles Wesley Cloar and Julia Eva Cloar, he had three brothers and one sister. He spent his childhood on his parents’ cotton farm. At the age of seventeen, Cloar moved to …

Cole, Kevin Earlee

Kevin Earlee Cole, a Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) native, is one of the most renowned mid-career artists in Atlanta, Georgia; his works are widely collected, with Bill Cosby and Michael Jordan being notable collectors. Cole’s combinations of pastels mixed with primary, vibrant acrylics applied to twisting and curling canvases are a divergence in contemporary visual arts. His well-known “necktie” pieces are thematically linked to the history of African Americans in Pine Bluff, Tarry (Lincoln County), and Star City (Lincoln County)—areas that saw much racial violence during the early and middle 1900s. In 2018, he was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame. Kevin Cole was born on January 19, 1960, to Jessie Mae (McGlounce), a cafeteria manager for Pine …

Curtis, Dorris Lafferty

Dorris Lafferty Curtis was a nationally recognized folk art painter, author, and songwriter. Compared to folk art painter Grandma Moses (who started painting at age seventy-five) by herself and others, Curtis began painting at age sixty-five just before she retired from teaching. She produced hundreds of paintings, many of which are on display at the Torreyson Library at the University of Central Arkansas (UCA) in Conway (Faulkner County). Dorris Lafferty was born on March 4, 1908, in Rogers County, Oklahoma, near Foyil, to Roy Lafferty, a farmer, and Nan Lafferty. She was the third of four children. She grew up on the family farm, and much of her folk art is based on memories of her early years. Her mother …

DaBoll, Raymond Franklin

Raymond Franklin DaBoll, one of the most talented calligraphers in America, moved to Newark (Independence County) in 1952, where he continued producing masterpieces of calligraphy. Raymond DaBoll was born on June 19, 1892, in Clyde, New York. Several generations of his family published the well-known Daboll Almanacks from 1773 until 1969, when it merged with the Old Farmer’s Almanac. When DaBoll was a youngster, because of constant mispronunciation of the family name by others, his father and uncles changed the spelling of the name from “Daboll” to “DaBoll.” While in his third year of high school, DaBoll won first place in an art contest sponsored by the Rochester Training School for Teachers. Encouraged by this accomplishment, he dropped out of …

Daniel, Lucy Jane

In the late 1800s, it was so unusual for women to be stone carvers that The Monumental News, a trade journal, was able to locate only three to write about—one of whom was Lucy J. Daniel, formerly of Arkansas. The others were from Kansas and Canada, and all had learned the trade from their fathers. The journal article noted that Daniel had been fully in charge of the family’s marble shop since 1885, doing all the lettering, and some cutting and polishing, of the tombstones. Her only known sculpture is the Goddess of Liberty statue at Pea Ridge National Military Park. Lucy Jane Daniel was born in May 1865 in Carter County, Kentucky. Her mother was Rebecca Jane (Remy) Daniel, …

Daniel, Thase Christine Ferguson

Thase Christine Ferguson Daniel of El Dorado (Union County) was an internationally known nature and wildlife photographer. During a career that spanned the 1950s to the 1980s, her work appeared in major publications and magazines, including Field and Stream, Ranger Rick, and Reader’s Digest. Thase Ferguson was born on December 5, 1907, the daughter of C. Curran Ferguson and Daisy Moore Ferguson of Pine Bluff (Jefferson County). She graduated from Ouachita Baptist College, now Ouachita Baptist University (OBU), with a BA in music in 1929. While at Ouachita, Ferguson met fellow student John T. Daniel of Arkadelphia (Clark County). They were married on June 29, 1930. The Daniels lived in El Dorado, where John owned and operated an automobile dealership. …

Davis, William Emmet

Photographer William Emmett Davis distinguished himself as a commercial photographer for forty years and, beginning in 1983, worked as a fine art photographer. Davis had aesthetic connections with photographers on the West Coast and worked almost exclusively in Arkansas. William E. Davis was born in Little Rock (Pulaski County) on October 14, 1918, to E. N. Davis and Mayson Wise Davis; he had no siblings. His father was a physician. Davis attended local schools and then the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County). There, he took two years of pre-med courses. The course of study was interrupted when Davis enlisted in the U.S. Navy during World War II. From 1941 to 1945, he was a fighter pilot aboard …

Disfarmer, Mike

aka: Mike Meyer
A portrait photographer in Heber Springs (Cleburne County), Mike Disfarmer’s invaluable contribution to photography and the documentation of rural America went unnoticed until 1973, fourteen years after his death. This eccentric man’s work, which later garnered national attention, captures with stark realism the people in and around Heber Springs in the early to mid-1900s. The particularities of Disfarmer’s biography are sketchy, largely because of his reclusive lifestyle and meager status during his lifetime. Various sources date his birth to German immigrants as either 1882 or 1884; however, a World War II draft registration card for one “Mike Disfarmer” of Heber Springs lists an August 16, 1882, birth in Daviess, Indiana. Disfarmer’s family later moved to the German community of Stuttgart (Arkansas …

Dombek, George David

The visual artist George Dombek is a nationally recognized master of watercolor. His work has been acquired by major museums and corporate collections, including two paintings and a sculpture in the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville (Benton County). George Dombek was born on June 18, 1944, in Paris (Logan County), an economically depressed mining town of about 3,000 at the time. He always had an extremely strained relationship with his father, Stanley Dombek, a coal miner who lost his job when Dombek was in high school and eventually died of black-lung disease. Any encouragement he received came from his mother, Lillian Shirley Dombek, who supported the family of six after her husband became unable to work by …

Donaldson, Jeffrey Richardson (Jeff)

Jeffrey Richardson Donaldson was an important and influential African-American artist and art educator during the second half of the twentieth century. Working within the context of the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s and beyond, Donaldson pioneered a distinctively Afrocentric—or, using the term he coined, “TransAfrican”—aesthetic that championed the societal contributions of African Americans and, as an artistic counterpart to the Black Power Movement, challenged white hegemony. Jeff Donaldson was born in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) on December 15, 1932, the youngest of four siblings. His parents were Sidney Frank Donaldson Sr. and Clementine Frances Richardson Donaldson. Donaldson’s father, a laborer and World War I veteran, died early in Donaldson’s youth. His widowed mother supported the family by working first as a …

Freund, Elsie Mari Bates

Elsie Mari Bates Freund was a studio art jeweler, watercolorist, and textile artist. In 1941, she and her husband, Louis Freund, established an art school in Eureka Springs (Carroll County) and were major players in preserving and making that town a haven for writers and artists. Elsie Bates was born on January 12, 1912, on a 1,500-acre game preserve in Taney County, Missouri, near the small community of Mincy. She had two sisters. Her father, Ralph C. Bates, who was the superintendent of the game preserve, was of Irish and Cherokee descent. Bates was proud of her Cherokee heritage and claimed that Indian lore kept her close to nature. Bates proclaimed she wanted to be an artist at age five. …

Freund, Harry Louis

Harry Louis Freund was a muralist who became famous for his depictions of life in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas during the 1930s. His artwork is identified with the American scene painters and muralists, such as John Stuart Curry, Grant Wood, and Thomas Hart Benton. He was instrumental in establishing art departments at two Arkansas institutions, Hendrix College and Little Rock Junior College (now University of Arkansas at Little Rock), as well as Stetson University in De Land, Florida. He and his wife, Elsie Bates Freund, founded the Summer Art School in Eureka Springs (Carroll County) and helped shape that resort town as a year-round community for artists and writers. Louis Freund was born on September 16, 1905, in Clinton, …

Gant, Glenn Rowlett

Glenn Gant was an important figure in the art history of Eureka Springs (Carroll County). He is best remembered for his paintings and pen-and-ink drawings that captured the unique essence of the architecture and culture of Eureka Springs during the last half of the twentieth century. Glenn Rowlett Gant was born in Kansas City, Missouri, on September 25, 1911, the son of Joseph Rowlett Gant and Phillippa Gant. His parents divorced shortly after his birth. Phillippa, a musician, relocated alone to Chicago, Illinois, while Joseph, a bank president, remained in Kansas City and married Mildred Stites. They had two more children: Elizabeth Lee and John (Jack) E. Gant. After his father’s death in 1925, Glenn lived with his aunt, Emma …

Graham, Josephine Hutson

Josephine Hutson Graham was a prolific artist, educator, author, and folklorist of Arkansas’s White River culture and cuisine. She won many local, regional, and national art awards and held more than twenty one-woman shows throughout the South and Southwest, as well as shows in New York, Washington DC, and Dallas, Texas. Josephine Hutson was born in Newport (Jackson County) on April 12, 1915, to Thomas Hutson (a cotton broker) and Mary Bailey Hutson; she had one younger brother. After high school graduation in Newport, Graham attended the University of Texas for three years before transferring to the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County). She earned a bachelor’s degree in English. She married Thomas Nathan Graham, a farmer and …

Hancock, James Carl

James Carl Hancock was a twentieth-century American etcher, designer, painter, and commercial artist active in Arkansas and Louisiana. His art depicted many landscapes and historic buildings in and around Little Rock (Pulaski County). The Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington DC holds Hancock’s engraving St. Andrew’s Cathedral, Little Rock, Arkansas, a mezzotint on paper produced around 1935. Carl Hancock was born on May 10, 1898, in Springville, Tennessee, the oldest of ten children of Ernest Maralle (Ernie) and Myrtle Blanche Nash Hancock. The family moved to Arkansas in 1901, first settling in Stuttgart (Arkansas County) and later moving to Brinkley (Monroe County), where Hancock completed school through the seventh grade. He moved to the Little Rock area in 1917 and …

Harding, Thomas, III

Thomas Harding III was a successful commercial photographer and an internationally recognized, fine art pinhole photographer. Thomas Harding was born on July 7, 1911, in Little Rock (Pulaski County) to Thomas Harding and Mary Rice. Both his father and grandfather were architects. Harding graduated from Little Rock Senior High School (now Central High School) in 1929 and then attended Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. After two years, he found that college studies in architecture did not interest him. He dutifully returned to Little Rock to work at his father’s architectural firm, Thomas Harding Architect, until his photography talents surfaced. Harding joined the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1942 and was stationed in Italy’s Allied Headquarters during World War II. Although …

Hatfield, Lester Gene

Lester Gene Hatfield was an artist and teacher closely associated with the University of Central Arkansas (UCA) and Conway (Faulkner County). He made paintings in watercolor, oil, acrylic, and sculpture. His best-known work was the transformation of the yard of his Conway home into an art environment, the result of more than forty years of working with junk and recycled objects. His sculpture combined aesthetic values from art movements such as surrealism with qualities of folk art, while his paintings and watercolors were done in the tradition of late-nineteenth-century artists such as Paul Cézanne. His long tenure as an art teacher at UCA was an important contribution to Arkansas’s art culture. Gene Hatfield was born on November 23, 1925, in …

Hathaway, Isaac Scott

Isaac Hathaway was an educator and artist most known for creating more than 100 busts and masks of prominent African Americans. Hathaway taught at what is now the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) for more than twenty years as the first chair of the department of ceramics in the college’s art department. Isaac Scott Hathaway was born in Lexington, Kentucky, on April 4, 1872, to Elijah and Rachel Hathaway. He and his two sisters were raised by their father and grandparents, as their mother died in 1874. Hathaway attended Chandler Junior College and the New England Conservatory of Music’s art department, pursuing his childhood dream of sculpting busts of “famous Negroes.” Hathaway spent two years at the Conservatory …

Heerwagen, Paul Martin

Paul Martin Heerwagen was an interior decorator who worked out of his Arkansas studios from 1891 to 1931. His work includes hotels, office and government buildings, churches, Masonic temples, and theaters throughout the South and Southwest. Some of his noteworthy projects include the Donaghey and Lafayette buildings and the Arkansas State Capitol in Little Rock (Pulaski County); the Peabody Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee; and the Strand Theatre in Shreveport, Louisiana. Fred Goza, an art critic for the Shreveport Times, was amazed at Heerwagen’s work when he toured the restored Strand in 1984; he wrote, “I was amazed that an American firm was responsible [for the interior decoration] because so much of the plaster work is so ornate that you feel …

Henry, Natalie Smith

An artist of national significance, Natalie Smith Henry made her reputation as an easel painter and muralist during the Depression era. At the height of her career in 1939, the U.S. Treasury Department commissioned her to paint a mural for the Springdale (Washington County) post office. In later years, Henry combined her interest in art with her business acumen, managing the Art Institute of Chicago School Store for twenty-three years. Natalie Henry was born on January 4, 1907, in Malvern (Hot Spring County). She was the eldest of five children born to Samuel Ewell Henry, circuit clerk and Hot Spring County judge, and homemaker Natalie Smith. After his wife died, Samuel Henry married Minerva Ann Harrison. They had two children. …

Hinton, Thomas Melvin

Thomas Melvin Hinton was a classically trained artist who produced many realistic and impressionistic oil paintings, watercolors, and drawings. His paintings won many awards in Arkansas and nationally and are on permanent exhibit at museums and other public and private venues. Thomas Hinton was born on October 4, 1906, to a prominent Texarkana (Miller County) couple, Thomas Jonathan Hinton, who was a plantation owner and businessman, and Mina Kinser Hinton. He had two sisters. As a toddler, he was stricken with polio and became crippled in one leg, though his father made sure that his son learned to ride horses and manage the plantation. Commuting from the city to the farm on Red River became increasingly difficult, so Hinton’s mother’s …

Holt, Maud Spiller

Maud Spiller Holt was an avid traveler and painter who painted in every American state and throughout much of Europe. The Works Progress Administration (WPA) guide to 1930s Arkansas cited Holt as one of the state’s most accomplished women artists. Today, her paintings are on display at the Arkansas State Capitol, Historic Arkansas Museum, and in various other public and private collections. Maud Spiller was born in Carbondale, Illinois, on November 1, 1866, the daughter of James W. Spiller and Sarah Patrick Spiller. On December 22, 1886, Spiller married Winfield Scott Holt at Albion, Illinois, and moved to Little Rock (Pulaski County). Winfield Holt became one of the most progressive businessmen of Little Rock and served many years as postmaster under …

Hoo-Hoo Monument

The Hoo-Hoo Monument, built in 1909 and located in the southeastern corner of the Missouri Pacific Railroad Depot parking lot at North 1st and Main streets in Gurdon (Clark County), is a granite and bronze monument with Egyptian Revival detail, designed by artist George J. Zolnay. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 2, 1999. The International Concatenated Order of Hoo-Hoo, a fraternal group of lumbermen, was founded in 1892 in Gurdon in the Hotel Hall by Bolling Arthur Johnson and five other men. According to tradition, Johnson—a lumber trade journalist—had for some time seen a need to link together, or “concatenate,” the workers of the timber industry. In 1891, there were many local and …

Horn, Robyn Hutcheson

Robyn Hutcheson Horn is a full-time, self-employed sculptor and native-born Arkansan whose work has drawn regional and national recognition and is shown in galleries throughout the United States. Her art is regularly illustrated in craft and woodworking magazines. Horn is the founder and first president of the Collectors of Wood Art, an organization set up in 1997 for the purpose of fostering interest in wood art. She has befriended and supported many craft artists whose work she has acquired while also amassing an impressive collection of wood art, furniture, metal, glass, and ceramics. Robyn Hutcheson was born in Fort Smith (Sebastian County) in 1951 to Bill and Dede Hutcheson; she has a brother, Richard, and a sister, Karen. Her early …

Howard, John Miller

John Miller Howard was an African-American artist and arts educator who founded the Art Department and taught at Arkansas AM&N—now the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB)—from 1939 until his death in 1980. At AM&N, he worked to provide a top-quality arts education to his students, many of whom came from rural backgrounds and lacked exposure to art. Howard was recognized as a gifted painter and teacher. His life and work form an important chapter in the history of art in Arkansas. John Miller Howard was born in Alcorn, Mississippi, on September 22, 1908, to Lillie Howard, a young single mother who nurtured his early talent for drawing. He grew up in Brookhaven, Mississippi, attending segregated schools. He graduated …

Hursley, Timothy Joseph

Timothy Joseph Hursley is an architectural photographer whose works have been featured in architectural journals and museums around the world. Tim Hursley was born on July 19, 1955, in Detroit, Michigan, the fifth of nine children, to Frank and Lois Hursley. His father was a tool engineer, and his mother sold women’s shoes. At age sixteen, he began doing yard work for a neighbor, Balthazar Korab, a pioneer in modern architectural photography. Within three months, while still attending Brother Rice High School in Bloomfield, Michigan, Hursley had become Korab’s part-time photographic assistant and apprentice. From 1971 to 1980, Hursley’s apprenticeship taught him the craft of large-format photography and black-and-white photographic printing. As Hursley advanced in photo assignments, Korab’s approach to …

Kendrick, Eddie Lee

Eddie Lee Kendrick was a self-taught artist who was inspired by the Arkansas landscape, his dreams, gospel music, and his Christian faith. Though Kendrick had drawn and painted all his life, his art was not well known until 1993, when three works were included in Passionate Visions of the American South: Self-Taught Artists from 1940 to the Present, an exhibition organized by the New Orleans Museum of Art and curated by Alice Rae Yelen. Eddie Kendrick was born on September 20, 1928, on a farm near Stephens (Ouachita County), and he lived in Arkansas most of his life. He was the first of fifteen children born to farmers John Henry and Rutha Mae Kendrick. Kendrick helped in the annual slaughter …

Kennedy, Jon

Jon Kennedy served as a political cartoonist for the Arkansas Democrat from 1941 to 1943 and again from 1946 to 1988, totaling nearly fifty years, one of the longest employments with a single newspaper in the nation. Kennedy was Arkansas’s first full-time professional newspaper artist, and his cartoons highlighted Arkansas and world topics, won numerous awards, and were featured in national newspapers including the New York Times. Jon Kennedy was born on August 19, 1918, in Springfield, Missouri, to Brownlow Kennedy, who was a telegraph operator for the railroad, and Ida Kennedy, who was a homemaker. At age seventeen, and while still in high school, he began working as an artist for the Springfield Leader Press, where he was employed …

Kilgore, Andrew

Andrew Wilson Kilgore is a Fayetteville (Washington County) photographer best known for his arresting black-and-white portraits, primarily of fellow Arkansans set against a plain backdrop. By his own estimation, Kilgore photographed more than 30,000 people in Arkansas between early 1971 and late 2011. Andrew Kilgore was born on November 2, 1940, in Charlottesville, Virginia. He was the second of three children born to Bill and Carolyn Kilgore, both natives of Washington DC. Kilgore’s family moved several times when he was a child, first relocating to the Chicago, Illinois, suburb of Aurora shortly after World War II and then to El Paso, Texas, in 1956. Kilgore cites his time as a teenager along the Texas border as the period of his …