Visual Arts

Entry Category: Visual Arts

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 …

Large Standing Figure: Knife Edge

aka: Standing Knife [Sculpture]
The sculpture Large Standing Figure: Knife Edge by the world-renowned British sculptor Henry Moore (1898–1986) stands in the courtyard of Union National Plaza on Capitol Avenue in the heart of downtown Little Rock (Pulaski County). This work was cast in bronze in 1976 and was purchased by Little Rock’s Metrocentre Commission, which placed it, in 1978, at Main Street and Capitol Avenue as the centerpiece of the Metrocentre downtown pedestrian mall project. It is considered among the state’s most noteworthy public sculptures based on its composition, which gives the sense of upward movement if not the suggestion of flight. In February 2018, it was announced that the sculpture would be moved into the Arkansas Arts Center upon the completion of …

Lewis, Paul Tyrone

Paul Tyrone Lewis was an American artist who is remembered for the realism of his landscape paintings. In a career that spanned six decades beginning in the 1950s, Lewis created compositions that were skillfully executed and sought after throughout the United States and internationally. Tyrone Lewis, as he was known, was born on November 29, 1938, in Mena (Polk County) to Paul Goodwin Lewis and Wynogene Hubbard Lewis. He had one sister. Lewis’s parents met during the Great Depression while Paul was employed on a Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) project near Mena. Wynogene’s family had migrated to that area from Fort Worth, Texas, where her father, Hans Heron Hubbard, was a well-known and respected artist in the 1920s. Painting was …

Lindquist, Evan Leroy

Evan Leroy Lindquist of Jonesboro (Craighead County) is an American artist who is renowned as an artist-printmaker and art educator. His works are in permanent collections of many major galleries across the United States and around the world. Evan Lindquist was born on May 23, 1936, in Salina, Kansas, to Elmer L. Lindquist and Linnette Shogren Lindquist. His father was a corporate officer for a chain of retail lumber firms, and his mother was a homemaker. In 1945, Lindquist’s family moved to Emporia, Kansas, where Lindquist built a calligraphy business while in junior high school, encouraged by his father, an expert in ornamental penmanship. The business included creating certificates and charters for national organizations. His calligraphy experience led to a …

Linton, Henri

Henri Linton has been recognized as one of the most talented artists working in the state of Arkansas. He has also served as chair of the art department at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB). Henri Linton was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, in 1944. After discovering his artistic talents early, he soon began painting and visiting museums. To buy art supplies, he took on odd jobs such as painting signs and shining shoes. After entering a national art contest as a teenager, he won a four-year scholarship to the Columbus College of Art and Design in Ohio. Linton earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Boston University and a master’s degree in art from the University of Cincinnati …

Lockhart, James Leland

James Leland Lockhart was one of America’s foremost nature and wildlife artists and a notable illustrator during the second half of the twentieth century. His paintings are in many museums, including the Smithsonian Institution, and his commercial works were printed in leading national publications for clients such as Wrigley, Coca-Cola, and General Electric. James Lockhart was born on September 26, 1912, in Sedalia, Missouri, to Leland Lockhart and Nell Cockrill Lockhart. The family returned to its home in McGehee (Desha County), where Leland Lockhart worked as a Missouri Pacific Railroad engineer. James Lockhart’s parents divorced in 1920, and his mother moved to Little Rock (Pulaski County), while James remained in McGehee with his father. An only child in the backcountry …

Mapes, Doris Genevieve Williamson

Doris Genevieve Williamson Mapes became one of Arkansas’s leading mid-twentieth-century artists. Adept in a variety of paint media, she was best known as a watercolorist who used bold, bright colors with strong patterns and abstract designs. Mapes’s style was described as imaginative realism. Memphis’s Commercial Appeal art critic Guy Northrop wrote that Mapes had a loose and airy flair. “There is a freshness to her world,” Northrop said, “and an expression of joy.” Doris Williamson was born on June 25, 1920, in Russellville (Pope County), the only child of Floyd Henry Williamson, who was a farmer, and Ruby Harvill Williamson. Her interest in art began at an early age with her father’s regular purchase of the Denver Post at the local …

Maxwell, Paul E.

Paul E. Maxwell was a modern artist and sculptor who developed a technique for using stencils to create thickly textured and layered surfaces, as well as objects he patented as “stencil casting” but that later became known as “Maxwell Pochoir.” He was also known for creating the “Max Wall” in the West Atrium of the Dallas Apparel Mart; though demolished in 2006, it can be seen as a backdrop in the science-fiction movie Logan’s Run. His work is highly abstract and often consists of some kind of grid—a form that is non-hierarchical and illustrates a major theme of his work. Paul Maxwell was born in Frost Prairie (Ashley County) on September 17, 1925, to the farm family of Willie F. …

McDonald, Thomas Newton (Tom)

Photographer Thomas Newton McDonald, a resident of Jonesboro (Craighead County), accumulated many honors in his lifetime, including the United Nations award for service to humanity, Gerard Bakker Award for teaching, and National Award for Service from both the Arkansas Professional Photographers and Southwestern Professional Photographers. His primary work focused on portrait photography, but he also took scenic and artistic photographs. In 1996, McDonald wrote The Business of Portrait Photography: A Professional’s Guide to Marketing and Managing a Successful Studio, with Profiles of 30 Top Portrait Photographers. The book, published by Amphoto Books of New York, was later published in a second edition and translated into Mandarin for publication in China. Born in Lake City (Craighead County) on July 2, 1933, …

McMath, Betty Dortch Russell

aka: Betty Dortch Russell
aka: Betty Russell
Betty Dortch Russell McMath became Arkansas’s most prominent portrait artist during the second half of the twentieth century. Her commissions included governors, judges, literary figures, and numerous business, civic, and social leaders. Beyond portraiture, her paintings seized the everyday moments of small-town life in Arkansas and chronicled its plantation culture. She produced portraits of five Arkansas governors, including Sid McMath, who was her second husband. Betty Ruth Dortch was born on July 14, 1920, in Little Rock (Pulaski County), the daughter of Steele Dortch and Mabel Wittenberg Dortch. She had one sister, Judith. The family lived on 1,200 acres near Scott (Pulaski and Lonoke counties) in a home her father built. The house was situated on Bearskin Lake about one …

Mickel, Lillian Estes Eichenberger

Lillian Estes Eichenberger Mickel pioneered women’s roles in multiple fields. She served as a professional photographer, founded a nursing home, established a unique facility for handicapped children, was an accomplished portrait painter, and served as Johnson County’s historian. Lillian Eichenberger was born in Clarksville (Johnson County) on June 14, 1909, to Lafayette Eichenberger and Martha Louisa Black Eichenberger. She had seven siblings. Her father, a house painter, died in 1912. Her mother was an extremely talented seamstress. At the age of twelve, Eichenberger went to work in M. E. Anderson’s photography studio in order to give financial help to her widowed mother. She learned the photography business, becoming the first woman photographer in the state to make and distribute colored …

Miller, Harry Lewis

Harry Lewis Miller was a photographer active in Arkansas at the turn of the twentieth century. His White River landscapes and scenes of daily life throughout the north-central region of the state form an important aesthetic and social history legacy. While some of Miller’s images were familiar, they were generally unattributed until staff at the Museum of Discovery in Little Rock (Pulaski County) and Old Independence Regional Museum in Batesville (Independence County) researched his work and mounted exhibits in 1998 and 2003, respectively. The oldest of nine children, Harry Miller was born on April 1, 1870, in Dodge County, Minnesota, to Anton and Mary (Lewis) Miller, who were farmers. By 1880, they had moved their growing family to North Dakota, …

Miller, Nick

The artistry of stone carver Nick Miller is found in cemeteries throughout northwest Arkansas. The tombstones he made—crisp and legible well over a century later—employ the mourning symbols of his time: clasping hands, weeping willows, lambs, doves. Yet Miller’s bas-relief motifs and deeply incised lettering exhibit a level of skill and detail not generally found among contemporary carvers. All that is known about Nick Miller’s origins is that he was born in Germany. He never married, had no relatives in America, and is listed on the 1880 census as an “old batch” at age thirty-six. In addition to his distinctive carvings, Miller’s tablet-style tombstones are recognizable by his “Nick Miller,” “N. Miller,” or “N. M.” signature at the base. He …

Monument to Confederate Women

With the rise of memorial groups in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, commemorating the sacrifice of those who fought in the Civil War became a major theme of popular remembrance. Recognizing women’s sacrifices during the war was a large part of this. On May 1, 1913, Little Rock (Pulaski County) became home to the South’s second monument to the women of the Confederacy (the first being erected in South Carolina the previous year). The monument is cast in bronze upon a marble, concrete, and granite base. It depicts a woman seated, a young boy to her right holding a military-style drum, and a young girl to her left, all bidding farewell to a standing husband and father departing …

Old Mill

Famous for its appearance in the opening credits of the 1939 classic movie Gone with the Wind, the Old Mill in the five-acre T. R. Pugh Memorial Park in North Little Rock (Pulaski County) contains the work of noted Mexican sculptor Dionicio Rodriguez, who perfected the folk art style known as faux bois (fake wood) by crafting reinforced concrete to resemble petrified logs. Justin Matthews, the developer of the town’s Park Hill and Lakewood subdivisions, hired Rodriguez in 1932 to create a tourist attraction for his new suburban development. Formally named Pugh’s Mill in honor of Matthews’s lifelong friend Thomas R. Pugh, the mill features a two-story stone building, bridges, benches, and other examples of Rodriguez’s art, all designed to …

Oliver, M. E.

aka: Marvin Elmer Oliver
Marvin Elmer Oliver was an artist, farmer, and civil service employee in the Arkansas Ozarks. In 1955, he produced a book, Strange Scenes in the Ozarks, which attracted notice because of its unique artistic qualities. Text and illustrations were printed using the silk-screen (or serigraph) process, assembled by hand, and enclosed in a handmade cover. Oliver published 400 copies. The text describes the backwoods life Oliver remembered, which was almost completely gone by the time he produced his book. His distinctive illustrations make Strange Scenes in the Ozarks an item of interest to collectors of Arkansiana and of regional art. Oliver later published Old Mills of the Ozarks (1969) with black-and-white sketches, descriptions, and locations of twenty water-powered mills. M. …

Phillips, Helen Ann Evans

Ceramist, sculptor, and teacher Helen Ann Evans Phillips played a major role in the development of contemporary crafts in Arkansas. Helen Evans was born on April 18, 1938, in Cincinnati, Ohio, to Harold S. Evans, a livestock dealer, and Lorna B. Evans, a homemaker. She grew up in Union City, Tennessee, and as a child spent much of her time around farm animals, drawing and making objects, as well as taking private art lessons. These early experiences influenced her sculpture later in life. She began teaching art in the Memphis City school system in 1959 before receiving her BS in painting and art education at Memphis State University in 1961. She married Joe Phillips, a medical student, science teacher, and …

Photography

Photography reached the Arkansas frontier in 1842, three years after the invention was announced to the world in Paris, France. For the first fifty years or so, photography as a science and an art was in flux; photographic processes changed, photographers moved to and from Arkansas, and many early practitioners remain unknown. Photographs were made on metal, glass, leather, and wood. Eventually, the collodion wet-plate process, in combination with albumen-coated photographic papers, became the process of choice, and photographers began to expand their interest beyond the portrait to other subject matter. Early photographers were versatile and adaptable, and their photographs played a strong role in preserving the cultural and historical heritage of Arkansas. Photography is defined as the act of …

Pilgrim, Cicero Osco

Cicero Osco Pilgrim was a self-taught African-American sculptor whose works express a highly personal and often humorous vision, showing little influence from African or European traditions. They have been collected by the Faulkner County Museum, numerous Conway families, and Hendrix College, where eleven items are on permanent display in the library. Cicero Pilgrim was born on December 4, 1927, into a black community near Wooster (Faulkner County). His mother was Beulah Wilson Walker Pilgrim; his father’s surname was Pilgrim, but his Christian name is unknown. Pilgrim’s education ceased after the third grade. On June 21, 1953, he married Lee Ethel McCray; they had eight children. On a small farm near his birthplace, he and his family raised farm animals, gardened, …

Post Office Art

Arkansas has nineteen Depression-era works of art created for U.S. post office buildings. Two are sculpture bas-reliefs, and seventeen are paintings. In addition, another painting was destroyed in a post office fire, and one was never installed and was lost during World War II. The art was part of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal and was created to reflect life in the United States at the time and to honor hard work. During a time of national economic crisis and with the specter of World War II on the horizon, images of strong workers, productive farmers, and determined pioneers were intended by Roosevelt to reassure and motivate Americans. The goal was to remind Americans of their history at a time …

Powell, Nathan Lee (Nate)

Nathan Lee (Nate) Powell, winner of a National Book Award and an Eisner Award, is a New York Times bestselling graphic novelist. He is best known for his graphic novels Swallow Me Whole and Any Empire, which he wrote and illustrated, as well as the March series of graphic novels, co-written by Congressman John Lewis, for which he provided the art. Nate Powell was born in Little Rock (Pulaski County) on July 31, 1978. He grew up as an ardent comics fan in North Little Rock (Pulaski County), reading such titles as The ’Nam, Transformers, X-Men, Daredevil, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Appleseed, and G.I. Joe. In the 1990s, Powell became involved in the DIY (do-it-yourself) punk subculture, self-publishing a zine …

Preller, Hugo and Gayne

Hugo Arthur Preller (1865–1950) and Gayne Avey Preller (1874–1958) owned a floating portrait studio and traveled along the Mississippi River and White River from 1898 to 1950. They took photographs of Arkansans while living in different towns along the rivers. Hugo Preller was also a gunsmith, watchmaker, writer, and painter. Gayne Preller took most of the photos inside the studio, while her husband took the outdoor photos.  Hugo Arthur Preller was born in 1865 in Weimer, Germany. Gayne Laura Avey was born in 1874 in Kentucky. Hugo was sent to the United States in the late 1800s by his parents to escape the potential war environment. He arrived in America when he was seventeen years old and spoke only German. …

Ragon, Imogene McConnell

Imogene McConnell Ragon was a well-known twentieth-century Arkansas educator and plein air (outdoor) artist. Her paintings have been exhibited throughout Arkansas and nationally. Today, she is best remembered for her watercolors of native wildflowers and landscapes, and her architectural renderings of historic buildings all around Arkansas and the Ozark Mountains. The dogwood and the magnolia are among her most popular subjects. Imogene McConnell was born on May 21, 1887, in Clarksville (Johnson County) into the pioneer family of Edward Taylor McConnell and Alice Adele Porter McConnell. She was the third of four children. In 1894, when she was six years old, her father was appointed superintendent of the Arkansas prison by Governor William Meade Fishback. The family moved to Little …