Visual Arts

Entry Category: Visual Arts

Rice, Jenny Eakin Delony

aka: Jenny Delony
aka: Jenny Meyrowitz
Jenny Eakin Delony Rice was the first woman artist from Arkansas to rise to national and international prominence as a painter and the founder of collegiate art education in Arkansas. Though Delony specialized in portraiture, her subject matter included miniatures, landscape, wildlife, still life, and genre (scenes of everyday life). Jenny Delony was born in Washington (Hempstead County) on May 13, 1866, to Alchyny Turner Delony, a capitalist, lawyer, and educator, and Elizabeth Lawson Pearson Delony, a teacher. She had four siblings. The Delony family lived in Washington until 1885, when they moved to Nashville (Howard County). In 1890, the Delonys moved to Little Rock (Pulaski County). After finishing elementary schooling in Washington, Delony attended Wesleyan Female Institute (Stuart Hall) …

Rivers, Diana

Diana Rivers is an author, artist, and promoter of women’s communities and art venues. Rivers has published numerous short stories and eight novels in the genre of speculative fiction, seven of which compose the Hadra series. Rivers lives in Madison County. Diana Rivers was born Diana Duer Smith on October 17, 1931, in New York City and grew up in suburban New Jersey near Morristown. Her parents, Schuyler Smith and Elizabeth Larocque, separated before she was three years old. Her mother wrote poems and stories, publishing a book of verse, Satan’s Shadow, in 1930. Rivers’s great aunt Caroline King Duer was a poet and an editor for Vogue magazine, and her other great aunt, Alice Duer Miller, wrote poems, stories, …

Robertson, Thomas Arthur

Thomas Arthur Robertson is a painter known for portraits, abstract paintings, and screen prints whose works are included in numerous public and private collections. Three of his pieces—the watercolor Anthurium and the serigraphs The Orange Point and Flight—are in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington DC. Thomas Arthur Robertson was born in Little Rock (Pulaski County) on July 19, 1911. Robertson’s father, Thomas N. Robertson, was an attorney and secretary of the Arkansas Law School. Following graduation from Little Rock High School, young Robertson enrolled in the law school and began studying contract and real estate law. Soon, however, with his father’s blessing, Robertson decided against legal study in favor of a career in art. …

Rodriguez, Dionicio

Dionicio Rodriguez, recognized as one of America’s foremost faux bois sculptors, created works that resembled wood, though made of concrete, with its peeling bark, wormholes, and signs of decay. Arkansas was a major beneficiary of his work, which was an outgrowth of a Mexican folk tradition known as el trabajo rustico (rustic work). Under the designation “The Arkansas Sculptures of Dionicio Rodriguez,” his Arkansas work was collectively listed on the National Register of Historic Places on December 4, 1986. Dionicio Rodriguez was born in Toluca, Mexico, the son of Catarine Rodriguez; his birthdate is a matter of some dispute, usually stated as either April 11, 1891, or April 8, 1893. With little formal education, he began, at the age of …

Salvest, John Joseph

John Joseph Salvest has gained national acclaim through his site-specific installations, object-based and performance art, and teaching. Salvest’s art is noted for exploring issues of time and mortality, the paradoxes of life, and the true and proverbial in literature. His success is evident through awards and solo exhibitions across the nation and a career that has spanned decades. Born on February 13, 1955, John Salvest was the oldest of three children born to John and Jeanne Salvest. He grew up in Kearny, New Jersey, and attended Regis High School in New York City, New York. He received a BA in English from Duke University in North Carolina in 1977, an MA in English from the University of Iowa in 1979, …

Scott, Dortha Delena Shaw

Dortha Delena Shaw Scott of Mount Ida (Montgomery County) created the design for the Arkansas quarter. Her design was chosen from among more than 9,300 entries in a statewide contest by a panel of ten judges and Governor Mike Huckabee. The final design was unveiled to the public on October 7, 2002, at the Old State House in Little Rock (Pulaski County). The quarter officially entered circulation October 28, 2003, at Murfreesboro (Pike County). Dortha Shaw was born on January 11, 1936, near Mount Ida. Her parents were Henry and Carrie (Manley) Shaw. Henry Shaw, who died on September 7, 1936, was a carpenter most of his life, and Carrie Shaw was a homemaker. Dortha had five siblings: Gene, Helen, …

Scott, James Powell

James Powell Scott was a prominent mid-twentieth-century American artist and art educator. He began studying, producing, and teaching art in Arkansas. Now best remembered for his lithographs, watercolors, and oil paintings on canvas, Scott has works in the collections of major regional and national art museums, including the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. James Powell Scott, the second of three sons, was born to Wellington Friend Scott and Sarah Powell Scott on April 22, 1909, in Lexington, Kentucky. He attended public schools in Kentucky and in Arkansas after his family moved to Little Rock (Pulaski County). In 1928, Scott graduated from Little Rock High School. Scott studied art fundamentals with Adrian Brewer, a popular Little Rock artist and …

Sellers, Barney

Professional photographer Barney Sellers, a native of Walnut Ridge (Lawrence County), accumulated many honors in his lifetime, including a nomination for the Pulitzer Prize in 1973. His photographs of Arkansas barns, old houses, and rural scenes attracted many fans of his work and aspiring followers to northeastern Arkansas and the Ozarks. Born on March 28, 1926, to John and Edith Sellers, Barney Bryan Sellers was the younger of two sons. He grew up in Walnut Ridge, where he graduated from high school in 1944. Following high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy, where he served two years aboard the USS De Haven. In the navy, he served in an administrative capacity and advanced to the rank of yeoman third …

Sentinel of Freedom

The most famous painting by Arkansas artist Adrian Louis Brewer (1891–1956), the 1941 “Sentinel of Freedom” has been reproduced millions of times and has received wide distribution in America and abroad. Several million reproductions of the painting were distributed to schools, churches, and individuals during World War II, and the painting has become a staple of modern culture. The painting was commissioned by Little Rock (Pulaski County) insurance executive Clyde E. Lowry. Lowry was acquainted with Brewer’s work as a combat artist who painted wartime posters and more during World War I. Lowry wanted a painting depicting “the beauty of the flag when the wind had died down and the gentle folds took their natural place.” At the time, Brewer was …

Shrader, Gustave Joseph

Gustave Joseph Shrader was a photographer who was best known as the official photographer for the state Senate and House of Representatives and for several Little Rock (Pulaski County) schools. Joseph Shrader was born on May 25, 1870, in Orel, Russia, to a merchant. In 1885, Shrader began serving as a photographer’s apprentice. He immigrated to the United States in 1892. Shrader met Bertha Frank, a resident of Louisville, Kentucky, and married her in December 1900 in Memphis, Tennessee. The couple had one child, Gustave Joseph Shrader Jr., called “Buddy.” Shrader worked for photographers in Louisville, Kentucky; Memphis, Tennessee; Indianapolis, Indiana; Providence, Rhode Island; and New York City. In May 1901, he opened a studio with his wife in St. …

Simon, Howard Jacob

During the 1920s and 1930s, Howard Jacob Simon was a nationally celebrated painter in oils and watercolors and an illustrator in sketches and woodcut prints. In Arkansas, he was best known for his drawings and woodcuts that illustrated Charlie May Simon’s books and the book Back Yonder, An Ozark Chronicle by Wayman Hogue, Charlie May Simon’s father. Howard Simon was born on July 22, 1902, in New York City to Samuel Simon, a salesman of general merchandise, and Bertha Simon. He had one brother. Before he was fifteen, Simon knew that he wanted to be an artist. He went daily to the National Academy of Design. He then spent two years at the New York Academy of Arts and drawing …

Smith, Effie Anderson

Effie Anderson Smith was an Arkansas-born landscape painter and pioneer settler of Arizona. She began painting in southwestern Arkansas, in the style of the Hudson River School. Her mature style, exemplified by her Grand Canyon paintings, emerged after studies with California Impressionists. Born near Nashville (Howard County), on September 29, 1869, Effie Anderson grew up in Hope (Hempstead County). Her mother, Martha Adelia Coulter Anderson, came from a family of planters near Lockesburg (Sevier County). Her father, Major Adolphus Anderson, whose family members were planters in South Carolina, came to southwestern Arkansas in the 1850s as a surveyor and civil engineer. Her parents married in March 1861, before her father joined ten of his brothers in the South Carolina forces …

Spruce, Everett Franklin

Everett Franklin Spruce was an artist and teacher who grew up in Arkansas and worked in the state periodically in the 1920s and 1930s. Spruce is considered the most prominent painter to emerge from a group of Texas regionalists in the 1930s. He was highly influenced by his boyhood in the Ozarks, and his paintings always reflected his love of the land and of nature. Everett Spruce was born in Holland (Faulkner County), near Conway (Faulkner County), on December 25, 1907 (some references list 1908). He was the first of six children born to William Everett Spruce and Fanny May (McCarty) Spruce. His father, who was of Irish descent, was a farmer. In 1911, the Spruce family moved to Adams …

Stern, Howard Seymour

Howard Seymour Stern was a physician, a noted photographer, and an award-winning painter. Although he had no professional training in art, his paintings and photographs continue to be displayed in various collections in Arkansas and around the world. Howard Stern was born on June 14, 1910, in Charlotte, North Carolina, the eldest of four children born to Eugene John Stern and Frances Burger Stern. His father was an architect, half the partnership of Mann and Stern, which designed Little Rock Central High School, the Albert Pike Hotel, the Arkansas Consistory, the Arlington Hotel, and the Fordyce Bath House. The family moved to Little Rock (Pulaski County) in 1913 so Stern’s father could work with George R. Mann on designing the …

Struggle in the South, The [Mural]

The Struggle in the South is a 44′ x 9′ mural by Joe Jones that includes dramatic scenes of striking miners and a lynching attempt. Completed in 1935, this painting is an example of Jones’s protest art during the years of the Great Depression. Joseph John (Joe) Jones was eulogized upon his death in 1963 as a corporate artist, with commissions from Fortune magazine and Standard Oil; this characterization overshadowed any mention of his beginnings as a Communist house painter. At the beginning of his career and during the height of the Great Depression, however, Jones was known as one of America’s notable social protest artists. Jones came from a working-class family. His immigrant Welsh father, Frank J. Jones, and …

Sugimoto, Henry Yuzuru

Henry Yuzuru Sugimoto was a noted artist whose paintings chronicled the immigrant experience, including the time he and his family spent in internment camps in southern Arkansas during World War II. Henry Sugimoto was born as Yuzuru Sugimoto on March 12, 1900, in Wakayama Prefecture, Japan. When he was a baby, his father moved to California to seek employment. Nine years later, his mother joined his father in California, leaving Sugimoto and a younger brother in the care of her parents. Sugimoto’s maternal grandfather had been a samurai and still owned many artworks, which Sugimoto copied with his grandfather’s encouragement. In 1919, Sugimoto’s parents finally could afford to bring him to America. He joined his parents in Hanford, California, and …

Swedlun, Frederick Ernest

aka: Ernest Fredericks
Frederick Ernest Swedlun, best known pseudonymously as Ernest Fredericks, was a prolific early twentieth-century artist active in Arkansas and Illinois and throughout the Ozarks region. His colorful woodland landscape paintings captured the rustic beauty of the area during every season of the year. One example, Autumn in the Ozarks, painted of a scene near Rogers (Benton County), was exhibited at the Chicago Art Institute in June 1940. Frederick Swedlun was born of Swedish parents, Olof Swedlun and Christine M. Sandahl, on a farm near McPherson, Kansas, on February 8, 1877. According to Swedlun’s autobiographical sketch, the farm life was not appealing to him. He moved to Chicago, Illinois, and began study at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. It was there …

Swedlun, Glenn C.

Glenn C. Swedlun was a popular twentieth-century regional artist active in Arkansas and Illinois. For almost forty years, Swedlun lived and worked in Eureka Springs (Carroll County). Glenn Swedlun was born in Illinois (either Cairo or Elgin, depending upon the source) on May 11, 1902, the first child of Frederick Ernest Swedlun and Cordella Florence Cayle Swedlun. He had one sister. Swedlun grew up in the Chicago area, where he completed one year of high school. For five years while a young man, Swedlun played professional baseball. At age twenty-seven, he gave up baseball to become an artist like his father. His father, a well-known Illinois landscape painter who worked under the pseudonym Ernest Fredericks, taught Swedlun the fundamentals of …

Tabor, Ronald Dale

Since he was a child, Ronald Dale Tabor has been capturing the rustic scenery and the wildlife of the Ozarks on canvas. For most of his adult years, he painted without the use of his limbs. Tabor is a quadriplegic mouth-artist who taught himself to paint using his mouth after sustaining an injury in a near fatal car accident. He is one of the few Arkansans to gain membership in the Mouth and Foot Painting Artists of the United States (MFPA) and the International Mouth and Foot Painting Artists (IMFPA) based in Liechtenstein, Switzerland. Tabor is known for his realistic paintings of barns, wildlife, and the scenic outdoors of rural Arkansas. Dale Tabor was born in Harrison (Boone County) on …

Travis, Kathryne Bess Hail

Kathryne Bess Hail Travis was an artist and teacher who was especially known for her still-life paintings of flowers. For a three-year period in the late 1920s, she and her then-husband, artist Olin Travis, ran the Travis Ozark Summer Art School near Cass (Franklin County). Kathryne Bess Hail was born in Ozark (Franklin County) on February 6, 1894. She was the only child of Albert Eugene Hail, who owned a general store, and Maude (Brown) Hail. Her education was financed and closely supervised by a wealthy uncle, Oliver Brown. She studied art in high school and graduated with honors from Galloway College in Searcy (White County) in 1911. She briefly attended a girls’ school in Chicago, Illinois, before enrolling in …

Travis, Olin Herman

Olin Herman Travis was a Dallas-based artist, muralist, and teacher who worked in Arkansas periodically for about twenty years. For a three-year period in the late 1920s, he led the Travis Ozark Summer Art School near Cass (Franklin County). Olin Travis was born in Dallas, Texas, on November 15, 1888. He was the second of six children born to Olin Few Travis and Eulalia (Moncrief) Travis. His father was a printmaker. Travis graduated from Bryan High School in Dallas in 1906 and from Metropolitan Business College in Dallas in about 1908. Interested in art from childhood and encouraged by his high school art teacher, Travis studied briefly in Dallas under Max Hagendorn. In 1909, he enrolled in the School of …

Ward, Essie Ann Treat

Essie Ann Treat Ward, who is often referred to as “Grandma Moses of the Ozarks,” produced paintings that are fascinating examples of primitive art, a style of folk painting. From a field of one hundred and fifty folk painters, she was chosen one of the top ten in Arkansas, receiving recognition and appreciation in her native region and state. In 1970, she participated in the Smithsonian Festival of American Folklife in Washington DC. Today hundreds of her paintings in the Miranda and Hezzakiah series hang in public and private art collections around the world. Essie Treat was born on October 20, 1902, to Henry and Parthenia Treat in the community of Nubbin Hill (Searcy County). Her father was a farmer …

Washbourne, Edward Payson

Of the many artists who lived and worked in antebellum Arkansas, none gained greater acclaim than Edward Payson Washbourne, creator of one of the Western frontier’s most memorable and humorous genre scenes, The Arkansas Traveler. Noted not only for his allegorical works, Washbourne was also widely sought for portraiture. Examples of his work can be seen in the collections of the Historic Arkansas Museum and the Arkansas State Archives in Little Rock (Pulaski County). Edward Washbourne was born on November 16, 1831, at Dwight Mission, then located in Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma); the 1850 census lists him as being born in Arkansas, but the western border of Arkansas was in flux at the time of his birth. He was the son of …

Whitfield, Inez Harrington

Inez Harrington Whitfield, noted for her community work in Hot Springs (Garland County), was nationally recognized for her paintings of Arkansas wildflowers. She was one of forty Arkansans to appear in American Women in 1935. The publication was a who’s who of feminine leaders in America. Inez Whitfield was born May 25, 1867, in German Flatts, New York, to James and Ida Dota Whitfield. She received her early education in Ilion, New York, and graduated in 1889 from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, with a bachelor of letters degree. After graduation, she taught at the Gardner Institute for Girls in New York City. Whitfield later left the school and formed the Whitfield-Bliss School for Girls in New York City with …

Wilson, Charles Banks

Charles Banks Wilson was a world-renowned lithographer, painter, teacher, historian, and book illustrator whose art has been exhibited throughout the United States and the world. He is best known for his drawings and paintings of Native American life as well as for his vivid representations of the people, events, and landscapes of the Ozark Mountains, his primary artistic inspiration. Charles Banks Wilson was born on August 6, 1918, in Springdale (Washington County). His father, Charles Bertram Wilson, was serving in France during World War I when Wilson was born. His mother, Bertha Juanita Banks Wilson, was a public school teacher. Both parents had lived in Springdale but did not meet until each had moved eighty-five miles westward in the Ozark …

Wilson, Donald Roller

Donald Roller Wilson is a nationally acclaimed artist whose paintings use distinctive and mysterious imagery. He lives in Fayetteville (Washington County). Roller Wilson was born on November 23, 1938, in Houston, Texas. At the age of six, he moved with his family to northern Nebraska when his father opened a company that made farm combines. In 1945, the family moved to Wichita, Kansas. The last of three children, he grew up essentially an only child because his brother and sister were much older. His first artistic experience was painting signs on beer trucks. After earning an MFA in painting and art history at Kansas State University in Wichita, he taught painting at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville from …

Young Memorial

The Young Memorial at Hendrix College in Conway (Faulkner County)—originally called the War Memorial Monument of Conway—is a sculptural monument erected to honor students of the school who died serving in the U.S. military during World War I. Six Hendrix students lost their lives in World War I. Five of these men died of diseases either in the United States or abroad; the sixth, Robert W. Young, died in combat. The idea for a war memorial on the Hendrix campus was conceived by the Hendrix Memorial Association, a student-run group, in 1919. With the help of faculty advisor Professor W. O. Wilson, the group soon raised $800 of the expected $1,200–$1,500 cost through student and alumni donations. By the spring …