Saturday, November 17, 2012

Mary and Wallace Stover (ca. 1903-?)

Wallace P. and Mary A. Stover were a husband-and-wife team of illustrators. Both were born in about 1903 in Indiana. Wallace Stover graduated from Elkhart High School in 1921 and received a scholarship to the Herron School of Art in Indianapolis. He graduated from Herron in 1925 with a diploma after four years of study. Oakley E. Richey (later a teacher at Arsenal Technical High School), Mabel Bott (artist and wife of Earl Wayne Bott), and Josephine Hollingsworth were among the other students in attendance in the early 1920s.

In 1929, Wallace Stover married Mary Alys Polk, also an artist and a teacher in the Franklin, Indiana, schools. He was then living on Long Island and working in New York as a commercial artist and designer of costumes. Not much is otherwise known of the lives of Wallace and Mary Stover. The 1930 census found them living in Queens, New York. Wallace was then working as a magazine illustrator. By the 1940s, the couple were working together, illustrating inexpensive children's books and coloring books in a number of popular series, including the Wizard of Oz, Uncle Wiggily, and Raggedy Ann and Andy. The dates and places of their deaths are unknown.

Revised April 12, 2016.
Text copyright 2012 Terence E. Hanley

Monday, November 5, 2012

Bessie Cronbach Lowenhaupt (1881-1968)

This is the birth month of Indiana artist Bessie Cronbach Lowenhaupt. Born on November 19, 1881, in Mount Vernon, a small town on the southwestern tip of the state, Bessie studied at the Art Institute of Chicago (1899-1903) and the Washington University School of Art. As a student, she created unpublished illustrations and other art. After marrying Abraham Lowenhaupt, an attorney, in 1910, she moved to Saint Louis and started a family. Bessie didn't let that keep her from her art however. Over the course of her long life, she created deceptively simple--almost primitive--paintings that place her squarely in the realm of modern art. To quote Robert E. Kohn:
Lowenhaupt revealed her artistic creed when she told [biographer Judith Saul] Stix that "a realistic picture . . . isn't interesting," and that abstract art, being "arid and lacking discipline," is also "not interesting."
Take that, American artists of the twentieth century! In any case, although she died in Saint Louis in 1968, Bessie C. Lowenhaupt is remembered even today. There was an exhibit of her work at the Saint Louis Art Museum in 1995 and articles on her life and art in newspapers and journals as recently as this year. Her papers are in the collections of the State Historical Society of Missouri Research Center in Saint Louis. The papers of her biographer, Judith Saul Stix, are in the Smithsonian Archives of American Art. Finally, my thanks to Joyce Schiller, who has written about Bessie Lowenhaupt, for bringing the artist to my attention. Ms. Schiller is curator at the Rockwell Center for American Visual Studies, at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

Text copyright 2012 Terence E. Hanley