Friday, August 19, 2016

Lawrence Beall Smith (1909-1995)-Part One

I have a book called Contemporary American Painting, and though it is no longer contemporary, it still has great value as an artifact of another era and as a source of information about artists of yesteryear. Contemporary American Painting was written and edited by Grace Pagano and published in 1945 by Duell, Sloan and Pearce. As it turns out, this blog is more or less in the same format as Grace Pagano's book: brief biographies of artists followed by images of their work. (1) I found the book yesterday (Aug. 13, 2016) at the local library book sale. As I looked through it, I hoped to find an artist born in Indiana. There was none. But I found an artist who lived in Indiana as a child, and I'm happy to include him in my list of Indiana illustrators. I'm happy, too, to write something about him using a medium--the Internet--that seems not to have paid the facts of his life very much attention.

Lawrence Beall Smith was born on October 2, 1909, in Washington, D.C., to Gerald Karr Smith (1882-1964) and Leah Beall Smith (1883-1979). He appears to have been their only child. According to Contemporary American Painting, "his childhood was spent in the Carolinas, Kentucky, Illinois and Indiana." (p. 105) That wandering childhood was probably due his father's work, but Lawrence Beall Smith had a connection to Indiana on his mother's side as well. First, his father.

Born in Galion, Ohio, Gerald Karr Smith (1882-1964) was descended from a Revolutionary War soldier, Private Jacob Smith of New Jersey. Smith's father, Stephen L. Smith, was a school teacher, postmaster, and county auditor in Ohio. During World War I, Gerald Karr Smith served under the National War Work Council as business secretary in the Y.M.C.A. at Camp Zachary Taylor in what is now Louisville, Kentucky. (2) He remained a secretary in the Y.M.C.A. for more than two decades afterward, for that was his occupation as late as 1942 when he filled out his draft card during World War II. By 1920, the year of the decennial census, Smith was in Chicago. There he seems to have remained, for the censuses of 1930 and 1940 have him there as well, as does the aforementioned draft card from 1942.

If Lawrence Beall Smith lived in the Carolinas as a child, that would appear to have been sometime prior to his father's service during World War I. Smith's time in Kentucky was very likely in the years 1917 to 1918 or 1919, when his father would have been stationed at Camp Taylor. After that, Chicago was his home and the place where he received his education. But for a time before the war, Lawrence Beall Smith lived in Indiana with his parents, and for that we can call him one of our own.

On his mother's side, Lawrence Beall Smith was at least one-fourth Hoosier. Leah Beall was the daughter of Alexander Beall and Arelia or Aurelia R. "Ora" McCarty Beall. Ora was born on June 12, 1852, in Indiana. On October 14, 1875, she married Alexander Beall, an Ohio native, in Grant County, Indiana. The couple lived in Van Wert County, Ohio, in 1880 and 1900. Alexander Beall did not make it to the next census--he died in 1908 and was buried in Adams County, Indiana. His widow followed him to the grave in 1914. Her place of death was on the opposite side of the state, in Vincennes, Indiana. Her son-in-law, Gerald Karr Smith, also of Vincennes, signed her death certificate, and she was laid to rest next to her husband at Mount Tabor Cemetery in Adams County.

Gerald Karr Smith returned to his native state sometime after 1942 and died in Bellefontaine, Ohio, on November 20, 1964. His wife survived him and passed away on March 29, 1979, in Cincinnati. The couple now lie side by side in Bellefontaine City Cemetery, not far from the highest point in Ohio.

To be continued . . .

(1) Contemporary American Painting has two additional features for each artist: a photographic portrait and a reproduction of his or her signature.
(2) F. Scott Fitzgerald was stationed at Camp Taylor as well.

Lawrence Beall Smith was an only child, a young man of childlike appearance, a father of three children, and an artist of childhood. Here are a few of his prints on the subject of children and childhood, first, "Frolic," from 1948. 

"Victory Day, Clam Diggers," from 1946. This one reminds me of the Maine books of Robert McCloskey.

"Child and Cherubs" (1949).

"Party Chutes" (1952).

"Windy Hill" (1948).

"Forest Flight" (1949).

Finally, an oil painting, "Observing the Game" (date unknown).

Text copyright 2016 Terence E. Hanley

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Elizabeth Buchsbaum Newhall (1909-1942)-Part Two

Elizabeth Buchsbaum provided the illustrations for the biology textbook Animals Without Backbones: An Introduction to the Invertebrata, published in 1938. The authors were her older brother, Ralph Morris Buchsbaum (1907-2002), and Ralph's wife, Mildred Shaffer Buchsbaum (1912-1996). Elizabeth's drawings are in black and white and are characterized by great clarity and simplicity. Generations of biology students have studied and learned from her work. Apparently, one of the great graphic artists of the twentieth century was also a student of Elizabeth Buchsbaum. I'll let the artists themselves tell the story . . .

Here is the cover for the second edition of Animals Without Backbones, written by Ralph M. Buchsbaum and Mildred Shaffer Buchsbaum and illustrated by Ralph's sister Elizabeth M. Buchsbaum. The crosseyed planarian has become a standard image in biological illustration. It's one I remember from my own childhood reading.

Here is an interior illustration from the book, showing a colonial animal called an Obelia. Note the great clarity and simplicity of the drawing. (I have slightly altered the image by recoloring the background to an even tan color.)

Elizabeth Buchsbaum's depiction of planarian anatomy is also clear and readable. (Again I have recolored the background.)

According to undocumented sources on the Internet, Dutch artist M.C. Escher (1898-1972) is supposed to have been inspired by the drawings of Elizabeth Buchsbaum. Is there truth in that claim? I don't know. There isn't any doubt that Escher's flatworms look a lot like Elizabeth Buchsbaums' flatworms, but then both are based on real animals. Update (Dec. 5, 2018): According to Sherry Buchsbaum, granddaughter-in-law of Maurice and Mabel Buchsbaum, M.C. Escher was indeed influenced by Elizabeth Buchsbaum's depiction of planaria. See her comment below.

Here is Elizabeth's grasshopper from Animals Without Backbones . . .

And here is Escher's. I think a stronger case can be made that Escher was inspired by Elizabeth's grasshopper, depicted in both drawings in an almost orthographic projection. (Oddly, grasshoppers are in the order Orthoptera.) But if Escher was influenced by one drawing, why not by the other? And if that's the case, then an Indiana illustrator has her place in the study of one of the most renowned artists of the twentieth century. Either way, the art of Elizabeth Buchsbaum Newhall lives on, even now, seventy-four years after her death. Update (Dec. 5, 2018): In her comment below, Sherry Buchsbaum has pointed out that M.C. Escher's grasshopper came before Elizabeth Buchsbaum's. With that being the case, I wonder whether she was instead influenced by him.

To close out this article about Elizabeth Buchsbaum, I would like to mention her younger brother, Robert E. Buchsbaum. He was born on December 25, 1912, in Chicago and received his bachelor's (1936) and master's (1937) degrees from the University of Chicago. Buchsbaum was a conductor (of the Gary symphony and others), an oboist, an instructor of music, and an executive at Coronet Recording Company. After a very long and productive life, he died on January 31, 2001, in Columbus, Ohio.

Text copyright 2016, 2018 Terence E. Hanley

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Elizabeth Buchsbaum Newhall (1909-1942)-Part One

Teacher and illustrator Elizabeth Buchsbaum Newhall came from a distinguished family of scientists and artists. Sadly, her mother died when she was only an infant, and Elizabeth herself lived only a very short life. In creating the illustrations for a textbook still considered a standard in its field, Elizabeth Buchsbaum combined the two sides of her family, the scientific and the artistic. Although she was also a fine artist, her reputation now rests on her drawings of insects, worms, and other invertebrates.

Elizabeth Mabel Buchsbaum was born in 1909 in the Philippines. Her father, then a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army, was Dr. Maurice (Morris) Buchsbaum (1867-1935), a native of Austria who had arrived in the United States in 1890 and who had been naturalized on October 1, 1896. Dr. Buchsbaum received his bachelor's degree from the University of Chicago in 1903 and his medical degree from Rush Medical College of Chicago in 1905. He also taught internal medicine at that school. Dr. Buchsbaum joined the Medical Reserve Corps on September 25, 1908, in Oklahoma. After being stationed in Wyoming, Dr. Buchsbaum was transferred to Fort Mills on the Philippine island of Corregidor. He began at that post on October 30, 1909, as an assistant to the surgeon and was later stationed on the island of Mindanao and at the Presidio in San Francisco.

Elizabeth Buchsbaum's mother was Mabel Victor Buchsbaum about whom almost nothing is known, despite the fact that she lies buried in a national cemetery. Mabel Buchsbaum passed away on November 25, 1909, and was first laid to rest in the Philippines. Her body was reinterred at San Francisco National Cemetery, located at the Presidio, on April 1, 1910. Considering the circumstances of Elizabeth Buchsbaum Newhall's death in 1942 and the fact that her birth year is estimated in census records as 1910 rather than 1909, I think it possible that Mabel Buchsbaum died in childbirth. In any case, her daughter would have been only an infant at her death. Her son Ralph, born on January 2, 1907, in Chickasha, Oklahoma Territory, was not even three years old at her death.

Elizabeth Buchsbaum's widowed father was honorably discharged from the U.S Army on January 15, 1912. Less than a month later, on February 10, 1912, he married Hermine Josephine Beck in Chicago. Born in Bohemia in about 1877, she came to the United States in 1893. As of the 1910 U.S. Census, she was the superintendent of a hospital on Wrightwood Avenue in Chicago. In short order after the Buchsbaums' wedding, a second son, named Robert E. Buchsbaum, came into the family. He was born on December 25, 1912, in Chicago.

By 1918, the Buchsbaums were living in Gary, Indiana. Incorporated in 1906, Gary was then only a dozen years old and like the rest of the lake region of northwestern Indiana served as a bedroom community for people studying and working in Chicago. I presume that Elizabeth attended school in Gary, as her family had lived there from as early as 1918 and as late as the census of 1930, when she would have been twenty years old. According to the website American Illustration Notables, Circa 1900-1970, she studied at the Art Institute of Chicago. She also attended the University of Chicago. By 1935, Elizabeth was a teacher at Jefferson School in Gary. In 1939, she was at Edison School in the same city. Gary is no longer what it once was. Unfortunately, Jefferson and Edison schools have both fallen into neglect and decay.

Sometime around 1939-1941, Elizabeth M. Buchsbaum married Franklin Newhall (1914-2005), an agricultural climatologist specializing in soil moisture. Afterwards known as Elizabeth Buchsbaum Newhall, she died, supposedly in childbirth, on the night of December 30, 1942, in Chicago. Although her death was reported in The Jewish Post, her remains were interred at the First Unitarian Church crypt in Chicago. She was survived by her husband, stepmother, and her two brothers. Her husband went on to marry two more times and to live into his tenth decade on earth.

To be continued . . .

Dr. Maurice (Morris) Buchsbaum (1867-1935), father of teacher and illustrator Elizabeth Buchsbaum Newhall. The photograph is from his graduation from Rush Medical College in Chicago, 1905.

Jefferson School, Gary, Indiana, where Elizabeth taught during the 1930s.

Updated December 5, 2018.
Thanks to Sherry Buchsbaum for corrections and for further information on the Buchsbaum family. (See her comment below.)
Text copyright 2016, 2018 Terence E. Hanley

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Mac Heaton Art Gallery

This year--this month in fact--is the centennial year of the establishment of the National Park Service (NPS), a milestone in the history of conservation in America. Two thousand sixteen is also the bicentennial year of the State of Indiana. Lost in those two big celebrations is the fact that 2016 is also the centennial year of the first state parks in Indiana, acquired through the tireless efforts of Richard Lieber (1869-1944). McCormick's Creek State Park, located in Owen County, was Indiana's first. Turkey Run State Park, located in Parke County and Colonel Lieber's favorite, came next. Both were dedicated on December 16, 1916, in conjunction with the centennial celebration of Indiana statehood. A little more than two years later, in March 1919, the governor signed a bill creating the Indiana Department of Conservation. Colonel Richard Lieber was named the first director. In 1965, the Indiana Department of Conservation was renamed the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR). The agency still bears that name.

The Department of Conservation began publishing a magazine called Outdoor Indiana in February 1934. In this age when magazines seem to be dying, Outdoor Indiana is still in print. In June 1945, artist Malcolm C. Heaton (1925-2002) went to work for Outdoor Indiana. In time he became art director of the Department of Conservation. Nicknamed Mac, Heaton was a versatile artist, as the illustrations below will show. He was adept at painting, drawing, and even cartooning. He worked at a time when state conservation agencies employed some outstanding wildlife artists, including Charles Schwartz (1914-1991) in Missouri, Bob Hines (1912-1994) in Ohio, and Ned Smith (1919-1985) in Pennsylvania. Mac Heaton stood among them as an artist from what might be called the golden age of conservation in America.

"Cornfield Covey" by Mac Heaton, a painting depicting a river-bottom field in Greene County, the artist's home county, for the November 1963 issue of Outdoor Indiana. Unfortunately, despite all the efforts of conservationists, a covey of bobwhite quail has become a rare sight in Indiana.

A drawing of a gull by Heaton, showing that he worked just as well in halftone as in full color. This illustration is from an article called "Gulls of Michigan City" by James Landing, from Outdoor Indiana, August 1963.

On March 22, 1824, seven white men murdered nine American Indians near Pendleton, Indiana, in an event now called the Fall Creek Massacre. The men were tried and some were executed for their crimes. It was the first time in American history that a white man was executed for a crime against an Indian. Outdoor Indiana had an article about the massacre in its August 1963 issue. The author was Arville L. Funk. Mac Heaton provided the illustration.

In addition to being an illustrator, Heaton was a cartoonist. Here is one of his cartoons, from the back cover of Outdoor Indiana, February 1964.

Finally, another back cover drawing, this one illustrating a biological concept, "Coverings," from Outdoor Indiana, July 1964. 

Note: My computer died last month, and though I have a new computer, I have been without a scanner for a while. Now I'm back in the blogging business, but I have fallen well behind in my writing. Please bear with me while I catch up.
Text copyright 2016 Terence E. Hanley