Following are the artists whose work comprises a unique, distinctly Midwestern art collection at SLUH. Their art can be found throughout Backer Memorial—or by clicking on any artist below.
SLUH is grateful to Tim '68 and Jeanne Drone for their generosity in donating these amazing works of art.
- Robert Althage
- L Angermeyer
- August H. Becker (1840-1903)
- Thomas Hart Benton (1889-1975)
- Norm Bernier
- Oscar Berninghaus (1874-1952)
- George Caleb Bingham (1811-1879)
- Edgar Julian Bissell (1856-1928)
- James Brandess
- Charles W.A. Brewer (1820-1898)
- Jack Brigham
- Fred Green Carpenter (1882-1965)
- U. G. Cassady (1880-1948)
- Mark Cerutti
- Abigail Dunn Chaitlin
- Harry Chase (1853-1889)
- Kathryn E. Cherry (1880-1931)
- Lee Chubb (1904-2003)
- Frederick E. Conway (1900-1973)
- Edward Curtis (1868-1952)
- Dawson Dawson-Watson (1864-1939)
- William Doyle, S.J. (1924-1997)
- Werner Drewes (1899–1985)
- Thomas Engelhart
- Harry Estock (1919-n.d.)
- William Fett (1918-2006)
- Augusta Finkelnburg (1863 - 1942)
- Adriano Gajoni (1913 - 1965)
- Gustav Goetsch (1877 - 1969)
- Charles Gray
- Victor Joseph Harles (1894-1975)
- Jerome Hawkins
- John Hilgert
- Edward Hogan
- William Hogarth (1697-1764)
- Winslow Homer (1836-1910)
- Joe Jones (1909-1963)
- Chris Jorgensen (1860-1935)
- John Ross Key (1832-1920)
- Denny Kiernan
- Stephen Kinsella
- Carl R. Krafft (1884-1938)
- Victor Joseph Kunz (1899-1992)
- Leslie Lackey
- Martyl (Suzanne Schweig Langsdorfer)
- William F. Matthews (1878-1976)
- Miriam McKinnie (1906-1987)
- Richard E. Miller (1875-1943)
- Roscoe Misselhorn (1902 - 1997)
- Virginia Moberly Schlueter (1901-1994)
- Frank B. Nuderscher (1880-1939)
- William O'Donnell
- Joseph Pennell (1857-1926)
- Bernard E. Peters (1889-1949)
- Savo Radulovic (1911-1991)
- Alfred Russell (1920-2007)
- Aimee Goldstone Schweig (1891-1987)
- Andrei Serebryakov
- Wallace Hendron Smith (1901-1990)
- Veronica 'Roni' Sublet
- Emily B. Summa (1875-1927)
- Svend Rasmunsen Svendsen (1864-1934)
- Frederick Oakes Sylvester (1869-1915)
- E. Oscar Thalinger F.I.A.I. (1885-1965)
- Lillian Thoele (1894 - 1971)
- Thomas Toner (1941 - 2007)
- Robert D. Tooley
- Toomey & Volland
- Ernest Trova (1927-2009)
- Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890)
- Valentine Vogel (1906-1965)
- Joseph Paul Vorst (1897-1947)
- Wendy Werner
- Gustav Wolfe (1863-1935)
- Francis Humphrey Woolrych (1868-1941)
- Edmund Henry Wuerpel (1866-1958)
- Matthew Ziegler (1897 - 1981)
August H. Becker was born in Bonn, Germany. When he was three-years-old, he immigrated to the United States with his mother and other relatives. They arrived in St. Louis, Missouri where his stepfather, Mathias Becker, had settled in 1838. August Becker lived most of his life in Missouri. At the time, St. Louis was a frontier town and the headquarters of the well-known American Fur Company.
Becker showed an interest in art when he was only 10 years old. His older half-brother, the famous Carl Wimar, was a big influence on his art. In 1861, together, they executed the painting of the Dome in the Old Court House in St. Louis. Although Becker was very well known during his lifetime, he never became as famous as his half-brother.
Becker’s River Landscape with Fort Union and Indian Figures offers a glimpse into life on the American Frontier. It depicts the well-known fort, which was located near the confluence of the Missouri and Yellowstone rivers, and was established by the American Fur Company. Between 1828 and 1867, this trading company was the most important post on the upper Missouri River. The Assiniboine and Northern Plains tribes traded buffalo robes and furs for cloth, guns, beads, and other goods.
Many artists visited and painted their own depictions of the fort. Among them are George Carline, Karl Bodmer and Rudolf F. Kutz. Pierre DeSmet, S.J. visited Fort Union many times during his travels. In 1867, the U.S. Army purchased and dismantled Fort Union and used the materials to expand the military base, Fort Buford.
Benton was born in Neosho, Missouri. His great-uncle had been a United States senator. His father, Maecenas Benton, was a U.S. Representative. Between 1896 and 1904, Thomas H. Benton lived with his family in Washington, D. C. His exposure to art during this period influenced his decision to pursue a career in art, in spite of his father’s wishes.
Convinced that his son would follow his career path. Maecenas enrolled Thomas in the Western Military Academy. With his mother’s support, in 1907, Benton enrolled at the Art Institute of Chicago, where he studied with Frederick Oswald. He met the Mexican muralist, Diego Rivera, as well as the father of Synchronism, Stanton Macdonald-Wright. They remained influential throughout Benton’s artistic career. In 1913, Benton moved to New York. During World War I, he served in the Navy as a draftsman. This type of work was influential in the development of his later artistic style.
After World War I, Benton taught at the Art Students League of New York (1929 through 1933). One of his best known students at the League, Jackson Pollock, went on to become a world-renowned artist. Pollock grew very close to Benton. Benton’s influence remained with him throughout his entire career. The sizes of his later artworks were directly influenced by Benton’s expansive murals.
In 1922, Benton married Rita Piacenza, which whom he had two children. They were married until his death in 1975.
Between 1925 and 1925, Benton completed many murals and paintings which depicted historical themes, contemporary urban and rural life, as well as strong social and political commentaries. He was nationally recognized when his murals, the Arts of Life in America, were displayed at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1932, and after completing 22 mural panels which were part of the series titled The Cultural and Industrial History of Indiana, for the Century of Progress Exhibition in Chicago. These large-scale works cemented his position as a major American artist and best-known American muralist.
As an established artist, Benton painted many murals before the implementation of the New Deal Arts Program. The New Deal Arts Program consisted of a series of programs created between 1933 and 1935 to provide word opportunities for artists in various media, and to bring art into communities. Benton’s name became synonymous with Regionalism.
In 1934, Benton, Grant Wood and John Steuart Curry participated in an exhibition at Ferargil Galleries in New York. The exhibition was favorably received by critics who coined the term “American Regionalism” in response to the content of their respective artwork. The same year, Time magazine featured Benton’s Self Portrait on the cover of its December issue — the first for an artist. The article recognized Regionalism as a significant artistic movement in defining the American identity, and celebrated Benton’s contribution to its success.
Benton returned to Missouri in 1935 as the head of the painting department at the Kansas City Art Institute. In the 1940’s, Benton produced over 4,000 works during his lifetime. He was still working on The Sources of Music at the time of his death in 1975. Benton’s legacy lives on today, as his art preserves a tumultuous period of American history.
Born in Augusta County, Virginia, Bingham moved with his family to Franklin, Missouri, in 1819 after his father lost most of the family property. In 1923, his father died of malaria. Unable to earn a sufficient living, his mother relinquished the Franklin property and moved in with family members in Saline County. The second of seven children, Bingham displayed talent at an early age. His interest in painting began during his cabinetmaker apprenticeship. He began painting portraits of his friends and family. As he gained confidence, he traveled to nearby towns to paint portraits. Bingham’s horizons broadened while working as an itinerant painter. He met people who supported him financially and who influenced his views.
Mostly self-taught, Bingham had become an accomplished portraitist by 1833. His early style (1834 through 1840) is characterized by superior craftsmanship and strong character analysis. From the 1840s to the 1870s, Bingham’s portraits displayed a softer and more direct likeness. This is apparent in his portraits of Lewis Turner and Martha Anne Payne Turner, both painted in 1850. During his lifetime, he painted approximately 500 portraits of mostly well-known people in Missouri.
Bingham’s formal training consisted of three months of study at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Bingham’s return to Missouri in 1838 marks the beginning of his mature series of paintings. In the 1850s, Bingham began his Election series: Stump Speaking and Martial Law. While depicting political life on the frontier, these paintings showcase his talent for creating complex compositions. To reach a wider audience, Bingham produced many prints based on his paintings.
In 1856, Bingham traveled to Germany to study with the masters of Dusseldorf School. This influence was apparent in his later, simplified compositions. In his paintings depicting river scenes, he reduced the number of figures, organized them along vertical and horizontal lines and created more static compositions. His new style became significantly atmospheric, sentimental and more painterly, but lost the directness he employed in his earlier artworks. In the end, his art gained a deeper sense of space and atmosphere.
Bingham was also politically active. In 1862, he served as the Missouri state treasurer and in 1872, he was appointed adjutant general of Missouri. His political views are apparent in a series of complex paintings, which were later reproduced in a series of prints. Art and political life became indistinguishable. While at the Dusseldorf School, Bingham was commissioned by the Missouri State Legislature to paint life-size portraits of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. The paintings were later lost in a fire.
Two years before his death, Bingham became the first professor of art at the University of Missouri. Bingham’s name is synonymous with art depicting life on the American Frontier during the second half of the 19th century. The narrative in his art is based on his direct experience of living in Missouri, which was a western state at the time.
After Bingham’s death in 1879, the public lost interest in his work. Renewed interest grew steadily after the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York purchased his painting, Fur Traders Descending the Missouri, painted in 1845. The Saint Louis Art Museum organized a major exhibition of this work in 1934.
George Caleb Bingham is now a world-renowned artist. His artworks are often included in major exhibitions around the world.
Bissell was born in Aurora, Illinois. From 1881 to 1883, he studied at Academie Julian in Paris with Gustave Boulanger, Jules Joseph Lefebvre and Gustave Claude Etienne Courtois.
Lady at her Dressing Table depicts a woman seated in an elaborately carved chair in front of her dressing table. She is wearing a deep golden yellow dress with white ruffles on the sleeves. The woman wears a gold chain with four strung turquoise stones around her neck. She holds the chain up while she looks in the mirror. Her head is turned away from the viewer, and her face is only partially visible in the small mirror, which has a disproportionately large and ornate frame.
The mirror suggests that she turned inward to gain self-knowledge rather than outward to the world. The woman connects to the world through the mirror, which serves as an intermediary. She seems lost in her thoughts. The manner in which she hold the chain in her hands, as well as the look in her eyes, emphasized this impression. Bissell uses analogous colors and sweeping curved lines to create a tranquil atmosphere conducive to meditation.
Charles W.A. Brewer was born in Canada. He lived and worked in St. Louis from 1836 until his death. In the 1850s, he worked in a brewery, and from 1860 until his death in 1898, he focused on art and music. Brewer is known for his portrait, still life and landscape paintings. Brewer's painting, View of the Old Courthouse at Cahokia, depicts a landscape with a French-Canadian log construction building set to the left of the composition with a small tree beside it. The house is surrounded by tall grasses, a group of small trees in the distance and a sky with white clouds. Lighter grasses by the house seem to form a path.
The house depicted in the painting was built in 1740, and originally served as the residence of French-Canadian immigrants. In 1793, the building was converted to a courthouse and served a variety of public purposes for about 20 years. The building was dismantled in 1901 and was rebuilt successfully at its original location in 1939. The new structure was able to incorporate materials from the original house. Now the building is a State Historic Site in Cahokia, Illinois, and serves as an example of a frontier courthouse.
Brewer's interest in painting the Old Cahokia Courthouse is a powerful visual document of a bygone era.
Carpenter was horn in Nashville, Tennessee. He moved to St. Louis when he was 28 years old. He attended the School of Fine Arts at Washington University in St. Louis. While in Paris during the summer of 1902, he studied at Academie Julian and the Academie Colarossi.
Lady in Green depicts a woman wearing a large bow, a hat and a deep green dress. A subtle landscape is in the background. Her head is turned to the left — her gaze directed at the viewer. Carpenter uses a limited, but rich palette. The face is the focal point of the painting. The structural elements of the painting are consistent. They contribute a visual balance that is subtly dynamic. The lines in the bow and the hat add visual movement.
Carpenter was awarded Honorable Mention at the Paris Salon in 1910; the Silver Medal at the San Francisco Exposition of 1915; as well as various awards from the Saint Louis Artists Guild. He consistently exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy between 1908 and 1931.
Cassady lived and worked in Indianapolis, Indiana. According to an announcement in the American Art News (Vol.20, No 18, Feb. 11, 1922), he was elected vice president of the Indiana Art Club at its annual meeting.
Summer Landscape is an Impressionist depiction of rolling green hills with a winding stream. Shrubs, stones, trees and hills are round-shaped. The restrained palette and even texture of the grass and leaves and the sky painted blue with smooth transitions into white clouds gives the painting an even appearance. This creates a sense of calm and meditative quietude. The rounded shapes also soften the overall appearance of the painting.
The stream, which forms a downward diagonal from left to right, is balanced by two, cone-shaped trees in the upper left quadrant. The features of the landscape are grouped in a rhythmic pattern along the diagonals. These features organize the painting visually and keep the viewer engaged. Throughout his life, Cassady remained engaged in the Indianapolis art scene and actively participated in individual and group exhibitions.
The 19th century American artist Harry Chase was born in Woodstock, Vermont, in 1853. He grew up on a farm in Iowa, landed in St. Louis as a teenager, and proceeded to study fine art at august institutions such as the National Academy of Design in New York City (1870-71), and the Royal Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, Germany (1872–1875). Returning to his hometown of St. Louis in 1876, he married a local girl, Emma Eames, in 1877, and they decamped back to Europe for a three year adventure together, where Harry studied privately under Paul Constant Soyer in Paris (1877–1878), and Hendrik Willem Mesdag at The Hague (1879), twice exhibiting at the Paris Salon in 1878 and 1879. It was during his studies under Mesdag that the sketches described above were created.
Beginning a precocious career in New York after returning from Europe, Harry quickly established himself as one of the elite American artists of the 1880s. He was elected an Associate National Academician (A.N.A.) in 1883, and was readily accepted as a member of some of the finest art clubs and art societies of the era. Tragically, Harry was struck down at the height of his powers as an artist, when he was confined to an insane asylum at the end of 1885, never to return to his studio. A long struggle with physical and mental ailments ended in 1889, when he died in Sewanee, Tennessee, at the age of 36.
Famous for his paintings of marine and coastal settings, Harry Chase was considered one of the finest American artists in this genre, and was especially known for his scenes of the fisher folk of Holland. Harry was a popular artist in his day, but has since fallen into obscurity. He is buried in Bellefontaine Cemetery in St. Louis, Missouri, next to his wife Emma.
Cherry was born in Quincy, Illinois. She studied with Richard Emil Miller at the St. Louis Art School. Later, she studied with Miller at the New York School of Arts, and with Hugh Breckenridge at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. She painted marine scenes, floral still life and landscapes.
In her work, On the Chili at Elsah, Cherry depicts a landscape with a tree that dominates the composition. The branches of the tree activate an otherwise tranquil scene and contribute to the organization of the space. The palette is well balanced and creates a serene atmosphere.
A very prolific artist, Cherry was a member of many art organizations, including the St. Louis Art Guild; the North Shore Arts Association; the Eight Philadelphia Women group, and the Rockport Art Association. She exhibited extensively at the Kansas City Art Institute; the Pennsylvania Academy and the St. Louis Art Guild.
Conway was born in St. Louis, Missouri. He studied at the Academie Julien, the Academie Modeme, and the Academic de la Grande Chaumiere. During his studies in France, he made a few short trips to North Africa. Upon his return, he studied at the Saint Louis School of Fine Arts. Conway taught at Washington University in St. Louis. He and noted artist, Max Beckmann, served together as faculty members.
A prolific St. Louis artist, Conway painted many urban scenes depicting well-known St. Louis landmarks. Saint Louis Levee depicts the Eads Bridge seen from the river's levee. The limited palette, dominated by reds and grays, contributes to an atmosphere where clouds, mist and smoke become indistinguishable.
Conway was a member of the St. Louis Artists' Guild and the Two-by-Four Society, located in St. Louis. His artworks were exhibited at the National Academy of Design; the Art Institute in Kansas City; the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the Saint Louis Art Museum.
Dawson was born in London, England. Showing talent at an early age, he found sponsorship that allowed him to study in Paris with Carolus Duran. In 1893 he moved to the United States, where he spent four years as the director of the Hartford Art Society in Connecticut. In spite of moving to St. Louis in 1904, he did not participate in the 1904 World's Fair.
Winter - Downtown St. Louis depicts a St. Louis street with snow-covered rooftops as chimney smoke rises in a gray sky. In this painting, Dawson limited his palette to red, white and gray. The strength of the painting is in the complex compositional structure balanced with a masterful manipulation of light.
Between 1904 and 1915, he taught at the St. Louis School of Fine Arts. He later moved to San Antonio, Texas, where he died in 1939. He was a restless and prolific artist. He had many exhibitions.
Estock was born in Yonkers, New York. In 1971, he studied painting at Washington University Art School in St. Louis. Estock also studied portraiture with Viktor De Jenney.
Prior to moving to St. Louis in 1950, he lived in Buffalo, New York, where he worked for Allied Chemical Company. While living in St. Louis, he worked at Monsanto Company until his retirement in 1982.
In 1970, he began painting portraits, and in 1981, he transitioned to painting scenes depicting St. Louis streets and alleys. The painting, Soulard, depicts two red-brick buildings. The partial view of one of the buildings is situated diagonally in the foreground. The gray garage door is predominant in its facade. Two small windows are placed symmetrically above the garage door, which creates a rhythm echoed by the brickwork band at the top. A second building is visible behind trees separated by what appears to be a light pole. A clothes line connected between the two houses is the only sign of human activity. The colors of the clothes on the line repeat, continuing the rhythm created by the band of bricks at the top of the building in the foreground. The pavement is painted in shades of gray.
Estock participated in the Kansas City Crown Center Art Festival; the Bellville, Illinois Fine Arts Festival; and Art Happening in Queeny Park, St. Louis.
Harles was born in St. Louis, Missouri. He attended the St. Louis School of Fine Arts where he studied with American Impressionist, Richard Miller. After earning a master's degree in fine arts from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, Harles returned to St. Louis and became a member of the St. Louis Artists' Guild.
Harles painted with a palette knife in a Cubist style. His subject matter included people, animals and colorful landscapes. Hillside Village depicts a summer landscape with trees and houses executed in strong, contrasting colors. The red house in the lower left quadrant is the focal point of the painting. The house is balanced by a very small portion of a roof in the right upper quadrant, and visible behind the foliage of a tree.
The cluster of white houses placed on an upward diagonal from left to right is balanced by the line which separates the sky from the hill. The overlapping of houses creates the illusion of depth. The warmer greens in the foreground and the cooler ones in the background emphasize this illusion. The tension created by compositional lines and colors keeps the viewer visually engaged.
Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Jones quit school at the age of 15 and ran away to California. Unable to support himself, he returned to St. Louis and worked as a house painter with his father. This turn of events proved to be pivotal for his later career as an artist. A self-taught painter and printmaker, Jones began exhibiting in St. Louis in the late 1920s. His paintings of this period are Regionalist rural scenes that depict wheat fields and wheat farming.
The first art award he won in 1931 helped him garner the attention of patrons whose financial support made it possible for him to travel to the artists' colony in Provincetown, Massachusetts. During the decade of the Great Depression, Jones became a member of the Communist Party. In 1932, Jones spent a brief period of time in Ste. Genevieve, where he met other artists with similar political views. After returning to St. Louis, he found that his supporters had become alienated by his political leanings and his Communist Party membership.
Jones left St. Louis for New York in 1935 to pursue his career in art. While forging his path in the art world, he identified his own struggles with those of rural and urban America. In 1936, Jones returned to Ste. Genevieve and headed the summer art school at the colony.
In 1934, Jones joined the Works Progress Administration (WPA), a New Deal program that employed struggling artists. Between 1934 and 1942, government officials commissioned more than 1,200 murals through the Procurement Division of the U.S. Treasury Department's Public Works of Art (PWA). Jones was awarded five major federal contracts which consisted of murals for the post offices at Magnolia, Arkansas, Threshing (1938); Anthony, Kansas, Turning a Corner (1939); Charleston, Missouri, The Harvest (1939); Seneca, Kansas, Men and Wheat (1940); and Dexter, Missouri, Husking Corn (1941).
In 1937, Jones received the prestigious Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship. The same year, his art was included in exhibitions at the Carnegie Institute. During World War II, Jones worked as a war artist for Life Magazine.
Throughout his artistic career, Jones created artworks that can be divided into three major styles: Regionalist (rural themes), Social Realist (urban and politically oriented) and Precisionist (compositions reduced to simple shapes and geometrical structures, with clear outlines and smooth surfaces).
The painting, Desolate Hills, completed c. 1930, depicts the plight of millions of families who lost their farms and their way of life. The drought, which began in 1931, exacerbated the effects of the Great Depression. The remnants of the dry, fallen tree in the foreground resemble a human begging for help. The dry branches seem like hands with lingers spread in desperation. The broken wires in the farm fence appear to be twisted in pain and add to the desolation that forced the inhabitants to leave. The bare hills in the background further emphasize the dry conditions. The only sign of life and hope is depicted in the areas of faint green grass that survived. The dark, ominous sky, painted in orange-red mixed with white and dark blue, seems to bear signs of despair instead of rain.
Desolate Hills is a strong visual statement of a bleak period that gripped most of country in the 1930s. Joints uses the landscape to criticize everything he thought was wrong with the Capitalist system. Jones employed the landscape as a vehicle to connect to the viewer.
In 1963, Jones died suddenly of a heart attack in Morristown, New Jersey. During his lifetime, he painted the Midwest with unparalleled passion and conviction.
Krafft was born in Redding, Ohio. His father, Carl R. Krafft, was born in Germany and immigrated to attend the seminary in Marthasville, Missouri. He was ordained as a Lutheran minister, and after marrying, his vocation required that his growing family move frequently. It is not clear when the family settled on the south side of Chicago, where they lived for an extended period of time.
Following in his father's footsteps, Carl R. Krafft enrolled in the seminary. He soon realized that it was not his calling and dropped out. In the early 1900s, he attended night classes at the Art Institute of Chicago while working as a commercial designer. According to the biography written by his daughter, Lal (Gladys Krafft) Davies, he was strongly influenced by Eugene Savage, Martin Hennings and Leon Kroll.
The painting, Ozark Covered Wagon, depicts a family absorbed in the chores associated with their lifestyle. The woman, wearing a long red dress, hangs clothes on a line supported by tall tree branches. The man, with his back to the viewer, carries a thick branch. White chickens gathered around a wooden cage emphasize the itinerant lifestyle of the family. They are near a body of water. The painting is divided in two distinct areas: the land and the sky with a large tree on the right side connecting them. The family occupies the lower half of the land with which they blend. The contrasting white wagon, surrounded by the dark mountains, trees and water, is the focal point of the painting.
A Regionalist artist painting in an Impressionist style, Carl Krafft was best known for painting landscapes. He and maintained a studio in Oak Park, Illinois. In 1912, he and Rudolph Ingerle created the Society of Ozark Painters art colony. Krafft's landscapes became so popular, they were often copied. As his notoriety grew, Krafft resented being considered a regionalist painter. He wanted a broader, more universal recognition.
Matthews was born in St. Louis, Missouri. He studied at the St. Louis School of Fine Arts and was active in the local art community.
Winter Morning depicts a winter landscape with a large tree in the foreground. The white snow unifies the composition. The houses have different geometric shapes and colors. The tree seems to be in a precarious balance as its branches spread across the top.
Matthews was a member of the St. Louis Artists' Guild; the Two-by-Four Society; Kit-Kat Club; Salmagundi Club, New York; and the New York Architectural League. He was a founding member of the Brooklyn Society of Artists. Matthews exhibited at the St. Louis Art Museum, the St. Louis Artists' Guild, and the St. Louis Society of Artists. He won the Ives Landscape Prize awarded by the St. Louis Artists' Guild.
McKinnie was born in Evanston, Illinois. She is also known as Miriam Hofmeier. She was a painter, muralist and lithographer. Her mother was an amateur painter, and her grandfather, William Wells, was a well-known wildlife painter who also worked in the art department at the Chicago Tribune.
Following the family tradition, McKinnie embarked on studying art at the Minneapolis School of Fine Art, the Kansas City Art Institute and the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. In 1930, she received her Master of Fine Arts Degree from the Instituto Allende in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. She worked in a variety of media, including oil, lithography, pen-and-ink and collage.
McKinnie taught at the Washington University School of Fine Art, and she was an active participant in the Ste. Genevieve Art Colony in Missouri. A member of the National Association of Woman Painters and Sculptors and the National Association of Women Artists, McKinnie's talent was often recognized and rewarded. Her artwork was included in many exhibitions, including the Chicago Art Institute and the Kansas City Art Institute.
Miriam McKinnie was one of the few women artists commissioned by the Federal Art Project (FAP). She also was commissioned by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) to paint murals and oil paintings of Midwest scenery for Illinois post offices.
Red Scarf, painted in 1948 in a geometric-abstract style, is representative of McKinnie's work. She employs several techniques to create an illusion of space and movement. The rich, dark colors in the background offset the bold bright colors outlined in black in the foreground. Her technique also includes the application of multiple glazes.
McKinnie's composition is based on vertical and horizontal lines with diagonals used to mark the legs, the right arm, the left hand and sections of the scarf. The hands and arms move in the opposite direction of the red scarf. Darker, muted reds are used to balance the bright red of the scarf. McKinnie used a complementary green color in the background which is known to visually recede, creating the illusion of depth. The bright red of the scarf in the foreground creates a greater space between the foreground and background.
The figure is in a pensive pose, while preoccupied with pushing the scarf toward the back of the head. The gesture and the scarf movement create an internal energy characteristic of McKinnie's work.
Miller was born in St. Louis, Missouri. He studied at the St. Louis School of Fine Arts. From 1898 to 1901, he studied at the Academie Julian in Paris. He resided in France until the outbreak of World War I in 1914.
He spent time working at Giverny, where a number of American Impressionist artists settled to work. All of them were inspired by the landscape, the overall atmosphere and the presence of Monet. Upon his return to America, he carried the Impressionist influences with him. Between 1915 and 1917, he taught Impressionist influenced art at the Stickney School in Pasadena, California.
Wild Flowers depicts an Impressionist landscape, with multicolored wild flowers along a stream. The composition is structured by the lush, dark green areas that run along the stream. The sky balances the grasses in the foreground. The painting is representative of Miller's work.
Miller was a member of the National Academy of Design; St. Louis Artists' Guild; the International Society of Painters; Sculptors and Engravers and the Giverny Group. He was a co-founder of the Provincetown Artists' Colony, located in Cape Cod.
He received numerous awards and prizes in America and abroad, including the Paris Salon (third place medal, 1900); National Academy of Design, New York (Clark Prize, 1915); and many more. He is represented at the Saint Louis Art Museum; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and the Cincinnati Museum.
Schlueter was a life-long resident of the St. Louis, Missouri area. She graduated from the art school at Washington University in St. Louis. She was a painter of portraits and landscapes in acrylic, watercolor, pastels and oil.
Schlueter participated in many individual and group exhibitions in area art galleries and in regional traveling shows. She was awarded numerous awards. She was an art instructor at Jefferson Barracks Hospital during World War II, and in the 1960s, she taught at the Art Center for Older Adults in St. Louis. She was a lifetime member of the St. Louis Artists' Guild.
Her painting, Mississippi River Levee, Winter Scene, depicts a river boat docked perpendicular to the shore. The diagonal shore line on the lower part of the painting divides it in two, with the snow covered land at the bottom. The sky and its reflection on the water in yellows and oranges form a larger area at the top. The boat, positioned horizontally in the painting, is a very strong presence due to its size and dark color. Wooden pieces placed in the left lower quadrant are apparently from a small boat washed ashore.
Nuderscher was born in St. Louis, Missouri. His father, a successful building contractor, wanted him to follow in his career in art. There are conflicting accounts regarding his education, and more often he is listed as self-taught. According to other accounts, he studied in New York, Philadelphia, Europe, and the School of Fine Arts at Washington University in St. Louis.
In 1904, Nuderscher won first prize in the St. Louis Artists' Guild Competition for a painting of the Eads Bridge. He also created commercial art. Nuderscher's repertoire included both urban and rural landscapes, which were characterized by smoky air, filtered sun and a misty haze.
The Ozark landscape was his favorite and best-known subject matter. He developed a palette of soft pastels that is recognizably his. Nuderscher painted several murals for which he earned national acclaim. One of his murals, The Apotheosis of St. Louis, painted in the St. Louis Board of Education assembly room, made national headlines in 1955 for featuring only white children.
The painting, Meramec, depicts a bend in the river with two trees in the foreground, rolling hills in the distance and a blue sky. It is painted in pastel colors with two dark trees on the left side of the painting. Mostly the trunks are visible. The water appears to flow calmly downstream. The air is filled with a thin haze that infuses the landscape with serenity.
Nuderscher was well respected for his artistic contributions, for being involved in the organization of the Society of Ozark Painters, and for founding the Nuderscher School of Art in St. Louis and the Ozark School of Art in Arcadia. In 1930, he was appointed area supervisor for the WPA Federal Arts Project in the St. Louis region. He was a member of the National Association of Mural Painters and of the Saint Louis Artists' Guild. He also served as president of the Independent Artists of St. Louis.
Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Bernard E. Peters studied in England, France, at Harvard University and the University of Missouri. He taught art at Cleveland High School in St. Louis, and was an active member of the St. Louis Art Guild.
In 1932, Bernard E. Peters, together with Jessie Beard Rickly and Aimee Goldstone Schweig, founded the Ste. Genevieve Art Colony in Ste. Genevieve, Missouri. Their intent was to create an environment similar to artists' communities on the East Coast.
The colony was an important art center for more than a decade. Important Regionalist painters, including Thomas Hart Benton, Joe Jones, Fred E. Conway, E. Oscar Thalinger, Joseph Paul Vorst and Matthew E. Ziegler, spent time there. The artists at the colony shared political and artistic views; however, each one followed an individual stylistic path.
The undated Summer Hilly Landscape with Cottage was probably painted not far from Ste. Genevieve in the 1930s. The luminous palette with yellow greens and the white clouds points to an optimistic mood. The painting depicts a cottage, far enough from the road and surrounded by grasses and trees with rolling hills in the background. The line of white clouds follows the movement of the hills. Human activity becomes apparent as the road winds by a house surrounded by trees and grasses. It appears that man and nature are in a peaceful balance.
Not all of Peters' paintings exude optimism. Other paintings are more somber and invite a reflection of a different kind—the negative impact of man on nature. The horizon line in most of his paintings is parallel with the top of the canvas, and the composition is activated by diagonals formed by depictions of trees, roads and shorelines. Peters' use of actual and implied texture contributes to a richness he balances well by tightly controlling the palette.
Despite being in very poor health from an early age, Peters produced a large amount of paintings, most of them landscapes.
In recent years, Peters' work received well-deserved attention from the public and critics alike.
Radulovic was born in Montenegro (the former Yugoslavia). At the age of 10, he immigrated to America with his family, who settled in New York. In 1931, he studied at the Saint Louis School of Fine Arts with Fred Carpenter and Fred Conway. In 1934, he won the Carnegie Fellowship to the Fogg Museum of Art at Harvard University. In 1941, he enlisted in the U.S Army and served for four years as a combat artist.
The Card Players depicts three men around a table playing cards. The only visible piece of furniture is the table. They seem to be seated on chairs, however, the chairs are obstructed by the three seated men. All three figures have disproportionately large hands, an allusion to the early days when Radulovic worked in a coal mine in Illinois.
Radulovic was a member of the St. Louis Artists' Guild. His work is represented in museums around the world, including the St. Louis Art Museum, the Whitney Museum in New York, and the National Gallery in Rome.
Schweig was born in St. Louis, Missouri. She studied at the Saint Louis School of Fine Arts. She went on to study in Provincetown, Massachusetts with Charles Hawthorne and Henry Hensche.
Sunday’s Best depicts a woman in a green dress with ruffles around the neck and sleeves. She wears a lightly colored hat with a yellow bow in the back. The woman is sitting in a red chair. Her body and head are slightly turned, however, her eyes are making contact with the viewer, and she has a slight smile. The background doesn’t offer details to enrich the context.
Schweig was a cofounder of the art colony and school in Ste. Genvieve. In St. Louis, she taught art for 25 years at Mary Institute (MICDS). She exhibited extensively in the Midwest.
Smith was born in St. Louis, Missouri. He studied architecture at Princeton University and at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. He practiced architecture in St. Louis for several years; however, after a few years, he embarked upon a career in art.
Alter spending 10 years in New York, where he studied with Thomas Hart Benton and printmaker Peggy Bacon, in 1942 Smith returned to St. Louis.
In 1985, the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis organized a retrospective of Smith's work.
Emily B. Summa was born in Mannheim, Germany. She studied at the Saint Louis School of Fine Arts and at Washington University in St. Louis with Impressionist painters Dawson Dawson-Watson, Edgar Bissell and Frederick Sylvester.
Summa was a member of the Saint Louis Artists' Guild, where in 1917, she earned the Frederick Oakes Sylvester prize for landscapes. In 1916, she participated in the Corcoran Gallery Biennial in Washington D.C. She also participated in many individual and group exhibitions in St. Louis.
A regional landscape artist, Summa masterfully handles color and balance in her paintings. In Spring Landscape with Red Bud and Dogwood Tree she uses the trunks and the branches of the trees to visually organize the space. Delicate and powerful, the dark brown of the wood provides strong compositional lines. The colors add to a sense of a quiet balance. Green is the predominant color and functions as background, at the same time unifying the composition. The darker pink recedes, while the white becomes the focal point. The yellow mixed in with the green creates areas of apparent internal light.
Emily Summa contributed to the depth of painting in the Midwest.
Svendsen was born in Nittedal, Norway. He studied in Norway until the early 1890s when he studied with Edward F. Ertz at the Academie Delecluse in Paris. His family moved to America in 1894, and settled in Chicago. Svendsen settled in St. Louis in the early 1900s.
Night Light depicts a snow-covered landscape at night. Small houses are on both sides of the road. One house has the door open and the light shines on the snow. This landscape is typical of his work.
Svendsen's work has been exhibited at Newhouse Galleries in St. Louis, the Chicago Art Institute and the Union League Club of Chicago.
Sylvester was born in Brockton, Massachusetts. He studied at the Massachusetts Normal School in Boston. After graduation, he taught art at Newcomb College in New Orleans. In 1892, he moved to St. Louis where he accepted a teaching position at Central High School. Sylvester taught there for a year until he was offered the position of art director for Principia School, located in St. Louis County.
Elsah Bluff Farm depicts the artist's summer cottage on the bluff northwest of Elsah, Illinois. He used a limited palette of related colors to create scenes infused with tranquility. Although the scene is set by the river, his focus is on the landscape.
Sylvester won the bronze medal at the St. Louis Louisiana Purchase Exposition of 1904. He also won a silver medal at the Portland Exposition of 1905. He was an active member in the St. Louis art scene, and was a founding member of the St. Louis Two-by-Four Club. He was the president of the St. Louis Artists' Guild from 1906 to 1909.
Thalinger was born in Alsace-Lorraine, France. His parents moved to America when he was four years old. In 1900, he enrolled in the St. Louis School of Fine Arts. He studied painting, drawing and sculpture. While studying in Munich, Thalinger was exposed to French Cubism and German Abstract Expressionism which later influenced his work.
Thalinger was a dedicated observer of the world around him. For a decade spanning between the late 1920s and early 1930s, he painted landscapes and old landmarks. He dedicated long hours to absorbing the colors around him, distilling them, and allowing them to flow from the tip of his brush. Thalinger did not just paint nature, the objects and people in front of him, he painted their essence and their spirit.
The City Night depicts the essence of a city—its lights at night. The patterns formed by the lights against the dark sky constantly straddle the line between representation and abstraction. The lights offer a point of departure for the artist's vision. At the same time, their abstract forms reference the real world.
Thalinger exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago; the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts; the St. Louis Art Museum; the Kansas City Art Institute and the St. Louis Artists' Guild. He was a member of the Artists Equity Association; the Ste. Genevieve School of Art and the Society of Independent Artists.
Thalinger worked at the Saint Louis Art Museum as registrar for nearly 40 years.
Joseph Paul Vorst was born in in 1897 in Essen, Germany. He served during World War I when he permanently injured his leg. He studied painting at the National Academy of Berlin with well-known German Impressionist Max Liebermann. He traveled to France to study paintings by Manet. In 1930, Vorst immigrated to the United States to escape the Nazis. He settled in St. Louis and spent time in Ste. Genevieve, Missouri.
From 1932 through 1941, Vorst participated in the Ste. Genevieve Art Colony and its summer school. In 1936, he became a member of the American Artists' Congress. He was deeply concerned with Fascism in Europe.
In the 1930s, Vorst was a very well-known artist in the United States. He participated in exhibitions at the Art Institute of Chicago, the New York World's Fair and the Golden Gate International Exposition in San Francisco. He had individual exhibitions in New York, Washington, D.C. and St. Louis.
Vorst participated in the Works Progress Administration (WPA) during the Great Depression. In 1942, Vorst painted the mural "Time Out" in the Bethany, Missouri post office. It was commissioned by the New Deal Agencies: Treasury Section of Fine Arts. He also painted a mural for the historic post office in Paris, Arkansas, titled Rural Arkansas, and another mural for the post office in Vandalia, Missouri titled Corn Harvest. The Regionalist content and style he employed in the execution of these murals is recognizably his. Vorst was a friend and artistic influence to artists Joe Jones and Thomas Hart Benton.
The painting titled Gallows and the lithograph titled Flood Waters depict the grim realities of economic distress compounded by natural disaster. Both color and composition emphasize the tragic desperation experienced during the Great Depression.
Vorst died of an aneurysm in 1947. His artworks are owned and prominently displayed by the Chicago Art Institute; the Corcoran Gallery; the Whitney Museum of American Art; The National Gallery of Art; the Smithsonian Institute; the Carnegie Museum of Art; the Saint Louis Art museum and in many private collections.
A renewed interest in Regionalism refocused the attention of the art world to an area of the country that continues to contribute exceptional talent to the national scene.
Woolrych was born in Sydney, Australia. He studied at the Royal Academy in Berlin, Germany and at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts.
Trading Day At Castle Rock is an American Impressionist depiction of the Mississippi River with a rocky bluff to the left. A group of Native Americans and traders are gathered in the shade. Their canoes are nearby. It is a beautiful, sunny day with one large cloud on the right side of the painting which visually balances the rock on the left.
Woolrych was a member of the Hellas Art Club, the St. Louis Artists' Guild, and the Two-by-Four Society, located in St. Louis, Missouri. His work has been exhibited at the St. Louis Public Library and the Alabama State Capitol.
Wuerpel was born in St. Louis, Missouri. His family moved to Mexico when he was a child. In 1879, he returned to St. Louis to study engineering at Washington University. In 1887, he became ill and went to Australia to focus on his health. Once recovered, he returned to St. Louis and decided to pursue his passion for art. He enrolled in the School of Fine Arts at Washington University in St. Louis.
Between 1891 and 1893, Wuerpel went to Paris to study at the Academie Julian and the Ecoledes Beaux-Arts. He studied with Jean-Leon Gerome and William Adolphe Bouguereau. While in Paris, he became friends with American painter James Abbott McNeill Whistler.
Wuerpel painted landscapes in a style that is characterized by a limited palette. The paintings Night Watch and New Day arc typical examples of his work.
In Night Watch, the main compositional lines consist of verticals and horizontals. The high contrast of the birch trees, with three in the foreground on the left and two in the middle ground, emphasizes the verticals. The thin, subtle white branches moving upwards, away from their trunks, provide an illusion of motion. The downward arch formed by the dark area at the top of the painting counteracts the fanning out of the dark tree in the center of the composition.
In New Day, the light source is also on the horizon, and the landscape is lit from behind, creating the same flattening effect. Fewer trees are obstructing the light, and more water reflects the sky, making this landscape more luminous.
In addition to his artistic career, Wuerpel was the dean of the St. Louis School of Fine Arts at Washington University for more than 30 years and taught for 58 years. According to his account, Wuerpel produced 1,100 paintings.
Pictured: View of Glouster Harbor by Kathryn E. Cherry
Our unique art collection transcends beauty and decoration by:
- Enriching the total educational experience with an atmosphere of respect and appreciation for art;
- Offering an opportunity to understand art as a reflection of cultures throughout the world; and
- Recognizing artists whose works allow SLUH students, staff and its wider community to experience these works in themselves and the broader statements these artists make through their art.