January 22, 2013 § Leave a comment
Hutchinson painted several portraits of George Griffiths between 1934 and 1943. Griffiths worked as a shoeshine boy and probably crossed paths with the white woman artist from Atlanta at the Harlem Community Art Center in New York. Hutchinson, who was a supervisor of teachers for the New York Federal Art Project (one of many WPA art projects), worked out of the Art Center.
I am currently thinking through issues associated with trans-racial representation, particularly during the mid-twentieth century. I would love to hear from others who are working on or have written about similar questions.
January 2, 2013 § Leave a comment
I have added additional student work to The Artworks of Mary E. Hutchinson at http:/meh.omeka.net. Click “Browse Items” in the top menu, then select “Browse by Tag,” and choose “student work” to filter for Hutchinson’s work produced while a student at the National Academy of Design in New York. Mary Elisabeth Hutchinson attended the National Academy from 1926 to 1931.
Let me know about your experiences navigating the Hutchinson site so that I can make it as accessible as possible in the future!
December 8, 2012 § 1 Comment
Mary Elisabeth Hutchinson attended the National Academy of Design in New York from 1926 to 1931 on a tuition scholarship. Life Study classes which focused on the human figure – particularly the male nude – remained a significant focus in art academies at that time and provided something of a rite-of-passage.
This student Life Study drawing (ca. 1927-28) whose title is unknown (if Hutchinson ever gave it a title) and that I refer to as “life study male nude no. 3,” is currently featured on my companion “work in progress” digital archiving site The Artworks of Mary E. Hutchinson at http://meh.omeka.net.
It popped up on eBay in 2009 in a batch with five other similar student drawings. The eBay seller noted that this drawing was unsigned. The auction which listed an outrageous beginning bid expired with no takers. But the batch popped up again about a year later through a different seller – this time with a reasonable beginning bid – but minus this drawing. I’m happy to report that since I was about the only one interested in Hutchinson at the time, I managed to to get the batch without competition at the minimum bid. The eBay collector/seller reported that he had given the missing drawing to a friend.
Here’s a sneak preview of the other five student drawings not yet archived on The Artworks of Mary E. Hutchinson:
Keep an eye out for these to be added to The Artworks of Mary E. Hutchinson soon. You can click on “Browse Items” in the top menu, then select “Browse by Tag,” and choose “student work” to filter for Hutchinson’s work produced while a student at the National Academy.
Let me know about your experiences navigating the site so that I can make it as accessible as possible in the future!
December 2, 2012 § Leave a comment
Check out Mary E. Hutchinson’s painting “Sleep” (ca. 1940) currently featured on my digital archiving “work in progress” site at http://meh.omeka.net.
This is one of Hutchinson’s paintings also featured in my recent article published in Feminist Studies (summer 2012), “Mary E. Hutchinson, Intelligibility, and the Historical Limits of Agency.”
November 27, 2012 § 4 Comments
I just learned that Mary E. Hutchinson’s portrait of “Hilda” (ca. 1934) recently sold at Swann Auction Galleries! For more details about the painting and its exhibition history, see my digital archiving “work in progress” site – Artworks of Mary E. Hutchinson – at http://meh.omeka.net.
Needless to say, I would love to hear from the lucky collector who managed to scoop it up!
November 18, 2012 § 2 Comments
This letter from Mary E. Hutchinson to a Mrs. Jones (I have no idea who she is) popped up on eBay this week from a collectibles dealer specializing in autographs.
Here’s the transcription:
Dear Mrs. Jones –
Back in the crowded city, I often think of the luncheon in your beautiful home “in the woods.” If you ever get to New York, please come and see some of my paintings at my studio. And please mention to any of the art group that may come to New York, that I have a “Welcome” on my door. The address is
349 East 51 St.
(near 1st Ave. No phone. Just drop me a line.)
Mary E. Hutchinson
[notation in different hand below signature]
American artist Mary Elizabeth Hutchinson
November 3, 2012 § Leave a comment
Mary E. Hutchinson’s portrait of “Joanna” [purple shirt] (circa 1931-1935) is featured on the cover of the Summer 2012 issue of the journal Feminist Studies in conjunction with my essay, “Mary E. Hutchinson, Intelligibility, and the Historical Limits of Agency.” This is one of several portraits of Joanna Lanza, who lived with Hutchinson as her intimate partner from 1931 into 1935, and the one portrait that Hutchinson kept for herself.
The painting is also currently featured on The Artworks of Mary E. Hutchinson, my digital catalogue “work in progress” site.
I can tell that Feminist Studies has begun to appear in subscribers’ mailboxes across the globe from a spike in search traffic associated with my digital catalogue! Since Hutchinson has been a lost artist for the past half century – only a very few of us have been out there Googling her up to now. Fortunately for me, some of the others have been owners of paintings seeking information about the artist who have contacted me through this blog! I’m thrilled that scholars and other folks will now have the chance to learn about her life and work!
October 27, 2012 § 1 Comment
Mary E. Hutchinson’s portrait of her friend “Don Sheldon” (1950) is currently featured on my digital catalogue site at http://meh.omeka.net. Hutchinson and Sheldon became friends after she moved away from New York and back to her home town, Atlanta, in 1945. I believe that Sheldon was a window dresser for Rich’s Department Store who later attempted a career as a stand-up comedian.
Hutchinson exhibited the painting in 1953 at a New York exhibition of Georgia artists sponsored by the National Association of Women Artists which she had been a member of since 1934.
However, she painted the work in 1950 – and it is one of the few paintings with direct documentation for exactly when she painted it. A series of snapshot photos dated 1950 show Hutchinson working at her easel.
October 20, 2012 § Leave a comment
I’ve just added “Greenhouse” to my digital catalogue “work in progress” site Artworks of Mary E. Hutchinson. It was one of a series of boat paintings Hutchinson produced in 1931-1932 in an attempt to break into New York’s speculative art market. It worked with “Greenhouse” which sold to California collector Chauncey Goodrich on the first day of exhibition at an unknown New York gallery in 1932. I have not been able to track down the current location of the painting. For more information on “Greenhouse” and Hutchinson, check out http://meh.omeka.net. See also, last week’s post on “Wanderer.”
I would love to hear from anyone who has information on Chauncey Goodrich and/or the location of this painting!
October 14, 2012 § 2 Comments
This painting with an unknown title that I informally call “Wanderer” (ca. 1931) is currently featured on Artworks of Mary E. Hutchinson, my digital catalogue “work in progress” at http://meh.omeka.net. It is one of a series of boat paintings she produced as landscapes in response to advice from New York galleries to make her work more commercially viable. The Opportunity Gallery, which was associated with high profile artists including Walter Pach, John Sloan, Georgia O’Keeffe, Rockwell Kent, Robert Henri, and Charles Demuth who acted as exhibition “Czar”, specifically advised Hutchinson to paint landscapes to break into the speculative New York art market. The strategy worked, and though she never exhibited at the Opportunity Gallery, she did begin to sell work and draw media attention at exhibitions such as the Washington Square sidewalk show.
Here’s an excerpt from a letter to her mother, Minnie Belle Hutchinson, describing her hikes to sketch and paint boats:
Circa November 24, 1931 – “I was over the river all day, painting. I made my paint box as light as possible. The children of the neighborhood just swarmed around me like bees…. I always enjoy the ferry ride over and back…. Two more days out, and more painting at home, and I hope to finish this one. I have a smaller sketch ready for another painting. It is of a single boat with barges on the side.”