A Sign of Things to Come? Hutchinson Letter on eBay.

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.

Letter from Mary E. Hutchinson to Mrs. Jones

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.)
Sincerely –

Mary E. Hutchinson

[notation in different hand below signature]
American artist Mary Elizabeth Hutchinson


Mary E. Hutchinson’s “Joanna” Featured on Cover of Feminist Studies

November 3, 2012 § Leave a comment

Fem Studies Cover Summer 2012Mary 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!

Mary E. Hutchinson’s “Don Sheldon”

October 27, 2012 § 1 Comment

Don Sheldon 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.

Don Sheldon 1

Don Sheldon 2

Don Sheldon 3

Mary E. Hutchinson’s “Greenhouse”

October 20, 2012 § Leave a comment

GreenhouseI’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!

Wanderer Featured on Mary E. Hutchinson site

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.title unknown [Wanderer]  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.”

Oops! Correction! “Man in Blue”

October 11, 2012 § Leave a comment

The owner of “Man in Blue” tells me that according to family tradition the model for the painting is Philip Lanza – not Phil Singer.  Philip Lanza was the brother of Joanna Lanza who lived with Hutchinson from 1931-1935.  Lanza came from a large family and Hutchinson painted many portraits of her sisters.

Recently Found Hutchinson Painting!

October 9, 2012 § Leave a comment

Man in BlueI’ve recently located Mary E. Hutchinson’s painting probably titled “Man in Blue” (ca. 1932) through this blog!  The subject is most likely Phil Singer who was a friend of the artist.  Hutchinson exhibited “Man in Blue” in New York and at Atlanta’s High Museum of Art in 1932.  For more information, check out Artworks of Mary E. Hutchinson, my digital catalogue “work in progress” site.

Mary E. Hutchinson’s “Aria Trista”

October 4, 2012 § Leave a comment

Check out “Aria Trista” now featured at Artworks of Mary E. Hutchinson, the digital catalogue I curate.  Hutchinson’s partner, Joanna Lanza, served as the model for this early painting (ca. 1931), and the composition is similar to the portrait of “Joanna [with pillow]”.

Aria TristaHutchinson exhibited “Aria Trista” numerous times in New York, and also in Atlanta as part of her large summer solo show at the High Museum of Art in 1932.  She appears to have sold it after her ca. 1938-39 retrospective exhibition staged at the Barbizon Hotel for Women.  The location of the painting is currently unknown.

Hutchinson in Feminist Studies

September 14, 2012 § 1 Comment

My first scholarly article on Mary E. Hutchinson is forthcoming in the journal Feminist Studies (summer 2012) which should be out any day now.  The essay is titled “Mary E. Hutchinson, Intelligibility, and the Historical Limits of Agency.”  The essay, which will include several color images of Hutchinson’s work, provides an introduction to the artist and her work particularly in light of the recent exhibition of Two of Them (ca. 1933) in Coming Home: American Paintings 1930-1950, From the Schoen Collection sponsored by the Georgia Museum of Art and the Mobile Museum of Art.

Gender Profiling?

April 21, 2012 § Leave a comment

I came across this passage in Edith Bolling Wilson’s 1939 autobiography.  She recounts an adventure in 1913 (before she married Woodrow Wilson) while accompanying friends around familiar London tourist attractions:

“… as I had been there many times before, I took my fountain pen and some writing paper in my bag to write some letters while the others went through the Tower.

On reaching the entrance [to the Tower of London] I was surprised to be told that on account of the outrages committed by the Suffragettes no one was allowed to carry anything in his hand; purses and bags must be sealed and checked at the gate.  I took out the paper and fountain pen and asked if I could take them with me.  The officer solemnly examined the pen and handed it back, saying:  “Thank you, I see no harm in that.”  I found a nice shady corner on one of the side entrances and settled myself to write.  Deep in a letter, I suddenly became aware of being watched.  I looked up to find a tall Britisher in a crimson-coated uniform, holding a gun, standing above me.  I was so surprised that involuntarily I said: “What’s the matter?” and before he replied I realized I was the centre of a circle of onlookers.  He said: “I am here to watch you; we don’t trust women these days.”  It was the day of tight skirts, so I could not have concealed a bomb had I tried, but it was so funny that even the soldier smiled when two others joined him and the three stood over me until my friends returned. . .”

Edith Bolling Wilson, My Memoir (New York: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1939), 42-43.

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