Mary E. Hutchinson Calling Hampton Manor, NY

June 26, 2015 § Leave a comment

I’ve been getting a lot of web traffic from Hampton Manor, New York to my Artworks of Mary E. Hutchinson site.  What’s going on up there?  Does someone have a painting?

Mary E. Hutchinson cartoon "Atlanta Calling New York"Hutchinson drew this “funny” or cartoon depicting herself and her parents Merrill and Minnie Bell to encourage them to give her a call in the early 1940s.



Toy Jungle Featured on Hutchinson Site

November 30, 2013 § 1 Comment

Toy Jungle

Toy Jungle, ca. 1934

“Toy Jungle” is currently featured on my omeka site, Artworks of Mary E. Hutchinson.  For a still life of children’s toys and objects, it is really rather dark with a grimacing jack-o-lantern, gasping fish, and toppled bird figurine.  Hutchinson also painted a companion canvas titled “Spark Plug” which has a cheerier disposition.

Spark Plug

Spark Plug, ca. 1934

Both paintings may be easel versions of Hutchinson’s 1933 WPA mural “Jungle.”  I don’t know where the mural was and have little hope that it has survived, but I have located both “Toy Jungle” and “Spark Plug” in private collections.


“Two of Them” Featured on Mary E. Hutchinson Site

July 14, 2013 § Leave a comment

Two of ThemThis painting marks Mary E. Hutchinson’s big break in the New York art world because of the attention drawn to the artist when the High Museum of Art in Atlanta acquired it in 1934.  The purchase came a year after Hutchinson first exhibited “Two of Them” in New York, but coincided with her first big New York solo exhibition at the Midtown Galleries.

The High Museum deaccessioned the painting around 1998 and it was bought at auction by Jason Schoen.  As a result, “Two of Them” became the first Hutchinson painting to be exhibited in an art venue since around 1953.

For more about the history of the painting and its exhibition see the Artworks of Mary E. Hutchinson at

More About Etchings – Mary E. Hutchinson Site

June 16, 2013 § 1 Comment

Bearded Man Etching

This Bearded Man (ca. 1929) is another etching done by Mary E. Hutchinson as a student at the National Academy of Design.  You can see other examples of her work at my digital archiving site The Artwork of Mary E. Hutchinson at

A few posts back, I shared a bit of a letter Hutchinson wrote to her mother (Minnie Belle Hutchinson) describing the etching process.  Here’s more from a second letter she wrote a few days later in late January or early February, 1929:

“I had to turn in some work today at school for the exams – all classes.  In the etching class, I finished drawing on my first plate, biting it and cleaning it all ready for printing.  I think I explained to you the preparing of the rosin ground on the plate – heating, waxing, rolling, smoking, rinsing.  If the ground has a good gloss, is thin, and yet thoroughly covers and protects the plate, it is all right for drawing.  First you make a drawing on paper to get your placement and effects of shading (just the scratches on the plate are very confusing to the eye, and besides allow for no change at all).  You finish your drawing, then shave off some fine red chalk like powder and rub onto the back of the paper, very smooth.  You then fold the paper carefully on the prepared plate, and with a sharp pencil go over your main lines, which trace on the wax but do not cut through, of course.  Then you work direct on the plate from the model, and it certainly is confusing.  The model poses three times, in this case last Saturday morning, Thursday afternoon and this morning.  But during that time you have to work on your plate as well as draw.  I finished drawing about the middle of the morning.  Then the complicated process of biting the plate.  The back of the plate, sides, any exposed spot on the plate must be painted with asphaltum to protect it from the acid.  When this is thoroughly dry you place the plate on a string and with that dip it in acid for two minutes, feathering it all the while, to keep air bubbles out of the lines.  After biting you wash the plate in water and blot it.  With more asphaltum you again stop out parts, delicate lines you do not want to go too deep in the plate.  After two or three such bitings in the acid, you clean all the ground off, and the plate is ready for printing.”

Etching Featured on Mary E. Hutchinson Site

June 9, 2013 § 1 Comment

Cathedral St. John the Divine

Currently featured on Artworks of Mary E. Hutchinson at – “Cathedral St. John the Divine,” etching (ca.1929).

As a student at the National Academy of Design in New York, Mary E. Hutchinson learned to work in a variety of media including the art of etching which was very popular in the 1920s.  She viewed the Cathedral of St. John the Divine from her apartment window every day and made both an etching and a drawing of it.

Hutchinson began etching in January 1929 and wrote her mother, Minnie Belle, a detailed description of the process:

“I can stay in the etching class all right I think, but I have such loads to learn!  Mr. Leavy came in yesterday morning.  So Friday afternoon I worked, lay[ing] another ground on a plate, and printing the trial plate I had made.  Part of Thursday I worked in the room, biting my trial plate.  I certainly make lot of slips, with no one to tell me much.

You first take a zinc plate, clean it with the finest emory paper and then benzene.  You put the plate on a stone, holding it with a vice.  When it is almost hot enough to sizzle (but it must not sizzle), you rub rosin on it through a silk rag; then with a rubber roller, you roll the wax very evenly, and very thin on the plate.  The heat of the plate must be just right to do this, and your pressure just right, and even the most experienced often have to lay a ground three or four times before it is right.  The coating has to be very thin, yet perfectly cover the plate.  Any part too thin, or a tiny porous place like a pin mark, the acid will bite through.  When the ground is on right, and the plate still warm, it is smoked then cooled.  That is all I had better explain at present.”

Sold at Auction! Mary E. Hutchinson’s “Rosalie”

April 2, 2013 § 1 Comment

Rosalie [tropical background]

Mary E. Hutchinson’s 1933 portrait of Rosalie Lanza sold at auction last week.  This is one of several portraits of Rosalie painted by Hutchinson between 1932-1935.  The subject was the sister of Hutchinson’s partner, Joanna Lanza.  For the exhibition history and more about the artist, see my digital catalog Artworks of Mary E. Hutchinson at

Needless to say, I would love to hear from the new owner of “Rosalie”!  Leave a comment and let’s connect.

Pen & Ink Drawings Posted on Mary E. Hutchinson Site

March 15, 2013 § 1 Comment

Ruth Playing the BroomI have just added several pen and ink drawings to my digital archiving site The Artworks of Mary E. Hutchinson at

Feeding Little CrittersHutchinson made these drawings between 1942 and 1945 depicting her topsy turvy daily life as she and Ruth Layton cared for the children of a close friend who appears to have been suffering from severe depression and may have been institutionalized.  To view all of these drawings posted so far, click here and then select “Browse Items” from the top menu.  Then click “Browse By Tag,” and finally select “pen & ink” from the tag cloud.

Tell me about your experience navigating my Hutchinson site by leaving a reply here.

Mary E. Hutchinson’s “Cat” Sold at Auction!

March 4, 2013 § Leave a comment

CatI’ve just learned that Mary E. Hutchinson’s ca. 1934-35 painting “Cat” was recently sold at auction.  Hutchinson exhibited the painting at the Washington Square Sidewalk Show probably in 1934 and then again at the Argent Galleries in New York in 1935.  The Argent Galleries was associated with the National Association of Women Artists.

“Cat” is currently featured on my digital archiving site, Artworks of Mary E. Hutchinson at

Mary E. Hutchinson’s “George” or “Shine Boy”

March 3, 2013 § 1 Comment

George or Shine BoyI have recently added this portrait of George Griffiths to the Artworks of Mary E. Hutchinson at   It is one in a series of paintings made by Hutchinson in 1936-37 of Griffiths who she probably encountered at the Harlem Community Art Center where she worked for the Federal Art Project.  The title of this work is probably either “George” of “Shine Boy” or it seems likely that Hutchinson exhibited the painting twice under the two different titles.

I am currently researching and thinking through issues of mid-twentieth century cross racial representation and would love to hear from others working on this issue.

“George Griffiths” Added to Mary E. Hutchinson Site

February 25, 2013 § Leave a comment

George Griffiths

I’ve recently added a portrait of “George Griffiths” to the Artworks of Mary E. Hutchinson, a digital archiving work-in-progress site.  Hutchinson painted a series of paintings in 1936-37 featuring Griffiths who was described in one news article as a young friend of the artist.  Most likely, Hutchinson encountered Griffiths at the Harlem Community Art Center while working for the New York Federal Art Project.

The location of the portrait is currently unknown, but Hutchinson retained a professionally produced portfolio photograph that documents the painting.

Griffiths is also the subject of “George Sleeping” which is currently featured at

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