Elizabeth Catlett (1915-2012)

"Printmaking for [Elizabeth] Catlett is a consciously political practice. At the same time, however, her prints – some intricately detailed and others elegantly spare – manifest her understanding that the power of an image resides in the artist’s command of form, sensitivity to materials and technical proficiency."

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Jacob Armstead Lawrence (1917-2000)

When Jacob Lawrence died in Seattle in 2000, the New York Times described him as "One of America's leading modern figurative painters" and "among the most impassioned visual chroniclers of the African-American experience." His North Carolina connection was his first teaching job, at Black Mountain College in 1946, after having served in the U.S.Navy recording in paint the life on board the first integrated ship in the naval services during World War II.

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Ella E. Richards (active 1st half of 20th cent.)

Ella E. Richards "has just completed two important portrait commissions, one [of which is] a full-length presentment of Nell Morgan Nash, violinist. The subject is shown in a full standing pose, wearing a black velvet gown, cleverly handled to enhance the brilliancy of her complexion. In one hand her violin is gracefully held and the composition is able and interesting. It is also an excellent likeness." (American Art News June 21, 1913, p.3)

Information about Ella Richards is sparse, but ...

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Frank Stanley Herring (1894-1966)

Frank Stanley Herring was a friend of the family of Mickey Coe (Mildred McKinney, Paul Whitener’s future wife) and his first paintings of that family was of Mickey and two of her sisters. From left to right, with approximate ages: Thelma Anne McKinney (15), Ida Jones McKinney (17), and Mildred Missouri McKinney (14). There was a fourth sister, Edith, who was 12 at the time and had brown hair and eyes.  From a reminiscence by Edith's daughter Pat Turner about her mother, “She must have been devastated to be left out.”

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A Tragic Tale from the Collection.

In 1939, before the Museum was established, Paul Whitener was commissioned by former Hickory Mayor Phillip J. Suttlemyre (1937-1938) to paint his 9 year old son Charles, which he did charmingly. Years later, in the spring of 1960, on Friday May 13th the headlines of the Hickory Daily Record read “Mentally Ill Son Charged in Matricide.” Charles G. Suttlemyer was said to have admitted killing his mother by bludgeoning her with a souvenir tomahawk.

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Wilford Seymour Conrow (1880-1957)

Teacher, mentor, friend, benefactor: Wilford Conrow was all those things to Paul Whitener, HMA’s founder. Conrow was one of few painters who had not only a college degree but business experience as well. This background along with Conrow's many connections in the art world served Paul very well in establishing the fledgeling museum.

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Asher Brown Durand (1796-1886)

Asher Brown Durand is known as a prolific American painter of the Hudson River School; and before that he was a prolific engraver. He turned to painting in his mid-30’s, first doing portraits (such as in 1835 of Andrew Jackson who was then President) before moving on to landscapes. His landscapes show the engraver’s close attention to detail: as an example, in his Pastoral Scene, every bit of foliage can be individually distinguished. How was he regarded by his contemporaries?

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