Southern Ohio Museum

Portsmouth, OH



Brush with Light: Watercolor Painters of Northeast Ohio


"Brush with Light: Watercolor Painters of Northeast Ohio," the first exhibition examining the historical origins and development of the watercolor movement in northern Ohio, opened March 2,1999 in the Southern Ohio Museum's Kricker Gallery. The show, organized by the Cleveland Artists Foundation and curated by Dr. William Robinson of the Cleveland Museum of Art, was on display in Portsmouth through April 10, 1999.

Left to right: Clarence Holbrook Carter (1904-2000), Jesus Wept, 1936, 14 1/2 x 21 1/4 inches; Charles Burchfield (1893-1967), Summer Landscape, c. 1916, 14 x 18 inches; George Adomeit (1879-1967), Mayfield Road, South Euclid Looking West on Green, c. 1932, 11 x 15 inches; Joseph O'Sickey (b. 1918), Dredging Barge, Stonington, 1956, 14 1/4 x 21 1/2

Among the sixty art works in the exhibition are paintings by prominent artists such as Charles Burchfield, August F. Biehle (1885-1979), Henry George Keller (1870-1949), William Sommer (1867-1949) and Frank Nelson Wilcox. The Southern Ohio Museum is the second venue for the exhibit, which opened at the Beck Center for the Arts in Cleveland. The show will conclude at the Ohio Arts Council's Riffe Gallery in Columbus.

Of great interest to area residents was the inclusion of art of Clarence Carter, who emerged as a major watercolorist in the region in the early part of the 20th century. In 1924 Carter enrolled in the Cleveland School of Art where he was "discovered" by William Milliken, then director of the institution. Carter is represented with four paintings in the exhibition, three on loan from the Southern Ohio Museum and a private lender. A portion of the exhibit catalog describes his career, painting style and his works in the exhibit.

Left to right: Paul Shively (1897-1987), Notre Dame de Paris, 1930, 12 x 18 inches; Carl Broemel (1891-1984), Black Shadows, c. 1942, 13 1/4 x 19 1/4 inches; Henry G. Keller (1869-1949), Cliff Rythms, 1913, 20 1/2 x 14 1/2 inches; Paul Travis (1891-1975), Campfire Scene, Kenya, 1928, 14 x 20 inches

"In the 1920s Cleveland surpassed Boston as the country's leading center of watercolor painting....such attention helped to bring about the identification of a 'Cleveland School' of artists," states the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History.

The watercolor movement in Northeast Ohio began with Henry Keller's appointment as an instructor of watercolor painting at the Cleveland School of Art and ended with Milliken's retirement as director of the school.

Left to right: August Biehle (1885-1979), Study for Great Lakes Mural, 1936, 20 x 30 inches; Lawrence Blazey (b. 1894), Church at Porto Penso, Mexico, c. 1928, 15 x 20 inches; Frank N. Wilcox (1887-1964), Under the Big Top, c. 1930; Viktor Schreckengost (b. 1890), All Quiet, 1946, 22 x 30 inches

"While Keller founded the region's watercolor tradition, Milliken was its most ardent supporter. Keller inspired students and colleagues to emulate his watercolor methods; Milliken then brought national attention to the region's watercolorists through a series of touring exhibitions. Through their commitment and enthusiasm for watercolor, both men contributed to the establishment of a sustained watercolor tradition in the region," said Robinson and exhibition project coordinator Ann Caywood Brown in the catalogue's forward.

The exhibition will also be shown at the Rice Gallery of the Ohio Artists Council in Columbus Ohio from April 22 through July 10, 1999. The Rice Gallery may be reached at 614-728-2239.

rev. 10/11/00

Hours and admission fees are available on the Museum's website.


Editor's Note: For bibliographical information on several of these artists please see Ohio Impressionists and Post-Impressionists; essay by James M. Keny (4/8/05)

For further biographical information on selected artists cited above please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.

rev. 9/20/10


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