Feature Articles

December Issue 2001

New Book Published on Tryon, NC, Artists 1892-1942

The first published history of the Tryon, NC, artists' colony before World War II, entitled, Tryon Artists 1892-1942 , is now available. Written as a result of the 2001 exhibition Tryon Artists 1892-1942: The First Fifty Years, presented by the Upstairs Gallery in Tryon, the book profiles painters, sculptors, illustrators, and art photographers associated with the mountain colony, which was then NC's most vital visual arts community. Designed by Carolie DuBose Bartol and authored by Michael McCue, it has illustrated biographies of 40 individuals with 37 artist portraits, 60 black and white and 78 color illustrations.

Some of the forty artists are relatively familiar names in American art history, such as Elliott Daingerfield, Lawrence Mazzanovich, Josephine Sibley Couper, Lorado Taft, and Augustus Vincent Tack. Others such as Amelia Watson, Homer Ellertson, Gabrielle Clements, and Joseph Birren, are less well known but are becoming increasingly appreciated in recent years. For many, the book provides the first published biographical material - among them the sculptor Harold Perry Erskine, landscape painters Diana Nash and Louis Rowell, and portrait painters William Steene and George B. Shepherd.

Edward Waldo Emerson, son of writer Ralph Waldo Emerson, was an artist, art teacher, and a winter resident of Tryon for many years who attracted a number of prominent cultural figures from New England. Gertrude Spurr Cutts was a painter from Canada. Madeline Yale Wynne was a noted metalworker and jewelry designer, and an important link between Tryon and the Chicago art scene as well as the important Arts and Crafts colony at Deerfield, Massachusetts. Margaret Morley, who grew up in Brooklyn, was the first "art" photographer to document, in the 1890s, native people of the Southern Highlands. Amelia Van Buren, who moved to the Tryon colony circa 1901, was in the circle of famous artist Thomas Eakins in Philadelphia. Artists like Lois Wilcox and Fred Reich grew up in the Tryon colony and later made their careers in the major metropolises. The book portrays a fluid visual arts community that was remarkably cosmopolitan and came from eclectic backgrounds.

While the village has always been known as a magnet for writers, intellectuals and artists, McCue's introductory essay suggests why Tryon has not been previously recognized in the scholarly literature. He describes the origins of the colony, how it developed and changed over half a century, and portrays its role vis-a-vis North Carolina and the South as well as the nation's art history. An appendix lists 30 more visual artists who lived, worked, or sojourned in Tryon before World War II.

Tryon Artists 1892-1942 is available from Condar Press in a limited, numbered edition of 500 octavo copies. Further info can be found at their web site (http://www.condar.com/press) or by writing PO Box 250, Columbus, NC 28722.

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