images from the Gibbs Museum, Charleston
Elizabeth O'Neill Verner (1883-1979) was born and raised in Charleston and is perhaps the best known artist of the Charleston Renaissance, a movement of southern realist painters working in the first half of the twentieth century. She excelled at etching, like Alfred Hutty, but is better known for her pastel on silk paintings of the black street vendors still found in Charleston today. They sell flowers and handmade sweetgrass baskets, a handcraft handed down amongst the Gullah people who have preserved their African heritage and speak a creole language with words imported from Africa.
When the city of Charleston attempted to ban them from selling their wares on the streets of the city she helped create an organization to preserve for them that right.
Verner worked to preserve historic Charleston and was a founding member of the Preservation Society of Charleston.
Trained at the Philadelphia Academy, Verner was a student of Thomas Anschutz, known for his painting of working men in a more realist style than the Ashcan school. Anschutz had been a student of Eakins. These two were to influence her art for her entire life.
Most of the scenes here still exist, although they are not as funky as they were in her time. Hurricanes and floods have necessitated there restoration. I walked by this church last night.
The location below is unchanged today.
Again, like Alfred Hutty, Verner visited the art colonies that were popular in that era. Here is a picture of Provincetown, Massachusetts.