Monday, December 13, 2010

Elizabeth O'Neill Verner

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.

8 comments: said...

This is a real treat for me...headed down there at the end of this week. Are we going to see any of the paintings you are doing.? I'm not going to be down there a long time but I'm inspired to take a podache box or gouache to get in a few good studies. It's really nice to see a post about an artist who happens to be a woman too. Thanks.

barbara b. land of boz said...

What wonderful post. It has been 30 some odd years since my last visit to Charleston. Had almost forgotten the sweetness of the city. Miss Verner had a hand in the preservation of one fine place.

Just wanted to say, I think in the same line as Marian on the "beauty and decay " statement. A little like the chaos and order line of thinking.
Thank you Stape for the morning cup of joe and then some:}

billspaintingmn said...

Yet another fine Artist. There is a wealth of art in America that needs to be recognized.
I know many Women Artists, that I recognize. Elizabeth O'neill Verner
is now among them.

Mike Thompson said...

Visiting Charleston definitely needs to be on everyone's ''bucket list''. Bring an extra memory cartridge or two for your camera and throw in a backup watercolor set, too. Budget twice as much as you think prudent and buy some of those Gullah sweetgrass baskets. They are amazingly well crafted.

Another small Southern coastal town dripping with architectural scenery is Edenton on the north shore of the Albermarle Sound in North Carolina a short side trip off of 64. Edenton is too small to be the cultural powerhouse Charleston has been but every time we stopped there on our way out to the Outer Banks I always left there with the ''warm and fuzzies'' just for having seen the place.

Charleston was someplace wonderful to visit but I always felt like Edenton was the sort of place I wished I had grown up in.

Stapleton Kearns said...

You might if I get them done.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Chaos is good I guess, sometimes.

Stapleton Kearns said...

When I get into 20th century American art history I will post more.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Never heard of that town. Maybe I can check it out.