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The Art of Lucy May Stanton

May 25 -July 21, 2002


The work of the well-traveled and well-educated Lucy May Stanton returns home to Athens, Georgia, and the Georgia Museum of Art for a stunning retrospective of this artist's career when The Art of Lucy May Stanton opens on May 25, 2002. (left: Self portrait, reading, n.d., oil on canvas, 46 x 32 inches, Collection of Frances Forbes Heyn)

A native of Atlanta, Stanton (1876-1931), remembered for her broadly painted miniature watercolor portraits on ivory, was a proficient painter of large scale figurative works, still-lifes, and landscapes. Few Georgia artists rival the national stature she achieved. Her works are represented in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the National Portrait Gallery, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. A highly acclaimed painter, Stanton received the blue ribbon for a miniature entitled Mother and Child at the 1906 Salon de la Société Nationale des Beaux Arts in Paris, France, and a prestigious award from the National Association of Women Painters and Sculptors in this country, and many other honors during her career.

During the course of her life Lucy May Stanton lived in Boston, Ogunquit on the Maine seacoast, Nantucket, Los Angeles, Paris, New Orleans, and for a while in tiny Andrews, North Carolina, where she gave up her cosmopolitan ways to live in a one-room cabin. The last six years of her life were spent in Athens.

Like so many of her contemporaries, she traveled to Paris to study in private art academies and with painters such as Lucien Simon and Augustus Koopman. But, unlike other women artists of the early 20th century who mainly concentrated their efforts on a known and privileged environment, she was drawn to the familiar, such as the everyday lives of African Americans. Working in the Deep South, Stanton was among the first artists to represent black subjects without sentimentality or prejudice. (right: Aunt Lou, 1931, watercolor on ivory, n.s., Collection of the artist's family)

Betty Alice Fowler, curator of the exhibition, aside from extensive field research in Boston and New Orleans, spent weeks in the Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library at the University of Georgia where the Lucy May Stanton papers are on file. A catalogue of the exhibition, with a biographical essay by Ms. Fowler, will be published later in 2002. Ms. Fowler has assembled 60 works from around the country, some belonging to the artist's family, others coming from major institutions, several from the collection of the Georgia Museum of Art, and yet others from the extensive collection of Stanton's works at Emery University.

The Art of Lucy May Stanton will be on view in the Lamar Dodd Gallery.


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