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 Jack Iowa (John) Lewis  (1912 - 2012)

About: Jack Iowa (John) Lewis


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Lived/Active: Delaware/Maine      Known for: city-townscape and marine painting, serigraphs

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BIOGRAPHY for Jack Lewis
1912 (Baltimore, Maryland)
2012 (York, Maine)


Often Known For
city-townscape and marine painting, serigraphs

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following information was submitted October, 2002 by art writer Fred W. McCraw, Kansas City, MO, and updated September 2013.

John Iowa Lewis II (Jack Lewis) was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1912 and resides in York, Maine. He was named after his paternal grandfather and has written that he cannot account for the "Iowa" part of that ancestor's name. Though he painted extensively outside Delaware, he is heralded throughout Delaware as one of its most celebrated artists.

In 1936 he traveled to Dover, Delaware to join a CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) camp and document its activities. He remained in Delaware for many decades, living for forty years at Bridgeville. Jack painted many watercolor scenes of the beach town of Lewes (pronounced like the artist's name), and other southern Delaware towns and cities.

Jack's works have been primarily in the watercolor medium, though in the '40s he created a few serigraphs. Some or all of those became mixed-media paintings when Lewis liberally applied watercolor highlights over their surfaces. (He had pulled them in New York for a failed publishing project.)

In 1946, Lewis married Dorothy Hardin, a young woman from Arkansas who was then a Pratt Institute student in New York. He completed a master's degree in education from Rutgers and then attended New York University for further study before embarking on a long teaching career. He and his wife moved in 1949 to Bridgeville. Lewis taught there 10 years and then hired on as a teacher at the air base in Dover, 30 miles north. He was a Fulbright Exchange Teacher in 1956 at the Harris Academy in Dundee, Scotland. 

Jack Lewis has published seven books of his watercolors documenting such diverse subjects as the south Pacific (in Pacific Odyssey) and The Hudson River, Potomac, The Chesapeake Bay Scene, Reflections on the Arno, et al. From 1965-70, he was President of the Delaware Federation of Teachers.

Lewis's life and work was further documented in an 8th Jack Lewis book, A Brush With Fate, published by Kevin N. Moore and John R. Schroeder in Lewes, Delaware in the year 2000.

Artist Jack Lewis died August 22, 2012. He was within a few days of his 100th birthday. He had lived his last 14 years in York, Maine where his daughters and grandchildren lived, and that is where he died.

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