Adele Marion Gawin Lemm
(1897 - 1977)
Adele Marion Gawin Lemm was active/lived in Tennessee, Massachusetts. Adele Lemm is known for abstraction, landscape and seascape painting.
Adele Marion Gawin Lemm
Biography from the Archives of askART
Adele Lemm (1904-1977)
Biography from Charleston Renaissance Gallery
Siena College, Memphis, TN
Memphis Academy of Arts
Colorado College (Fine Arts Center)
One Man Shows:
Brooks Art Gallery, Memphis TN
Memphis State College
Minneapolis Institute of Art
Martha's Vineyard Art Assoc. Mass.
Audubon Artists, NYC
National Association of Women Artists, NYC Delgado Museum of Art, New Orleans LA Mid-South Exhibition of Paintings Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts Philadelphia Water Color Club
National Assn. Women Artists - 1954
Mid-South Exhibition of Paintings - 1956 National Assn. Women Artists - 1959 numerous honorable mentions.
Permanent Collection of the Brooks Art Gallery, Memphis TN
This information is from a gallery flyer for Lemm's show at the Ward Eggleston Gallery located in NYC.
Adele Lemm's goal with her painting is to discover a sense of summer, the season's color and heat, recreation and restoration, fun and fancy. For summers were all these things and more to Adele Lemm (1904-1977), a Memphis teacher-artist. Time spent by the cool New England coast meant relief from relentless Southern heat and fresh-air hours with her soft palette and dry brush. Those precious months also offered time to become the student, to hone her craft with masters such as Vaclav Vytlacil and friends like Hans Hoffman at the Provincetown Art Association.
Biography from The Johnson Collection
For Adele Lemm, summer was the beach, boats, birds, gardens, friends and frolic-and the chance to preserve all these joys with paint and pastels. Working in the Post-Modernist era, Lemm approached traditional subjects with a contemporary perspective. Her pieces are warm-spirited, with a touch of whimsy applied to discernible subjects. Her landscapes and seascapes are idyllic, imbued with light and lightheartedness. An essentialist who omitted unnecessary details, she insisted on representation, on her strokes revealing a specific object that could be recognized as a flower, house or harbor.
Adele Lemm''s passion for her art was borne out not only in her products, but also in her living. For a quarter of a century, Lemm was a dedicated and popular instructor at the Memphis Academy of Art. She exhibited at the National Academy of Women Artists' annual show, winning five prizes, and at many galleries and museums throughout the East, including the Ward Eggleston Gallery in New York City, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art and the Delgado Museum in New Orleans.
Adele Marion Gawin Lemm
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b. 1897, Milwaukee, WI; d. 1977, Memphis, TN
Artistry ran in Adele Gawin’s family. Upon his 1872 arrival in the United States from the Prussian province of Posen, her father, August Gawin, listed his employer as a Milwaukee art glass studio. It remains unclear when or under what circumstances Adele arrived in Memphis, but it is known that she attended St. Agnes College there for one year before marrying Paul Lemm in 1920 and starting a family.
Paul Lemm’s success as an executive afforded his wife the opportunity to travel and pursue a creative career. Following the opening of the Memphis Academy of Arts (now Memphis College of Art) in 1936, Lemm enrolled and began her art education in earnest, studying under the highly-regarded painters Henriette Amiard Oberteuffer and George Oberteuffer.
Lemm’s work quickly found acceptance at juried exhibitions throughout the South and in urban markets like Philadelphia and New York as well. Seeking a change of climate, her family began spending summers at New England art colonies: first in Martha’s Vineyard and later in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and on Maine’s Monhegan Island. She probably met pioneering American abstract painter Vaclav Vytlacil in picturesque Martha’s Vineyard. Vytlacil would come to have a profound impact on Lemm’s development, steering her toward the semi-abstract articulation that characterizes her strongest works.
While vacationing in Provincetown, Lemm befriended Hans Hofmann, the German-born Abstract Expressionist whose summer school became a mecca for emerging modernists. Hofmann’s bold use of color clearly informs Lemm’s output of the early 1950s. From that point onward, her paintings feature a more vivid palette with deliberately strident contrasts, whether they depict coastal views or form complete abstractions.
In ways that parallel the investigations other American artists were conducting at mid-century, Lemm’s work of the 1940s and 1950s vacillated between representation and abstraction. Many of her best paintings portray favorite summer retreats and reveal a keen awareness of and appreciation for the forms, colors, and textures that comprise coastal New England. Other preferred subjects include playful canvases inspired by the horse farms that populate West Tennessee and the occasional garden scene. As the 1960s dawned, Lemm increasingly turned to complete abstraction.
Having enjoyed close associations with her own instructors, Lemm found great satisfaction as an educator; she taught creative painting and drawing at the junior school of the Memphis Academy of Arts, a position she would hold for twenty-three years. All the while, she steadily submitted her work to exhibitions across the country; on six occasions, prizes were conferred on her entries to the prestigious National Association of Women Artists show.
Although she continued to travel for as long as she was able, Lemm remained based in Memphis for the rest of her life, serving as a vital member of the city’s arts community. And while today she is included in discussions of Southern art of the twentieth century, her paintings transcend regional compartmentalization. Rather, it is the Tennessean’s deep love of the New England coast—and the memorable way that affection manifested itself in her oeuvre—that places Adele Lemm in a larger conversation within the history of abstract art in America.
The Johnson Collection, Spartanburg, South Carolina
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