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Marie Hull

 (1890 - 1980)
Marie Atkinson Hull was active/lived in Mississippi.  Marie Hull is known for portrait and landscape painting, illustration.

Marie Hull

Biography from the Archives of askART

Painter, sculptor and print maker Marie Atkinson Hull was active in and around Jackson, Mississippi until her death in 1980.  She was a revered and influential figure in Mississippi and generally in the South.  In 1975, the Governor of Mississippi proclaimed "Marie Hull Day" because of her impact on art in that state.  Hull was also a writer, and taught music and art.

In 1890, she was born in Summit, Mississippi, a small town within 80 miles of Jackson and 120 miles of New Orleans, so she had early exposure to the fine arts of both of these towns.  Her family was cultured and had roots in that state for generations back.  At the age of four, her family took her to hear Polish pianist Jan Paderewski in New Orleans, and this was a life-long inspiration for her.  She studied music at Bellhaven College in Jackson.  However, art took over as her major interest.

Her first art teacher was Aileen Phillips of Jackson, who had studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.  In 1912, Marie enrolled in the Pennsylvania Academy and the teachers who made the greatest impression on her were Daniel Garber and Hugh Breckenridge.  She returned to Mississippi and taught at Hillman College, and in 1915, she left that institution and began a life-long career of teaching art out of her home.  In 1917, she married architect Emmett Johnston Hull, and she assisted him with architectural drawings.

She also traveled extensively around the United States and studied at the Colorado Springs Fine Art Center with Robert Reid and John F. Carlson.  In 1922, she enrolled at the Art Students League where her teachers were Frank Vincent Dumond and Robert Vonnoh.  She traveled in Europe under the tutelage of George Elmer Browne which included sketching and studying in France and Spain, and ultimately in Morocco, Canada, and Mexico.  Her works reflected her interest in exotic locales, rich coloration, and varied architectural forms.

Paintings like The Brick Pile and Red Bluff are examples of expressions of her feeling for fiery color and painterly realism combined with emotional expression and sophisticated design awareness.  Hull, however, was open-minded and experimental, ever-exploring materials, techniques and abstraction.

She exhibited at numerous venues including the Art Institute, Chicago; American Watercolor Society; Butler Art Institute, Youngstown, Ohio; Ringling Museum, Sarasota, Florida; Southeastern Annuals, Atlanta; Delta Annuals, Memphis; All-American National Shows, New York City; Autumn Salon, Paris; New York World's Fair (1939) and the San Francisco Golden Gate Exposition (1939).  A major exhibition of her work was held at the Mississippi Museum of Art in 2000.

Her work is in the collections of the Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson; Southwestern Texas Normal School; Witte Memorial Museum, San Antonio, Texas; and the Mississippi Art Association.

Marie Hull died in Jackson, Mississippi on November 21, 1980.

Jules and Nancy Heller, North American Women Artists of the 20th Century
Paul Sternberg Sr. Art by American Women
Phil and Marion Kovinick, Women Artists of the American West

Biography from The Johnson Collection
From the time that she was a young girl, Marie Atkinson Hull had a love for the arts. However, her first love was not painting, but music. Born and raised in Mississippi, her parents were cultured and they exposed their daughter to the fine arts in Jackson and nearby New Orleans. At the age of four, she saw a piano performance that inspired her for the rest of her life. She studied music at Belhaven College, in Mississippi, and graduated in 1909.

Shortly thereafter, Hull explored her interest in the visual arts by enrolling in private art classes taught by Aileen Phillips, who had studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Phillips encouraged Hull to continue her training at the Academy which she did in 1912. She was particularly influenced by two of her teachers, Impressionist painters Daniel Garber and Hugh Breckenridge.

Returning home to Mississippi, Hull taught art at a girls' college and worked as a commercial artist until she married in 1917. Her husband was an architect from Jackson who supported and encouraged his wife's passion for art. Shortly after the couple was married, Hull traveled to Colorado Springs to attend a workshop at the art center there. She traveled to New York in 1922 to join the Art Students League and work with Frank Vincent Dumond and Robert Vonnoh. Three years later, she and her husband embarked on a cross country road trip across the American Southwest, West Coast, and Northwest, during which time she painted landscapes. The couple then lived in Florida for a year and for a brief time in North Carolina before returning home to Mississippi. Hull's love of travel is reflected in the many exotic locations and wildlife that she chose to paint. She enjoyed experimenting with color and abstraction, and favored landscapes, still lifes and portraiture as her subjects. Above all, Hull valued quality and creativity in art, and she studied throughout her life to make her own art the best that it could possibly be.

In 1929, Hull won second place in the Texas Wildflower Competitive Exhibition with a painting of yucca blossoms. Hull used her prize money to travel to Europe with a large group of American artists. Upon her return, she exhibited her works in New York, San Francisco, and at the Salon in Paris. During the 1930s her portrait commissions dwindled due to the nationwide economic depression. Hull chose to use this time to improve her skills as an artist. She hired local out-of-work farmers and field hands to pose for her. These paintings of sharecroppers and tenant farmers were among her most prized accomplishments.

In 1975, the governor of Mississippi declared October 22 "Marie Hull Day" to commemorate the impact she had on the arts in the state. Hull died in Jackson shortly after her ninetieth birthday in 1980.

The Johnson Collection, Spartanburg, South Carolina

Biography from Charleston Renaissance Gallery

Born in Summit, Mississippi, Marie Hull received her early formal art training at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1912 under Daniel Garber and Hugh Breckenridge, and then returned to her native state to teach at Hillman College in Clinton.  In 1917 she married a Jackson architect and began assisting him with architectural renderings, while attending summer workshops in landscape and figure painting at the Colorado Springs Art Center with John Carlson and Robert Reid, two of the leading American teachers and artists of the time.  Hull also studied at the Art Students League in New York in 1922, and took an extended study and work trip to Europe in 1929 with a group of artists led by George Elmer Browne, an experienced teacher and guide.

In the 1920s, Hull painted portraits, landscapes, and seascapes, some of them done in Florida, where she and her husband lived in the mid-1920s.  While solidly based on her academic training, her painting ranged from realism in portraiture, to a colorful, lyrical modernism in landscapes and nature studies.

During the depressed 1930s, Hull turned to painting the black and white tenant farmers and sharecroppers of the rural South and regarded these paintings highly in her work, remarking: "They were, I think, among the finest things I've ever done, but I was doing them for quality, not for sentimental appeal." (Norwood, p. 15) Negro Cabin belongs to this period.  It is dated and identified on the reverse of the original backing board: "Painted Spring 1934 Negro cabin on grounds of Elizabeth College, Natchez, Miss.  Elizabeth College is oldest Women's College in America."

In the 1940s and 1950s, Hull became increasingly interested in abstract design, and began to experiment with various mediums, including casein.  By 1955 her work was often totally nonobjective—rendered in her trademark bold color and lush brushwork.

Nancy Rivard Shaw/Roberta Sokolitz

Norwood, Malcolm M., Virginia McGehee Elias and William S. Haynie. The Art of Marie Hull. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1975.

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About  Marie Hull

Born:  1890 - Summit, Mississippi
Died:   1980 - Jackson, Mississippi
Known for:  portrait and landscape painting, illustration