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 Harry Davis Fluhart-Williams  (1861 - 1938)

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Lived/Active: Indiana/Florida/Illinois      Known for: landscape painting, teaching

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Harry Davis Fluhart-Williams (1861-1938)

Harry Davis Fluhart was born in Kokomo, Indiana on February 2, 1861.  According to genealogical records, Harry was the son of William Edward and Margaret D. Smith Fluhart. The artist’s father passed away in 1866, bequeathing all of his possessions to Harry.  Margaret Fluhart later married John Williams, resulting in the artist’s hyphenated surname of Fluhart-Williams.

“Harry D. Fluhart, having lived many years with the Williams family, adopted the name; according to William Forsyth, he was a stepson of John N. Williams; he was born at Kokomo in 1861….” Source: Pioneer Painters of Indiana by the Art Association of Indianapolis, Indiana, 1954.

Harry Fluhart was a professional artist and educator for most of his adult life.  Fluhart’s  resume noted that he was a “Professor of Fine Arts, Earlham College, 1881-1883 (Richmond, Indiana); Professor of Fine Arts, Knox College, 1885-1887 (Galesburg, Illinois); Studied four years in Munich under Richard Ritter von Poschinger; Studied two years at Delecluse School (Academie Delecluse), Paris; Member, two years, of the artists' colony in the forest of Fontainebleau, France; Member of Society of American Artists of Paris.” Source: The Bulletin of John B. Stetson University (1931-1932)

 

Fluhart married Laura Ann Chapin on November 6, 1889.  The couple had several children. Later census records show Fluhart married to Bertha Emsline Weeks, an art instructor at Stetson.  Source: www.ancestry.com

 

Fluhart taught art at John B. Stetson University in DeLand, Florida from 1914 to 1935.  Per university archives from 1939:  “… Stetson University purchased a collection of about one hundred pictures with the purpose of starting an Art Museum. These pictures are the work of Messrs. Fluhart, T. C. Steel, Lucien Biva, Brument, Hiliare, M. D. Williams, Devieux…. There are several Florida scenes of especial interest. One or two of these pictures have hung in the Paris Salon….” 

As a professor at Stetson, Fluhart was a mentor to the renowned artist, Andre Charles Bieler:

“Biéler studied at the Institut Technique de Montréal before enlisting in the Canadian Army to fight in World War I. Injured and badly gassed, he returned to Canada in 1919 and convalesced in Florida, where he took art classes with Harry Davis Fluhart…. In early January 1920, Andre was installed at Stetson where he lived and worked with the painter, Harry Davis Fluhart.  This interval in his life was like that of the medieval apprentice, the young eager pupil working with the older master in a sympathetic relationship. Fluhart himself was reported to have spent his entire life in a studio as both his parents were artists!.... (Bieler) wrote of his professor: ‘Fluhart is a curious sort of person, about sixty years old.  He has studied in Munich and Paris; he has a tremendous amount of talent but no idea of business.’” Source: Andre Bieler: An Artist's Life and Times by F. K. Smith et al., 2006

 

Research reveals numerous published citations for Harry Fluhart’s work:

(a)   Fluhart was included in the Illinois Art Project records of the 1890s.

(b)  On January 26, 1897, he exhibited at the prestigious Art Institute of Chicago: # 51 – A Garden at Luisheim and # 105 – A Holland Interior. Source: Young Fortnightly Competitive Art Exhibit, AIC.

(c)    “ ‘Artist Harry Fluhart, whose handsome paintings in the Claredon lobby have been so much admired, has opened his studio on Grandview Avenue,’ according to the Daytona Gazette-News of January 28, 1911.”  Source: Florida's American Heritage River: Images From the St. Johns Region, 2009.

(d)  “…Fluhart was described by Stetson colleague Warren Gordis as an ‘outstanding figure in our art department.’ Goris added, ‘It is no exaggeration to say that he was a great artist.’ Around 1914, Fluhart transformed the north wing of Elizabeth Hall into an art gallery and hung it with his paintings.”  Source: Picturing Florida, 2008.

(e)  “In the first floor of the North Wing is located the Stetson Museum of Fine Arts, containing about one hundred paintings by Mr. H. D. Fluhart, head of the Stetson School of Fine Arts….”  Source: Biennial Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, 1912.

Harry D. Fluhart artist passed away in Deland, Florida in 1938.  Many of the artist’s Florida landscapes continue to hang in Deland Hall in Stetson University. Published examples of the artist’s paintings include: Landscape with Haystacks, at Bonham’s sale of June 12, 2005 - lot 7074;  Landscape With Farm and Stream, at Stuart Holman’s sale of  Spring 2007 - lot 4; Autumn Landscape, also at Stuart Holman’s sale of Spring 2007 - lot 5; and Florida Scene, at Nadeau’s sale of December 3, 2011 - lot 194.

The artist is referenced in the following publications and online sources: Pioneer Painters of Indiana by the Art Association of Indianapolis, Indiana, 1954; Art in Florida: 1564-1945 by Maybelle Mann, 1995; Who Was Who in American Art, 1564-1975 by P. H. Falk, 1999; Artists in Ohio, 1787-1900: A Biographical Dictionary Book by Mary Sayre Haverstock, Jeannette Mahoney Vance, Brian L. Meggitt, 2000; Andre Bieler: An Artist's Life and Times by Frances K. Smith, David Karel, Ted Bieler, Philippe Baylaucq, 2006; Picturing Florida by K. Arbitman & S. Gallo, 2008; Florida's American Heritage River: Images From the St. Johns Region by M. M. O’Connor, G. Monroe & W. Belleville, 2009; Davenport’s Art Reference and Price Guide, edited by H. Moneta, 2010; Illinois Historical Art Project records; Art Institute of Chicago (AIC) records; archives of Stetson University; Florida educational institution records; Fluhart genealogical data; and federal and state census records.

Compiled and submitted by Tina Kasper of Pelham, New York (copyright 2012).


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