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 Celine Swarts Baekeland  (1868 - 1957)

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Lived/Active: New York/Ohio/Florida / Belgium      Known for: landscape, coastal view and still-life painting, magazine illustration

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from Auction House Records.
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Celine Baekeland was an accomplished artist in Yonkers, New York and co–founder of Prospect House, an after–school program emphasizing the arts for children of working parents. Her motto was “bathe them, feed them and give them exposure and experience in the arts.” Her own children attended many performances and exhibitions, according to granddaughter Celine. Prospect Settlement House was at 11 Jefferson Street from 1908 until 1910, 53 Buena Vista Avenue from 1911 – 1913 and at 49 Buena Vista Avenue (Teutonia Hall) from 1914 until the early 1930’s.

Celine Baekeland died on February 27, 1957 in Coconut Grove, Florida, in the home she and her husband bought that had belonged to William Jennings Bryan, whose campaign banner hung in Getty Square when he ran for the Presidency in 1908.

She was married to Dr. Leo Hendrik Baekeland. Leo Baekeland became an inductee into the National Inventors Hall of Fame for his inventions relative to photography. He had met Celine while studying with her father, a professor at the University of Ghent, Belgium.

The couple, immigrating to America from Belgium, settled in Yonkers, New York. Working as a chemist, Leo discovered how to develop photographs using gaslight instead of indirect sunlight. He then became founder of the Nepera Chemical Company in Yonkers, and the couple became very wealthy, purchasing an estate in the Harmony Park section of Yonkers.

Continuing with experiments, Leo Baekeland invented a thermal setting plastic he named Bakelite, which is considered the founding of the Age of Plastics. Because it wouldn’t melt or soften, Bakelite was used initially in the automobile and electrical industries and then was used for a wide assortment of items like airplane propellers, handles for kitchen utensils, pipe tobacco stems, pens, billiard balls, etc.

A General Bakelite Corporation was founded in 1910, and he served as President until it merged with Union Carbide Corporation in 1939. He died in 1944, and she died in 1957.

Papers about her career as an artist are in the Collections of the Smithsonian Libraries.

Tom Flynn, Yonkers Home of the Plastic Age,

Baekeland, Celine, Search the Collection,

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following information is from Frances MacIntyre.

Celine Baekeland (Mrs. Leo H.) Painter, 20th Century, b. 1876, Ghent, Belgium, d. 1957, Coconut Grove, Fla.

Yonkers, NY.

In Europe and with Hobart Nichols.

National Association of Women Artists, National Arts Club, Allied Artists of America, Pen and Brush Club, Southern States Art League, Springfield Art Association, Newport Art Association, East Hampton Guild, Yonkers Artists, Blue Dome Fellowship.

Group Exhibitions :
National Association of Women Artists, Society of the Four Arts, Ogunquit Art Center, Hudson Valley Art Association, Newport Art Association, Albany Institute of History and Art

Solo Exhibitions:
Currier Gallery, Eastman Gallery, Purdue University, Lyman Allyn Museum, Slater Memorial Museum, Speed Museum, Brooks Memorial Art Gallery, High Museum of Art, American Federation of Arts traveling exhibit, Salons of America and Society of Independent Artists.

Yonkers Museum of Art, Palm Beach, Miami Beach

Illustrator, art magazines.

Who's Who in American Art, 1947 and 1953

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