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 Woodson (Woody) Tallman  (1896 - 1974)

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Lived/Active: Oregon/Missouri      Known for: landscape painting

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Woodson (Woody) Tallman
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Biography from SONS GALLERY:
Woodson "Woody" Tallman (1896-1974)

Woodson Tallman was born on March 12th, 1896 in St. Joseph, Missouri.  His father moved the family west to Silverton Oregon in 1911 where he found work as an on-the-road piano salesman until eventually opening a store of his own in Salem on S. Commercial St.  Woody joined the family business in the 1920's where he learned the business from his father until later taking it over on his own.

Once his business was very successful, Tallman turned the day to day operations of the business over to his nephew and used his free time to pursue travel, painting and the study of the arts.  During the fifties he traveled through Europe, the Middle East, Iran and Egypt.  While traveling Woody visited countless art museums where he bought or took photographs of the paintings drawings and other works of art that interested him. His collection of more then 5000 slides comprises a thorough review of the history of Western Art. "It is through the history of art that I really began to understand painting" he observed in an interview.

While essentially self-taught Tallman began his artistic journey by studying instruction books, and later said "I tried to study under anyone who had anything I wanted to learn."  While in Europe he trained with the impressionist Hayward Veal.  Before this he had studied with an unnamed University of Chicago art instructor who was teaching for a time in Portland.  In the 1960's Woody attended a series of classes at the Lincoln County Art Center given by the nationally recognized watercolorist and teacher, Eliot O'Hara.

During the 1950's Woodson Tallman met the renowned northwest regional artist Clyde Leon Keller.  While Tallman never took classes from Keller, they painted together often and remained friends for years.  It is easy to see the influence of Keller as well as many other painters in Woody's work.

Tallman was a member of the Oregon Society of Artists for a number of years but eventually left the group "Because" he said "they painted only realism."  After that Woody belonged to no organization and preferred to follow his own artistic convictions.

During his long creative time as a painter, Tallman painted in a number of diverse styles.  It is in his best works, his landscapes and city views that Woody truly reveals his own style and considerable talent.  Although many of his canvases show the influence of many other painters, every canvas also brings forth something that is completely his own.

Given the many years that he painted and the overall quality of the work, it seems inconceivable that Woodson Tallman remained virtually unrecognized for so long.  The reason however is simple.  Woody is unknown to the art world because that is the way he wanted it.  He had no desire to be lionized by museums, galleries or patrons.  He didn't accept commissions, and didn't try to organize gallery shows; in fact he never showed his paintings except for when he displayed them in his piano stores.  He refused to sell his work although he did give paintings to family and friends.  He was simply content to follow his bliss, which was painting.

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