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 Jon Henry  (1916 - 1990)

About: Jon Henry
 

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Lived/Active: Pennsylvania/New York/Florida      Known for: painting, collage

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Jon Henry
from Auction House Records.
#8A Varcs & #22 (2)
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Artist and professional illustrator, Jon Henry (1916-1990), was a native of Philadelphia and first-born son of immigrant parents from Ireland (his pop) and Germany (his mom).  At the age of 5 he was placed in an orphanage to be raised after his mom died in childbirth and his father was unable to raise him and his infant brother.  While Jon had a difficult time as a youngster, it did not diminish the creative spirit within him.

He attended the Philadelphia College of Industrial Arts and studied with Philadelphia artist, Abe Hankins.  At 29, he moved to New York City with his wife, Gertrude and young daughter, Nancy.  It was here that his second daughter, Susan, was born.

Jon was employed as a commercial artist and photographer, studied at the New School with Rudolph Arnheim and Louis Schanker, and studied at artist Robert Motherwell’s studio.  He was Art Director for Grey Advertising, one of the larger advertising firms in New York City, and also became a member of Camino Art Gallery.  For almost 40 years he was a member of that elite group identified as “New York artists.”   

He then worked for the State University of New York at Albany (SUNY) and later as a freelance commercial artist in Newton, MA.  Retired to Gainesville in 1986 and continued to paint and participate in numerous art festivals.  He joined the Center of Modern Art, the Gainesville Friends of Jazz, the Gainesville Fine Arts Association and the Artitorium.

Jon Henry primarily worked in painting and collage although when it came to art his interests and talent incorporated much more.  He created works in photography, graphic arts, woodcuts, murals, sculptural displays, multi-media productions using music and multiple slide projectors, created colorful jigsaw puzzles, “color-in” books of abstract art, as well as black ‘n white postcards featuring his humorous graphic commentary on the art world.  Jon also wrote and played rhythm guitar; always finding inspiration in his love of jazz.

“What interests me in painting,” he wrote, “are color shapes placed at random -- consciously and spontaneously developed, modified or eliminated, until an exciting balance and interplay between negative and positive areas occur.  I try to express visually what Whitney Balliett said about jazz, “the element of surprise.””

Jon Henry died in Gainesville, Florida, on March 5, 1990, at his home.  He was 73.

Education:
1939-40  Philadelphia College of Industrial Arts
1943-44  Studio of Abe Hankins, Philadelphia, PA
1946-47  The New School, NYC (Rudolph Arnheim and Louis Schanker)
1949-50  Studio of Robert Motherwell, NYC
1950s     Discussions at “The Club,” NYC

Solo Exhibitions:    
1958 Sunken Meadow Gallery, Smithtown, Long Island, NY
1959 Camino Gallery, NYC
1961 Sunken Meadow Gallery, Smithtown, Long Island, NY
1962 City Lights Gallery, San Francisco, CA
1965 American Gallery, NYC
1982 Wessell Library, Tufts University, Medford, MA
1987 University of Florida Art Department Gallery, Gainesville, FL
1989 Thomas Center Mezzanine Gallery, Gainesville, FL
1989 Credit Union Gallery, Gainesville, FL
1990 Art in City Hall, Gainesville, FL – Memorial Exhibit “Reminiscence of NYC Life”
2011 Unity of Gainesville, FL – February “Art in the Sanctuary”

Selected Group Exhibitions:    
1947 First Annual Print Show, Brooklyn Museum, NYC – Purchase Award
1949 New York Public Library, NYC – Purchase Award
1952 New York Art Directors’ Show – Honorable Mention (collage/painting “Night School” (Mademoiselle Magazine)
1958 Country Art Gallery, Westbury, Long Island, NY
1958 Spiral Group Show, Riverside Museum, NYC
1959 Institute of Jazz Studies, NYC
1959 City Center Gallery, NYC
1959 Spiral Group, Hudson River Museum, Yonkers, NY
1959 Museum of Modern Art, Art Lending Service, NYC
1961 Camino Gallery, NYC
1962 Oakland Art Museum, Art Lending Service, Oakland, CA
1963 Camino Gallery, NYC – “The Last Show”
1963 Silvermine 14th Annual Exhibit, New Canaan, CT
1964 Baltimore Art Museum, Art Lending Service
1964 American Gallery, NYC
1965 Albright-Knox Art Lending Service, Buffalo, NY
1966 American Gallery, NYC
1966 3rd Annual Chelsea Art Festival, NYC
1977 Pleiades Gallery, NYC – “Tenth Street Days”
1980 Boston Jazz Week at the BAC and Tubman House, Boston, MA
1982 Boston Visual Artists Union, Boston, MA
1986 Spiral 2, New Milford, CT

Florida Art Festivals & Exhibitions:
1987 – Oaks Mall Invitation, Gainesville – 1st Place Award, collage
Downtown Festival, Gainesville – Purchase Award
Center of Excellence Grand Opening, Gainesville
1988 – Spring Arts Festival, Gainesville - Cedar Key Festival
Hippodrome Theatre Gallery, Gainesville - “Birds & Birdcages” exhibit
Center of Modern Art Grand Opening, Gainesville
Festival of the Lakes, Keystone Heights – Ocala Art Festival – Dunedin Art Festival
Downtown Festival, Gainesville
1989 – Mt. Dora – 3rd Place Award – Spring Arts Festival, Gainesville – Cedar Key Festival
Melbourne Art Festival – Mayfaire by the Lake Festival

Installations:    
1973  State University of New York at Albany (SUNY) – Campus Center Mural 4’x160’
1975  WCVB-TV5, Needham, MA – (two murals)

Information provided by Sue Henry young, the artist's daughter

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Jon Henry was born in Philadelphia, Pa. in 1916, and spent much of his life painting and creating collages while living in Pennsylvania, New York, and Massachusetts.  He died in Gainesville, Florida on March 5, 1990.
 
Henry studied at the Philadelphia College of Industrial Arts from 1939 to 1940.  From 1943 to 1944, he studied in the Philadelphia studio of the artist Abe Hankins.  He moved to New York and in 1946-1947 he studied at the New School with Rudolph Arnheim and Louis Schanker.  In 1949/1950, he studied privately with Robert Motherwell.  Motherwell's influence stayed with him, and remained evident in Henry's collage work even three decades later.
 
Henry exhibited widely thoughout his career, and had solo shows at the Camino Gallery in New York City, the City Lights Gallery in San Francisco, the American Gallery in New York City, and the Wessell Libray at Tufts University, as well at other locals.  He was active in the avant garde New York art scene of the 1950's participating Group Shows at the Camino Gallery, at the Riverside Museum with the Spiral Group, at the Hudson River Museum with the Spiral Group, the City Center Gallery and others. In 1977, New York City's Pleiades Gallery included Henry's work, in its Exhibition "Tenth Street Days".  He received Purchase Awards at the First Annual Brooklyn Museum Print Show in 1947, and another work won a Purchase Award at the New York Public Library in 1949.  He received an Honorable Mention at the New York Art Director's show of 1952 for his collage/painting "Night School."  In addition to the above, Henry exhibited with the Silvermine Artists and the Boston Visual Artist's Union. His exhibition record spans 5 decades, beginning in the 1940's and continuing through the 1980's.  In 1973, he completed a 160 foot long mural at the The State University of New York, Albany Campus.
 
Information provided by J. Gold Fine Art, Bellmore, N.Y.  based on a bio attached to a collage by the artist, and independent research.

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