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 James Goodwin McManus  (1882 - 1958)

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Lived/Active: Connecticut      Known for: portrait, impressionist landscape

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James Goodwin McMannis is primarily known as James Goodwin McManus

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James Goodwin McManus
An example of work by James Goodwin McMannis
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following information was submitted in May of 2006 by Kevin Murphy:

James Goodwin McManus was a noted American artist and is still considered one of the deans of Connecticut art.  His portraits were done in a classic style (see his 1913 portrait of his father, C. James McManus DDS, at the Menczer Museum of Medicine and Dentistry, Hartford) while his landscapes were done in a more fluid impressionist style.

McManus was born in Hartford in 1882 to C. James McManus, DDS and Eliza (Goodwin) McManus, a descendant of Ozias Goodwin, one of the original founders of the city.  Two of McManus’s brothers, Charles and Edward, eventually joined their father in the practice of dentistry. Much younger  than these two brothers, James had no interest in dentistry at all.

At 16, James Goodwin McManus started studying drawing under Charles Noel Flagg at the artist’s studio in Cheney Towers (later the Brown Thompson building) on Main Street.  McManus also trained under Robert B. Brandegee, Walter  Griffin, William Gedney Bunce and Montague Flagg.

Having developed into an accomplished artist, McManus began to teach at Hartford Public High School.  Later, after helping to found the Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts, he taught there and at the Connecticut Art Students League as well.  Along the way, he spent summers at art colonies in Gloucester, Massachusetts, and at Old Lyme, Connecticut—where he vacationed after 1921. McManus often taught at Guy Wiggins Art School at Hamburg Cove in Lyme and later in Essex after Wiggins moved it there in 1937.

James Goodwin McManus never married and eventually moved from 843 New Britain Avenue (St. Lawrence O’Toole parish) to 8 Ridgebrook Drive, West Hartford, but still spent the warmer months in Old Lyme.  On September 5, 1958, he died at his summer home at the age of 76.  His funeral mass was said at St. Lawrence O’Toole’s Church, Hartford and he was buried in St. Patrick’s Cemetery nearby.

McManus was a member of the Salmagundi Club of New York, the Lyme Artists Association and the New Haven Paint and Clay Club, where he exhibited his landscapes in annual shows from 1929 to 1954.  Frequently these paintings were of the Lyme countryside, including 'Eight Mile River' (shown in the 100th anniversary exhibit) depicting the area near McManus's home in Hamburg Cove, Old Lyme.

His paintings can be seen at: The Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford; the State Capitol, Hartford, the Dauntless Club, Essex; Beach Memorial, Storrs, CT; Menczer Museum of Medicine and Dentistry of the Hartford Medical and the Hartford Dental Societies.

This information was collected from James Goodwin McManus’s Obituary in The Hartford Times, (Sept. 6, 1958, p. 10), Who Was Who in American Art and other sources at the Connecticut State Library and the Connecticut Historical Society.  Information was also culled from the US Censuses from 1860 to 1930.

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following is from Ira Hillyer, whose mother took art lessons from the artist. Hillyer writes: "I have the full charcoal portrait that my mother, Amy Anne Bartholomy did of him that appeared as the sepia centerfold in the Sunday Magazine section, 1922 or 1923, of the "Hartford Times".

James McManus is a noted American artist and is considered one of the deans of Connecticut art. A painter of portraits and landscapes in a loose impressionist style, McManus did work that is not marked by any startling innovations but rather by a sincerity of purpose and by the expression of the appearance of things as he sees them. As a brochure of the Hartford Wadsworth Atheneum stated for his one man exhibition in 1954, "The rolling hills and valleys bordering the Connecticut River in this state have had few more honest reporters of their quiet charm."

Born in Hartford, Connecticut where he lived and worked all his life (except for brief respites at art colonies in Gloucester, Massachusetts, and at Old Lyme, Connecticut, where he spent all his summers since 1922), James McManus started his career early studying under Charles Noel Flagg. He was one of the founders of the Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts and was a member of the Hartford Salmagundi Club, the Salmagundi Club of New York and the Lyme Artists Association. At Old Lyme, James McManus often taught the summer classes with Wiggins at Hamburg Cove.

The Geheran Group-Art for Decor
Also from Ira B. Hillyer:

This is a direct quote from The New Haven Paint and Clay Club - 100th anniversary exhibition pamphlet

"James Goodwin McManus 1882 - 1958
Born in Hartford, Connecticut, James Goodwin McManus studied with Charles Noel Flagg, Walter Griffin and other American artists. He taught art in the Hartford Public High Schools for most of his life. In the summers, he also taught at the Guy C. Wiggins Art School in Lyme, Connecticut. He exhibited with the Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts and also participated in shows held by the Old Lyme artists group who gathered around Miss Florence Griswold's boarding house, now the Florence Griswold Museum. Several of his portraits are in private collections.

James Goodwin McManus joined the New Haven Paint and Clay Club in 1929 and exhibited his landscapes in annual shows for twenty-five years. Frequently these paintings were of the Lyme countryside. The Eight Mile River ( shown in the 100th anniversary exhibit) probably depicts the area near McManus' home in Hamburg Cove, Old Lyme.

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