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 Addie (Hartson) Birney  (1872 - 1965)

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Lived/Active: Michigan      Known for: still life, regional landscape

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Addie (Hartson) Birney
An example of work by Addie (Hartson) Birney
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Miss Addie Hartson, one of three daughters of Charles T. and Ursala (King) Hartson, was born August 13, 1872. Her father, a pioneer who came to Eaton Rapids, Michigan in the early 1850's and was also a Civil War veteran, initially engaged in harness making prior to owning a furniture gallery and funeral parlor. He was also Mayor of the city in 1894 and 1895.

Addie, always interested in art, began taking lessons while in her teen years. She studied locally with Mrs. Rozeffie M. Osborn (1848-1913) and Mrs. Edith Minnie (1869-1959). At the young age of 19 she won seven first place awards for her artwork at the yearly fair. In 1894, seeking further instruction in painting, she enrolled at Albion College. Upon leaving home for her study, a local newspaper reporter wrote in support: "She is possessed of remarkable talent in this direction and bids fair for becoming one of the leading artists of this part of the state."

In 1895 she was accepted at the Shinnecock Summer School on Long Island as a pupil of William Merritt Chase (1849-1916), who at that time, was at the height of his influence as a teacher of American Impressionism. In addition to Shinnecock, he also taught regularly at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art and the Art Students League in New York. Her work in still-life was to closely follow one of his tenants: "Learn to paint simple subjects well."

Returning home that fall, Addie established a studio and began advertising as an artist and an art teacher. An outgoing lady who stood all of five feet tall, she had an engaging personality and, in 1894, was voted one of the most popular ladies of the city.

In 1909, she and John D. Birney, a local druggist whom she had known as a friend for years, were married, As for her artwork, she continued to paint until about ten years before her death at the age of 92. Her artwork consisted primarily of landscapes of the local area and still-life's.

Submitted by Edward Bentley, art collector and researcher, October 2003, with the following note:

"Addie Hartson was born in 1872, studied art... and did work, held local exhibits, etc, under her maiden name. This was from about 1890 until her marriage in 1909. At that time she began signing her work under her married name. Her first period work was signed AHartson; her married work was ABirney - usually the first two letters conjoined."

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