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 Harry P. Carnohan  (1904 - 1969)

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Lived/Active: Texas/California      Known for: landscape, figure, and portrait painter, graphics

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Ad Code: 3
Harry P Carnohan
from Auction House Records.
Scorched Land, West Texas
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Landscape, figure, portrait painter and graphic artist Harry Peyton Carnohan was born on April 18, 1904 in Milford, Texas, moving to Dallas around 1910. He studied privately with Vivian Aunspaugh and Frank Reaugh before attending the Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois. Carnohan then spent five years in Paris, Florence, and Rome, one of them studying with Andre Lhote. He financed his sojourn in Europe on a foreign study scholarship, the Bryan Lathrop Traveling Fellowship, in 1926 from the Art Institute that was supplemented by a Guggenheim Fellowship. He exhibited at the Salon d'Automne in Paris, in 1927.

Carnohan had a varied career as a painter portrait, landscape and figure; a muralist, graphic artist, writer, critic and teacher. His media were oil, watercolor, pastel and tempera.

Back in Dallas in 1930, Carnohan was active in the Dallas Artists League, and the Dallas Nine southwestern regionalist artists. He was more open, at that time, to European modernist styles like Surrealism than fellow regionalist painters Alexandre Hogue and Jerry Bywaters. One of his best-known paintings, "West Texas Landscape", depicting a shed, hose, bucket and rocks, has Surrealist influences. The painting was awarded a purchase prize in 1935 at the Seventh Annual Allied Arts Exhibition at the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts. It was also considered one of the two finest paintings exhibited by Texan artists at the Centennial Exposition in 1936.

As an art critic for the "Dallas Journal", he wrote articles on exhibitions that influenced the Dallas Nine (regionalist painters), including the Kress traveling exhibition of early Italian painters, in 1933; the College Art Association's exhibition of Mexican muralists Diego Rivera and José Clemente Orozco, 1934; and an exhibition of contemporary lithographers organized by Lloyd Rollins for the Dallas Museum of Art, 1934.

In the early 1930s, Carnohan took summer painting trips with Frank Reaugh to West Texas. He worked on murals and sculpture for the 1936 Centennial Exposition at Fair Park, Dallas, and he also painted a mural for Oak Cliff High School, Dallas.

Carnohan was included in the Texas contingent of artists by the Museum of Modern Art, New York City, in its touring exhibition of American artists in 1933. He exhibited in the Whitney Museum of American Art annual exhibition in New York City in 1934, and the Golden Gate Exposition in San Francisco in 1939.

His teaching experience included the Dallas Art Institute, the Fort Worth School of Fine Arts in 1938, and in 1940, when he moved to New York City, Columbia University, serving as head of the art department.

In November 1940, Carnohan was given a one-man show of fifteen years of work from early experiments with abstraction, Texas landscapes and scenes of Vermont he had painted since moving to the northeast. Some perceived Carnohan as a casualty of modern art. He resigned from Columbia around 1954, saying he was "allergic to modern art." His early admiration of European modernist painting had soured with the domination of abstraction in the 1950s both in America and Europe. He moved to La Jolla, California, where, sadly, from an artistic point of view, he opened a furniture store.

He was a member of the Dallas Artists League, and Lone Star Printmakers. His work is in the collection of the Dallas Museum of Art.

He died of a heart attack on March 9, 1969 while ice skating at a La Jolla arena.

Harry Carnohan's exhibitions include:

Art Institute of Chicago (1926); Salon d'Automne, Paris (1927); Annual Exhibition of the State Fair of Texas, Dallas (1933); and Annual Allied Arts Exhibition, Dallas (1933 award, 1935 purchase prize);


John and Deborah Powers, "Texas Painters, Sculptors and Graphic Artists"

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