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 Milo Bennett Denny  (1887 - 1931)

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Lived/Active: Michigan/Indiana/Iowa      Known for: landscape painting

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Ad Code: 4
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from Auction House Records.
Contentment Hill
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born on his father’s farm in Waubeek, Linn County, Iowa, on April 5, 1887, Milo Denny was the only child of his parents to survive birth.  In 1905, at age 18,  he left Waubeek to enroll in Cornell College, Mount Vernon, Iowa.  This private institution is just southeast of Cedar Rapids and about 20 miles from Waubeek.  Denny went there to study engineering, but soon decided his forte was art and switched to the Cornell School of Art.  He later studied in Chicago at the Art Institute and in New York at the Art Students League.  

After finishing his art education, he returned to Waubeek where he worked as a farm laborer on the farm of his stepfather, Will Penn.  By the time of the 1920 census, Denny had married Alys Scott, probably around 1912, another Iowa native, and they were living in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  He was listed as an artist.  He traveled widely during the 1920’s, and, in addition to capturing the scenes of his childhood in Waubeek, he maintained a summer home in Saugatuck, Michigan, and often wintered in New Mexico where he painted with the Taos art colony.  

By the time of the next census, in 1930, the artist and his family were living in Saugatuck, Michigan.  That same year many of the professional artists in that area joined together to form the Saugatuck Art Association, which opened its own gallery in the upper rooms of the Saugatuck Village Hall in July of 1931.  Milo Denny was one of the featured artists.

Later that same year he moved to Indianapolis, Indiana, where he and another artist were hired to paint scenery in a large theatre.  On August 20, 1931, in trying to keep his co-worker from falling from scaffolding he lost his own balance and fell 60 feet to the floor, suffering a fractured skull.  

Submitted by Edward Bentley, Art Historian, Lansing, Michigan.

Biographical information from the exhibition:  “Painting the Town; A History of Art in Saugatuck and Douglas.”  The Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society, Douglas, Michigan, 1997;  the artist’s obituary; and additional information provided by Carol W. Mulder, a distant relative.

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