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 Harry Hambro Howe  (1886 - 1968)

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Lived/Active: Massachusetts/Maine      Known for: sailing ships-marine, landscape

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Ad Code: 4
Harry Hambro Howe
from Auction House Records.
Ship at Full Sail
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following is from Peter Kostoulakos, AOA, NEAA:  Fine Art Consultant,

The son of Captain T Bailey Howe, master of a Nantucket whaler and painter, Harry Howe became an oil painter of marine and landscape subjects.  He was born in Boston and remained based there most of his life, although he traveled widely.  He took art lessons from his father.

One of his favorite subjects was clipper ships such as his "John Bertram" and "Witchcraft", which were built respectively in Medford, Massachusetts in 1851 and Boston in 1850.  This subject was popular in the East among persons who appreciated their importance to the history of that city. Among his landscape subjects were Mount Chocorua in New Hampshire, Gloucester in Massachusetts, Clearwater in Florida, and the Upper Kennebec River in Maine.

Exhibition cities included Houston, Texas in 1940 at the Rose Room of the Rice Hotel. According to The Houston Chronicle review of that show, February 4, 1940: "Harry Howe . . .would rather paint boats than anything. . . he studied in Maine and New Hampshire" . . . His landscapes are mostly of the Maine country and scenes of the Presidential Range, Mounts Monroe, Washington, Adams, Baldface and Chocorua".

In that same review, the artist was quoted as saying: "When my father taught my brother and me to paint, the darker, heavier paints were the vogue of the day.  I always wanted to get into the lighter tones, and when I began to express my own ideas rather than those of my father, I developed brighter, more cheerful scenes.  Today economics influences art.  The modern trend of building has reduced the size of rooms, therefore, the heavy dark paintings which had to be viewed from a distance to be appreciated are becoming passe. . .Such pictures are only appropriate for museums exhibits, where there is plenty of room."

When asked for an opinion on modern art, Mr. Howe's only response was that if he "were hit real hard on the head with a hammer, he might be able to produce something in the abstract, but so long as he remained normal, he just couldn't see it."

Undated newspaper clippings
Wilmington Delaware Journal-Every Evening, September 21, 1935
The Houston Chronical, Sunday February 4, 1940

The following, submitted September 2004, is from Roberta (Howe) Baumgartner

I am the grand daughter of Harry H. Howe. My grand father was an artist with a home in Buckfield, Maine. He painted all summer and traveled in the winter selling his paintings. He would stop in Ann Arbor at my parent's home. He carried the paintings in cardboard tubes; they were of landscapes and ships.

My grandmother Meta Singelton Howe (Harry's wife) and grandpa traveled to art shows where he sold his paintings. He also painted for the Dupont Corp. and did custom paintings for large business offices. One time I remember him saying he returned to an office and some one had added a bird in the tre., I asked him if he was offended and was told NO as long as they paid for it they could add what they wanted.

Grandpa had a stroke in 1958 and was brought to live with us in Ann Arbor, and he died 10 years later; he is buried in the local cemetery. Not only did he paint but also his father T Bailey Howe taught him. He was seen in ads for Devoe paints in National Geographic back in the "30's"
The following, submitted September 2004, is from Martha Vincent, great granddaughter of Harry Hambro Howe.

He died when I was five years old, but I remember him as strange old man in a wheelchair, who loved giving me rides. He was a stroke victim at some point, and didn't paint after that, to my knowledge.

According to the paperwork I have, one newspaper clipping from Sunday, February 4, 1940, from the "Houston Chronicle", Harry H. Howe's exhibit was opening the following day in the Rose Room of the Rice Hotel. The article states that Mr. Howe spent most of his life on the New England coast and the sea was in his blood, for his father was Capt. T. Bailey Howe, master of a Nantucket whaler, the Isabella. The elder Mr. Howe also was an artist, and taught his son how to paint.

This story coincides with everything I was told as a child. I have another clipping from an advertisement my great grandfather did for Devoe artists' materials. In his promotional blurb for the company Harry writes, "I find Devoe Artists' Oil Colors give the best results. And I know that they hold up beautifully, because both my father and grandfather used Devoe colors exclusively. Paintings they did many decades ago are, today, as brilliant as ever-free from any signs of fading or cracking."

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