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 Vivian Church Hoyt  (1880 - )

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Lived/Active: Illinois/Wisconsin      Known for: still life, mural-genre

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Ad Code: 4
Vivian Church Hoyt
from Auction House Records.
Still life
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
"Along the Road" A Biography of Vivian Church Hoyt
Written by: Margaret Hoyt

Born in Walworth, Wisconsin, this daughter of Merlyn Howard and Lois Worden Church showed an inherent talent early in life for recording her "reaction to reality." This innate gift, fostered and cultured devotedly, resulted in Mrs. Hoyt's becoming one of America's top artists, particularly well known for her flower paintings, but later achieving wider recognition because of her "relativity" pastels.

Vivian Church attended school in Austin, Illinois, where she was an honor graduate from Austin High School. She then enrolled in the Chicago Art Institute, graduating with honors after three years and continuing with post-graduate work for two more. She studied design, composition, illustration portraits, figures, still life and murals with John Vanderpoel, Fred Freer, Martha Baker, John C. Johansen, Louis Millet and Fred Richardson. While there thirty-five of her works rated Honorable Mention. Concurrent with completing her studies, she taught the Art Institute children's classes for three years and advanced water color class for one year. Then, receiving a scholarship, she attended Summer Art School at Saugatuck, Michigan.

In 1903 she and three other students were selected to paint fourteen murals of children at play for the Hermann Raster Elementary School of Chicago. Years later, in 1939, discovering ten of these murals water-soaked and torn as a result of a fire Mrs. Hoyt restored them. They now adorn the walls of the rebuilt school. The Chicago Art Institute sent fourteen representative pieces of her work for exhibit at the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis.

On September 20, 1905, after her post-graduate work was completed, she became Mrs. William Judson Hoyt, bride of the State Registrar of Vital Statistics at Springfield, Illinois. Her husband proved through the years to be her most severe critic, but co-operative and enthusiastic always as to her progress and accomplishments. The Golden Anniversary of this happy marriage was celebrated on September 20, 1955, at Clermont, Florida. Mr. Hoyt survives her, as do their three children, Wilma Lois (Mrs. G. S. Kennedy), Margaret and Howard Church Hoyt. In 1910 the family moved to Kennewick, Washington, to join Mrs. Hoyt's father in founding Church's Grape Juice Company. Mrs. Hoyt taught art in the public schools, and for seven years was Chairman of Art in the Kennewick Women's Clubs. She was also a member of the Executive Board of the Inland Empire Sunday School Association.

Seventeen years later the Hoyt family returned to Oak Park, Illinois, where Mrs. Hoyt actively engaged in creative work and teaching. She maintained her art studio and participated in related club work. In 1934, she developed a new technique for which she received high acclaim, not only in America but in Europe as well. This work, disregarding perspectives and done with relation to motion, caused C. J. Bulliet, art critic of the Chicago Daily News, to liken it to Einstein's theory of relativity. Thus, the "relativity" label, or "time space" description of these expressionistic, rather than impressionistic pictures came into use. There were eighty-one in the first showing, done in several series, created quickly and deftly from the front seat of a moving automobile, with pastels on various colored velour paper, with usually about forty strokes being used. These are emotional pieces done from the soul, not from repetition and exact representation, but a spontaneous expression of animated art. The first of her series was of scenes along the Illinois River. One of these was perhaps her favorite example of this mode. It depicted three Mexican girls and was called "Along the Road." Mrs. Hoyt had square-inch size reproductions made of this pastel, and used them for her trademark. Other than this, none of the pastels has been repeated, reproduced or enlarged.

In 1947, after Mr. Hoyt's retirement from the firm of John Cummings Lindop Real Estate, they moved to Clermont, Florida, where Mrs. Hoyt was active in art circles until the accident which resulted in her death. There, as in Illinois, she organized art activities, lecturing, teaching, painting and exhibiting her work. In November of 1954 she received a Citation from the American Artists' Professional League, New York City, for "Distinguished Participation in Arts as Regional Director for all of Central Florida." She was also visiting Professor of Art at the University of Florida, at Gainesville .

While art remained always the consuming passion of her life, she also found time and energy to act as Organizing Regent of Tomoka Chapter, D.A.R., Florida. Previously she had been Regent of Kennewick Chapter, Kennewick, Washington, and a member of the George Rogers Clark Chapter Chicago, Illinois. In line with this patriotic interest, she was a member of and active in the U. S. Daughters of 1812, Major Francis L. Dade Chapter, Sorrento, Florida. Other organizations with which she was affiliated were Chicago Art Institute Alumni Association; Oak Park-River Forest [Illinois] Art League; National League of American Pen Women, American Artists' Professional League; Illinois Women's Press Association; No-Jury Art Association of Illinois; and Clermont Woman's Club. She was listed in "Who's Who in American Art," "Who's Who in Chicago and Illinois," "Who's Who in the Central States," "Prominent Women of Illinois" (published by the Illinois Press Club) and "The National Society of Arts and Letters."

Her art has been shown at Exhibitions of the Art Students League, 1904-1905; Annual Shows at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1932, 1935, 1938 and 1941; Illinois State Museum at Springfield, Illinois; Florida Federation of Arts at Orlando Country Club, Tudor Gallery of the Chicago Women's Club, Research Studios at Maitland, Florida; Grant Park Open Air Show, Chicago; Century of Progress Exposition, Chicago, 1933 and 1934; Federation of Women's Clubs, Ocala, Florida, as well as various national and local art galleries. One-man shows were held at Highland Park [Illinois] Woman's Club in 1932; Mandel's Club Bureau, Chicago, in 1938; and Kenosha [Wisconsin] Art Museum, 1940.

Mrs. Hoyt's lectures included "Why I Like To Experiment in Art," "The New Vision," "42 Kinds of Space," "New Ideas in Art," "A Better Type of Painting," "What I Think About When I Paint," "Colonial Art and Development of American Vision," "Progress in the World of Art" and "My Scrap Book." She had numerous articles published in art magazines, and at the time of her passing was doing preliminary work on a book based on a diary of Judson Quincy Hoyt, her father-in-law, covering his trip to Denver in 1870. Among the prize-winning works done by this talented artist are: Honorable Mention at Art Exhibits of Illinois State Women's Clubs, National League of American Pen Women Award for oil portrait, "A Boy," in 1941; National League of American Pen Women First Prizes in 194 for "Boy in Red Shirt" and "Sunflowers." "Oak Park Avenue" took second prize for oil at Oak Park League Annual Show in 1944; and in 1952 she was awarded the Grumbacher Certificate of Merit for "December Roses" at the Florida International Art Exhibition at Lakeland, Florida. In public buildings she is represented by work in several schools of Chicago, Addison High School, Roanoke, Virginia; Northbrook Illinois] High School; one in Galesburg, Illinois; Erie Chapel Chancel, Chicago, Hines Hospital and Kraft Foods Company in Chicago; and in the lobby of the South Lake Hospital, Florida. Among numerous press comments recognizing her ability, perhaps excerpts from an article in "La Revue Modern," of Paris (1938), are representative:

"Among the best flower painters in America, Mrs. Vivian C. Hoyt occupies an uncontested place in the first rank, a place won as a result of efforts which have never been slackened -------Mrs. Hoyt has always been a painter. Her scholastic training has given her less than her innate gifts, although her studies were very brilliant. Her love of beauty has led her more surely than instruction toward the realization of her esthetic conceptions. Mrs. Hoyt seeks, above all, truth. Her paintings have, thus, a strong share of objectivity and logic. ------Her virility of expression and her robustness of construction deserve a place in the first rank and have obtained it."

While much of Vivian Church Hoyt's works were of a secular nature, spiritual impact is manifest in a number of them, particularly in the Chancel painting of The Christ in the Erie Chapel, Presbyterian Church, Chicago. A picture of Bibles used in her family through five generations, including that of her great, great, great- grandfather, Uriah Church, who served in the American Revolution, was loaned to the Old Brick Church of Walworth, Wisconsin, for their 100th anniversary celebration. Numerous such works are in possession of her family, attesting to spiritual guidance and thought. Among her papers was found a favorite Bible quotation: "Trust in the Lord with all thy heartin all thy ways acknowledge Him and He will direct thy path.' At the time of her death she was a member of the Methodist Church at Clermont.

Source: Margaret Hoyt

Information submitted by: Granville S. Kennedy, Jr.

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