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 Rixford (Rix) Upham Jennings  (1906 - 1996)



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Lived/Active: New York      Known for: landscape painting, illustration, design, etching, teaching

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Rixford Upham Jennings
An example of work by Rixford (Rix) Upham Jennings
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Biography from Meibohm Fine Arts, Inc.:

Rixford (Rix) Upham Jennings (American, 1906-1996) painter, commercial illustrator, designer, etcher and teacher.  Raised in East Aurora, New York, Rix was the son of Walter U. Jennings, a skilled coppersmith (“Chaser” hand-tooler) and master bookbinder at the Roycroft Campus, founded by writer-philosopher and businessman Elbert Hubbard

Rix studied at the Albright-Knox Art School in Buffalo, the Buffalo School of Fine Arts, the Buffalo Art Institute, and later furthered his studies at the Art Center in Los Angeles.  His professional career as a commercial artist started in the mid 1920’s. By 1928, he had designed stained glass windows for the St. Matthias Episcopal Church in East Aurora.  Between the years of 1944-45, he entered the animation school at Walt Disney Studios in Anaheim, California.  While there, he worked on Disney’s movie, Fantasia (released 1946).  He moved back to West New York in the 1950’s, where he resided for the rest of his life with his wife, artist Sydney Jennings and their children.

A versatile and prolific artist for over seventy years, he is primarily known for his landscape and cityscape watercolors, but also practiced in oils, charcoal, pastels, pen & ink, lithography, etching, woodcarving, tile painting and stained glass design.  He traveled extensively and painted in New York City, Grand Teton National Park, New England as well as Western New York.  He taught art classes at the University at Buffalo and held a position on the board of directors of the Professional Art Guild of Buffalo.  He also taught classes out of his own studio at his home in East Aurora.

He was a member of the American Watercolor Society (AWCS), the Buffalo Society of Artists (BSA), the Buffalo Print Club, the Philadelphia Watercolor Club, the Maine Art Association, Goose Rocks Beach, the Scriptors Club of Buffalo and was affiliated with the New York Watercolor Club (NYWC), and Niagara Frontier Watercolor Society (NFWS). Rix served as President of both the BSA (1945-46) and the Patteran Society and was one of the founding members of the Roycrofters-at-Large Association (RALA).  He designed the RALA Renaissance trademark which is still in use today.

In East Aurora, he contributed numerous art works to various public and professional buildings within the town.  He designed the East Aurora Village Seal, a series of murals at the local Aurora Town Hall (depicting the history of East Aurora) and the graphics for the Town’s 1968 Sesquicentennial Celebration.  He also completed murals featuring the Iroquois Nation, at the Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester New York.  He has done illustrations for the West Point Academy yearbook, and the first ten years of covers for the WNY magazine, Buffalo Spree.

He has exhibited at the Burchfield-Penney Art Center, Buffalo, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery (their annual exhibit of WNY artists), Buffalo, the Wilcox Mansion, Buffalo, the Keenan Center, Lockport, Meibohm Fine Arts, East Aurora, the headquarters for Fisher-Price (Mattel), East Aurora, Art Institute of Chicago (1939), the Chicago Watercolor Club, the AWS & the NYWC galleries, New York, Kennebunk, Maine, the Walt Disney School Gallery, and Princeton University.  He has won numerous awards over the course of his career including the Award of Merit by the American Watercolor Society, the Gold, Silver & Bronze Medals at the BSA as well as the Popularity Prize, and Best Drawing in a WNY exhibition. Rix died on January 20th, 1996 at the age of 89 in Mercy Hospital in Buffalo after a brief illness.

Compiled by Mark Strong of Meibohm Fine Arts, Inc. (Rewritten, Sources include: Who was Who in American Art 1999, 2/R Fine Arts Gallery Major Retrospective, East Aurora My Home Town book 1983, and the Buffalo News)

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