|This biography from the Archives of AskART:|
|The following, submitted October 2005, is from Lloyd Beldon Lacey of Enid, Oklahoma.|
As a personal project I researched the life of Cyril Kay-Scott, partly
because I knew his Phyllois Crawford, his fourth wife very well when I lived in Santa Fe.
His real name was Frederick Creighton Wellman; he was the father of
Paul Wellman and Manly Wade Wellman, both well-known authors. He
abandoned his first family, and married a woman who was an accomplished
concert pianist. Then, leaving her, he "ran away" to South
America with a young
woman from New Orleans, at which time they decided to use false names,
presumably to escape being traced by her family. She became
Evelyn Scott, now recognized as an important figure in women's
literature. Her book Escapade is an account of their hardships during their stay in South America.
He also wrote a book of autobiography, titled Life Is Too Short,
which is not to be trusted completely because he had a self-serving
personality that tended to enlarge his accomplishments beyond reality.
It was commonly believed that they never married, because it conflicted
with their beliefs about "freedom" from the constraints of society and
its rigorous demands for conformity.
In a telephone conversation with a member of the family, I was told
that the "Scotts" had indeed been married and that a copy of the
marriage license was in the papers left by Wellman. (I need to renew my
research to refresh my memory about the location of those
papers.) I was told that they decided to marry largely to
legitimize their son, Creighton Scott.
Wellman's third wife was Phyllis Crawford, who wrote a handful of books
under the name of Josie Turner, as well as her own name. I knew her
quite well when I lived in Santa Fe, but she never talked about the
marriage, and my impression was that it was more than a disappointment
to her. Much of what I learned about that situation came from
gossip from Mary Rose Bradford (widow of Roark Bradford) who was a
contempory and knew the couple during the period from 1929 to the early
Much of Wellman's biography as Cyril Kay-Scott is overshadowed by the
story of Evelyn Scott. The remainder of his story is somewhat
obscured by his tendency to avoid truth.
While in Santa Fe, he opened a school for artists, which apparently was
not a raging success but not entirely a failure, either. He
suddenly decided to move to El Paso, and as I recall his motive was
similar to his plan for a school for artists. Not long afterward, he
moved to Denver to become the head of the Denver Art Museum, a post
that he did not have for very long. About that time, he appears
to have turned most of his energies to writing. As I recall, my
research said that he moved back to New York. The Wellman family
was reunited during the mid-1930s, and an article written by Paul
Wellman about that event is in the files of the Kansas City Star.
In my telephone conversation with that member of the family mentioned
above, he told me that an aunt, a sister of Frederick Creighton
Wellman, was reported to have said "All you have to do to get along
with Fred is to adore him."
I have never done much with my research, but I may not be finished with
it. I think the Wellmans are more fascinating than the "Kay-Scotts."
Nevertheless, it's quite a good story that has not been fully
developed, in my opinion. I may decide to expand on it, and one track
to follow will be the archives containing papers from both Cyril and
Evelyn. If I don't get around to enlarging the story, perhaps
what is found here may provide clues to lead someone else to the trail.
|This biography from the Archives of AskART:|
|A portrait painter, muralist, author, art educator, "administrator,
physician, bacteriologist, linguist, and economist", Frederick
Creighton Wellman painted under the name of Cyril Kay-Scott. He
was born near Independence, Missouri, and earned a medical degree from
the Kansas City Medical College in Missouri. He lived for a short
period in Enid, Oklahoma and then was a Medical Officer in Angola at
the American Mission.|
An expert in tropical medicine, he worked for nine years in Central
Africa, was briefly in London, and then taught on the medical faculties
of the Oakland, California Medical College and at Tulane University in
In 1913, he eloped with a young woman, Elsie Dunn, from New Orleans
while married to his second wife, and they went to New York City and
took new names with him becoming Cyril Kay-Scott and she Evelyn Scott---a
name for which she later became known as a poet and novelist.
The couple lived in Europe and Brazil for five years, and he held a
variety of jobs including bookkeeper for the Singer Sewing
Machine Company, rancher, mining engineer and farmer. After World
War I, they lived in Greenwich Village in New York, and Kay-Scott
became a pulp-fiction writer under the name of Richard Irving
Carson. He also managed an estate in Bermuda and there determined
to become a painter.
For art training he went to Europe and studied at the University of
London and in Paris at the Academie Colarossi with Tony Robert-Fleury,
Francois Qualvee and Leon Bonnat. He did numerous portrait
commissions and became a specialist in watercolors.
Cyril Kay-Scott returned to America in 1928, and married for a fourth
time and settled in Santa Fe, New Mexico where he founded the Kay-Scott
School of Painting, which became the El Paso School of Art. He
also established a school of painting in San Antonio.
In 1931, the Santa Fe School was merged with the University of Denver
as a summer school, and he became Director of the Denver Art Museum and
Dean of the College of Fine Arts at the University of Denver. He
also wrote a weekly art column for the Rocky Mountain News and was elected to the City Art Commission.
Three years later he resigned from the museum and moved to New York and
worked as a WPA (Works Progress Administration) artist on a mural
project with one of his five children. In 1943, his biography, Life Is Too Short, was published.
His work can be found in the collection of the Denver Art Museum.
John and Deborah Powers, Texas Painters, Sculptors and Graphic Artists, pp. 269-270
|These Notes from AskART represent the beginning of a possible future biography for this artist. Please click here if you wish to help in its development:|
|Artist was referenced in Sain, Lydia. Kansas Artists, compiled by Lydia Sain from 1932 to 1948. Typed Manuscript, 1948.|
Susan Craig, "Biographical Dictionary of Kansas Artists (active before 1945)"
|This and over 1,750 other biographies can be found in Biographical Dictionary of Kansas Artists (active before 1945) compiled by Susan V. Craig, Art & Architecture Librarian at University of Kansas.|
|** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at registrar@AskART.com.|