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 Margaret West Kinney  (1872 - 1952)

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Lived/Active: Illinois/New York/New Jersey      Known for: figure, history, portrait and genre painting, etching, illustration, mural

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Ad Code: 3
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
Riding Toward a Village
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Margaret West Kinney was born in Peoria, Illinois on June 11, 1872. She received her first formal art training at the Art Students League* in New York under William M. Chase. She then traveled to Paris to further her studies. While in Paris, Margaret was accepted into the Academy Julian* under the tutelage of Tony Robert-Fleury and Jules-Joseph Lefebvre. After a period at the Academy she entered the Atelier Bouguereau and studied under Louis-Joseph-Raphael Collin (1850-1916). She then studied briefly at the Beaux Arts Academy* under Luc-Oliver Merson (1846-1920).

Margaret West returned to the United States and continued her studies in Boston. She then opened a winter studio in Chicago in the Studebaker Building on Michigan Avenue and spent much time on a commission she received of decorating the vestibule of the Fine Arts Building. It was part of a cooperative effort with other artists.

During this period, she lived much of the time in Peoria, where she painted numerous portraits of local people. One of her subjects was Reverend Henderson of Averyville Congregational Church.  Of her portraiture, it was written in The Peoria Star, October 1, 1898: "Her portraits have a decided artistic value irrespective of their association with the subject.  The subject is not stuck in the middle of the canvas with a flat background all around the face, but is posed in his or her most characteristic attitude and amid appropriate accessories."

She began submitting works for exhibitions.  Four paintings were accepted for the Western Artists' Association show at Cincinnati in 1898-99 and another by the Art Institute of Chicago in 1898-99.  She also showed her work in Chicago at the Art Exchange. In 1901, she exhibited one painting at the Art Institute of Chicago*.

While in Chicago, Margaret met and in 1900 married Troy Kinney (1871-1938). He was an illustrator and printmaker, and she and her husband illustrated together under the name "the Kinneys" for Century, Saturday Evening Post, Harper's and novels, etc.  In 1912, she was elected to the Society of Illustrators*.

They also co-authored a book, The Dance, It's Place in Art and Life, and in this publication did illustrations of dancers moving through choreographed steps to acquaint readers with the "alphabet of the art" from primitive to classical ballet and 20th century contemporary.  In the preface they admit to having two overwhelming enthusiasms: painting and dance.

The couple designed decorations for the Grand Opera House in Chicago and the Hotel Baltimore in Kansas City.  Eventually the Kinneys moved to New York with their son, John, and later to Falls Village, Connecticut where they stayed until her death in 1952.

Sources:
Channy Lyons, Women of Peoria 1620 to 1920
www.roughtongalleries.com

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