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 Elsie Motz Lowdon  (1883 - 1960)

About: Elsie Motz Lowdon
 

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Lived/Active: Texas/New York      Known for: watercolor on ivory miniature portrait painting

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Biography from Brock & Co.:
Brazos Past: Waco's own Elsie Motz Lowdon gained national acclaim for painted miniatures (By Terri Jo Ryan, Special to the Tribune-Herald, Saturday December 11, 2010)

"Many Texas artists are known for their larger than life subjects — like the siege of the Alamo or the heroes of the Republic such as Sam Houston and Stephen F. Austin. The story of the Lone Star State and its people is often depicted on canvases as broad as the Rio Grande with a spirit as wild as the western wind.

But a Waco-born artist of delicate sensibilities is remembered 50 years after her death as a master of the miniature.

Elsie Motz Lowdon was born in 1883 and reared in Waco and even studied art at Baylor University. But she moved to New York City as a young woman to study with artists Lucia Fairchild Fuller (1870-1924) and Elsie Dodge Pattee (1875-1976).

From them, she learned the technique of applying watercolor to thin sheets of ivory, a technique that became the standard medium for the fine art in the 18th century.

A 1916 work, Nude With Goldfish, measuring less than 5 by 7 inches, was exhibited to great acclaim at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1919.  She brought it out again in 1928 for a show in Los Angeles where it won the popular vote as best miniature and received a medal for its technical merits.

According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, which reported on its appearance at the High Museum in Atlanta, where it was singled out by critics as the centerpiece of the show, Lowdon turned down an offer from the French government to buy the piece for its national museum, because she didn’t want it to leave the country.

Lowdon’s commissions included some of the leading families of Texas, including the Hobbys of Houston and the Blaffer family of art patrons.  Her works were widely exhibited in New York City and Washington, D.C.

Lowdon’s paintings were also included in the Texas Centennial Exhibition of 1936.

Her miniatures may be seen today in the permanent collections of The Grace Museum in Abilene, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and the Smithsonian American Art Museum in the nation’s capital, as well as in private collections belonging to fans of the genre.

Lowdon died May 16, 1960, in Tarrant County, after living for many years in Abilene."

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