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 Rosalie Lowrey  (1893 - 1951)

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Lived/Active: Ohio      Known for: portrait, still life paintings, illustrations

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Rosalie Lowrey
Portrait of Allen (c.1944)
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:

The following was compiled by June Jacobs Jordan:

From a newspaper article written in 1941 by Lewis F. Carr, Journal-Herald

Painter laureate
Rosalie Lowrey, of Granite Drive beyond Six Mile on the Covington Pike, is a true artist of the first rank. Of course she painted the Fred Rike portrait, recently presented to the city, and the Leopold Rauh portrait, which also adorns the city's walls; and countless others. But she is something more-a personality possessed of that fighting quality so necessary in the make-up of the true artist.

For the last 30 years, she has been building something-steadily, courageously, skillfully; not only a reputation and a technique and a clientele, but also an atmosphere, a group and an organization.  She knows not only painting, but also people.  She is the dean of Dayton artists in many ways.

The fighting part came in by necessity. Left almost without funds in early life, she realized that she would have to make her own way; and she felt she could do it by painting, which was a natural gift with her. Her rewards began to come to her.  But they came the hard way.  The insight as to what it takes besides ability to be a successful artist came when she was saying goodbye to that great teacher of painters, Cecilia Beaux.  She looked at Miss Lowrey a minute or two without saying a word, and then said, "You will succeed. You have the will, the fighting quality, to do so."  Not a word about ability, notice.  Just the word about the other quality.

Studied Piano Many Years
Born in Dayton she has lived here all her life. She believes in Dayton, Dayton artists, Dayton people and herself.  Her first essay into the artistic realm, was in music.  She studied piano many years under Miss Clara Kemper in the old Kemper home at the corner of Monument Avenue and St. Clair Street, gave many recitals there.  Later, when the building became the Dayton Art Institute, she began to have her pictures hung in the same building.  She has a thousand pleasant memories of the place.

She went to Miss Thomas' private school until the sixth grade, then to Central District, Steel High School and finally took a year in the Howe-Morot school at the corner of Robert Boulevard and West First Street.  Her fingers were busy all the time, vibrant with her love of drawing and painting.  At the latter school, she decided to become a painter and became much interested in the Art Students' League here, and in the Montgomery County Art Association, under Mr. Houston Lowe, president.

Eventually, she went to the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts at Philadelphia, and then on to New York, where she studied under Hugh Breckenridge and Cecclia Beaux.  It was these two who made the greatest impression on here as teachers.  Another was Director Oliver of the Chicago Art Institute.
Here in Dayton, her associations with kindred souls began to round out.  She idolized Mr. Lowe and came to meet the painter, Robert Whitmore, who was an inspiration to her.  She remembers also Mr. Wessel and Mr. Barnhorn of the Art Institute, and came to know Mrs. Harry Munger, Dan Blau, Mrs. Jesse Aull and Mrs. Julia McCoy.  She teaches five classes in painting here in the city these days.
Her resources dwindled, and she had to work harder and harder- through desperation at times.  But she began to get more and more commissions for portraits and began to do pastel drawings of children. Gradually, she and her sister, Julia raked and scraped enough money together to buy their tiny home in the country.

They have no car, and Miss Lowrey commutes by bus almost every day.

She's a Carpenter, Too.
"Yes," she laughs, "I find I have to know how to do a lot of things in the day's work. I 'have to know good canvas; then I have to be a pretty good carpenter and make the frame the size I want it, and then I have to know how to stretch the canvas.  "Then there's question of paints.  I have to know them and be a pretty shrewd buyer, because paints can really run into quite an investment.  I have to know people and talk them into the right pose and into the idea of the tediousness of sitting for portraits.  "Then brushes. A painter must own half a hundred anyway, and must know them as an expert golfer knows his clubs-"

"How long does it take to do an oil portrait?" she was asked. "Oh, about a week," she said. We watched as she went skillfully and rapidly ahead.  First, she drew in the likeness, her crayons flying with the deftness and sureness of her touch.  Then over it, or brushing it away.  Gradually, the likeness began to paint out the charcoal, painting right ness began to take life on the canvas, as she put in the natural flesh colors and mixed up the right shade for the hair.

No Fuss or Fury
Two or three hours for five or six days, she said, and it would be finished.  She works mostly in the home of Dr. and Mrs. Lynn Jones (Georgie Boyer Jones, her mother's sister) on Oakwood Avenue, though often she works in the home of her subject.  There is no fuss nor fury about her, no evidences of temperament.  She is simply a hard-working artist who knows her stuff and does it.

"What are some of your favorite jobs?" she was asked. "Oh, the portrait of my mother, there.  And the one of my brother  And I enjoyed doing the Rike portrait and the Rauh portrait very much, as I enjoy all my work."

"What do you consider the most interesting portrait?"  Her eyes sparkled. "Oh, the next one, always!"  "Well, what do you do for recreation?"  "Oh, make jam and jelly and pickles and dig in the garden and cut weeds and take long walks.  You see, we live only five minutes' walk from Stillwater River, and we love to walk and walk, or just sit still and study the wild life.  We love our home in the country.

She holds her classes each week through the cooler months at the following various places: The Young Women's League the Christian Congregational Church at Shiloh, the Charles McLean Book Store and at the homes of Mrs. Leon Meuche and Mrs. Lynn Jones. She is never idle.  If she hasn't a commission for a portrait, she stays home and paints still life and other things she loves to do.

She is the daughter of the late A. W. Lowrey and a granddaughter of the late Oliver P. Boyer.  She is a member of the National Association of Women Artists, and prizes her membership highly.  Some day, she hopes to do a knockout portrait of her cat, Jupiter, guardian spirit of the home.

A portion of a column by Roz Young, Dayton Daily News – November 12, 1988

Chance encounter leads to love affair with Pooh
In the early part of this century 14 Dayton artists, poets, photographers and architects organized the Seven Arts Society. Charlotte Reeve Conover and Youel B. Mirza were writers, Paul Shivell was a poet, Rosalie Lowery and Jacob Royer were portrait artists. Chester Nicodemus was a sculptor, Jane Reese and Frank Betz were photographers, Robert Whitmore and Harry McPherson were landscape artists and Louis B. Lott was an architect.

Names of the three other artists in the group have been lost. Nobody kept notes of the meetings. It was an exclusive group. "One of the members had to die before anybody else could get in," Fred Betz said, when we talked about it at the Sinclair art show. "And none of them died while the society was operating.". . .

Source:
Notes left in the family papers by Virginia Jordan the niece of Harriett Boyer Lowrey. Virginia Jordan was the mother of Allen Lee Jordan husband of June Jacobs Jordan


This biography from the Archives of AskART:

The following biography was submitted in September of 2006 by  collector and art historian Michael Perez:

Rosalie Lowrey was born in Dayton, Ohio in 1893. She actually born Alice Rosalie Lowrey but decided to use only her middle name throughout her career. Painting was always a natural gift for her and was also a gifted musician. She was always drawing and painting and studied with the early members of the Montgomery County Art Association which had a close association with the Dayton Art Institute. Eventually she traveled to Philadelphia and studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. From there she went to New York and studied at the Art Students League under famous artists Hugh Breckenridge and Cecelia Beaux who made the greatest impression on her as teachers. She also attended the Art Institute of Chicago and was greatly influenced by Director Oliver.

Lowrey often struggled to make ends meet at times, but later in life became the most famous portrait painter in the region. She actively taught classes at the Dayton Art Institute. She bought a house in the country with her sister, but, was never able to afford a car, so, she commuted by bus into Dayton to work. During her lifetime she was known as the 'Dean of Dayton Artists' by the Dayton residents. Rosalie Lowrey was known primarily as a portrait and still life painter, as well as, teacher.   

Rosalie Lowrey was a charter member of the Dayton Society of Painters and Sculptors which was established in 1938. She was a member of the Montgomery Art Association, the National Association of Women Artists and Sculptors, the Ohio Watercolor Society, the Schroeder Foundation of Artists in St. Louis, Missouri, and the Dayton Art Institute.

She exhibited at the National Association of Women Artists and Sculptors 1934-1944, the Ohio Watercolor Society 1932, the Ohio Women Painters, and the Dayton Art Institute (including their traveling exhibitions). 

Rosalie Lowrey died in Dayton on April 7, 1951 at the age of 58.


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