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 Alfred E A Montgomery  (1857 - 1922)

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Lived/Active: Kansas/California/Illinois      Known for: farm animal, landscape and corn still life painting

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Alfred E A Montgomery
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STILL LIFE WITH CORN
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
A school principal in Vermillion, Kansas, Alfred Montgomery then became in the 1880s and 1890s, the first teacher of drawing in the public schools of Topeka, Kansas.  He also gave art lectures, which contained "flamboyant pronouncements on art and other matters and did not endear him to his critics any more that his realistic paintings" (200), which were farm scenes. 

Montgomery had been orphaned in childhood and was "bound out" to farmers until he was 21 years old.  For his years of service, he was released with $100.  Somehow he got an education and studied art in America and in Europe.  His painting, Down on the Farm, received positive attention in Paris. 

Ultimately he spent much time in the Southwest, which resulted in an oil painting titled Fort Yuma Indian Farm and Reservation, and may have been painted in 1915.  For the last 16 years of his life, he lived in Los Angeles, California. 

Source:
Doris Dawdy, Artists of the American West, Volume II

Exhibition Record (Museums, Institutions and Awards):
Paris Exposition, 1890.

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born Lawndale, IL, 1857; died Los Angeles, CA, Apr. 20, 1922. Painter, specialized in farm scenes. Teacher. He was orphaned in childhood and was bound out to farmers until he was 21. He was the principal in Vermillion before becoming Topeka Public School’s first teacher of drawing and lecturer on art during the 1880’s– 1890s. He “Introduced art into Kansas Public Schools, established and taught art classes in Topeka Public Schools, 1887.” He became a traveling lecturer and was called the “farmer-painter” because of his use of commonplace farm subjects, particularly corn. He painted “Down on the Farm”, which was exhibited at the Paris Exposition in 1890. His last 16 years were spent in Los Angeles, CA where he continued to lecture and paint.
Source:
COLLECTIONS:
Topeka Public Library; Joslyn Art 151 Museum; Philbrook Art Center; Springville, UT. Museum of Art; Orange Co. CA. Museum

SOURCES:
Susan Craig, "Biographical Dictionary of Kansas Artists (active before 1945)"
Topeka Cap & Topeka J (Topeka Capital, Topeka J (aka Topeka J) newspapers—usually reports of the Kansas Artists Exhibition 1st= Topeka Cap Nov. 11, 1925 9th= Topeka J Nov. 11, 1933 2nd= Topeka Cap Nov. 10, 1926 10th= Topeka J Nov. 10, 1934 3rd= Topeka J Nov. 19, 1927 11th= Topeka J Jan. 7, 1936 4th= Topeka J Nov. 3, 1928 12th= Topeka J Nov. 11 & 14, 1936 5th= Topeka J Nov. 2, 1929 14th= Topeka J Jan. 22, 1938 6th= Topeka J Oct. 18 & Nov. 1, 1930 15th= Topeka J Mar. 10, 1939 7th= Topeka J Oct. 24, 1931 16th= Topeka J Feb. 2 & 10, 1940 8th= Topeka J Oct. 22, 1932 17th= Topeka J Mar. 8 & 17, 1941) (Dec. 30, 1940); Los Angeles Times (Apr. 21, 1922); American Art Annual. New York: American Federation of Arts, 1898-1947, 01; Reinbach, Edna, comp. “Kansas Art and Artists”, in Collections of the Kansas State Historical Society. v. 17, 1928. p. 571-585.; Sain, Lydia. Kansas Artists, compiled by Lydia Sain from 1932 to 1948. Typed Manuscript, 1948.; Newlin, Gertrude Dix (Development of Art in Kansas. Typed Manuscript, 1951); Federal Writers’ Project of the Work Projects Administration for the State of Kansas. Kansas: A Guide to the Sunflower State. (American Guide Series) New York: Viking Press, 1939.; Dawdy 2: Dawdy, Doris Ostrander. Artists of the American West: A Biographical Dictionary. Volume 2. Chicago: Swallow Press, 1981.; Field.
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.

Biography from Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site:
Alfred Montgomery was an American painter and teacher who was born in Lawndale, Illinois on April 19, 1857.  He referred to Kansas as his native state.  Details from a few sources conflict about the life of this man since he was orphaned in childhood and bound out as a farmhand.  He never attended school, but was educated by a local minister.  While bound out as a farmhand, he obtained a teacher's certificate at sixteen years of age and worked as a drawing teacher in the public schools of Topeka, Kansas.  Another source records that he was bound out to farmers until he was twenty-one and then given $100 for all his years of service.  Montgomery's art education took place in the United Sates and abroad.  In Paris his painting Down on the Farm won fame.

Montgomery was school principal in Vermillion, Kansas, before becoming Topeka's first teacher of drawing and lecturer on art in the public schools—a position he apparently held in the 1880s and 1890s.  He is said to have been a traveling lecturer whose flamboyant pronouncements on art and other matters did not endear him to his critics any more than did his realistic paintings.  During the last sixteen years of Montgomery's life, he lived in Los Angeles where he continued to give lectures.   In 1906 he left the Midwest and settled in Los Angeles where he spent his remaining years. 

He died in Los Angeles on April 19th or 20th, 1922.

As a specialist in farm subjects, Montgomery painted corn, watermelons, chickens, forests, etc.  His works are held in the collections of Springville Museum in Utah, Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, Nebraska; and Philbrook Art Center, Tulsa, Oklahoma.

REFERENCES:

Dawdy, Doris Ostrander.  Artists of the American West:  A Biographical Dictionary.  [1974] 3 vols.  Chicago: Swallow Press.  1985.

Fielding, Mantle.  Dictionary of American Painters, Sculptors and Engravers.  Ed. by Glenn B. Optiz.  New York: Apollo Book.  1986.

Hughes, Edan Milton.  Artists in California:  1786-1940.  San Francisco: Hughes Publishing Company.  1986.


Biography from Crocker Art Museum Store:
A painter born in Lawndale, IL on April 20, 1857, Alfred Montgomery was orphaned as a child and never attended school, but was educated by a local minister.  While bound out as a farmhand, he obtained a teacher's certificate at 16 and worked as a drawing teacher in the public schools of Topeka, KS.

In 1906 he left the Midwest and settled in Los Angeles where he spent his remaining years.  He died in Los Angeles on April 20, 1922.

As a specialist in farm subjects, he painted still lifes of chickens, watermelons, corn, etc.

Exhibitions:
Paris Expo, 1900.

Collections: Orange County (CA) Museum; Springville (UT) Museum.

Literature:
AAA 1898, 1922; AAW; SCA; CSL; DR; Art News, 4-29-1922 and LA Times, 4-21-1922 and NY Times, 4-22-1922 (obits).
Source:
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
Nearly 20,000 biographies can be found in Artists in California 1786-1940 by Edan Hughes and is available for sale ($150). For a full book description and order information please click here.

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