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 Fred Lawrence Messersmith  (1924 - 2009)

About: Fred Lawrence Messersmith
 

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Lived/Active: Florida      Known for: modernist-leaning landscape-harbors

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Fred Lawrence Messersmith
An example of work by Fred Lawrence Messersmith
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
Biography from Butler Institute of American Art:
In 1964, while he was chairman of the Art Department at Stetson University in Deland, Florida, Fred Messersmith met Ruth Mead, founder of the Martha’s Vineyard Art Association.   Francis Chapin, a summer Vineyard resident, was an artist-in-residence at Stetson at the time.  Ruth urged Fred and his wife, Jane, to come to the lovely island for the summer, and so began the Messersmiths connection to the Vineyard and Fred’s 34-year history with the Association.

Fred and Jane began coming to Edgartown in the summer of 1964.  Fred painted with Francis Chapin in the classroom above the gallery and started teaching watercolor classes in 1969.  In 1986, he began a ten year term as gallery director, and of course, worked closely with Ruth Mead.  Jane’s gracious touch was felt throughout the gallery as well as she welcomed first time visitors and returning artists each summer.

When one pictures Edgartown, very often one sees the white captains’ houses and the harbor as Fred has painted them in watercolor.   There is probably not a picket fence or turreted tower that he has not captured on the island!  However, his paintings in casein on rice paper capture a more atmospheric Vineyard with rich red skies over dunes or moonlit seascapes with the reflections of the harbor lights, moon and stars in the water.

Fred Lawrence Messersmith passed away on March 23, 2009 in DeLand, Florida.  He was 84 years old.

EDUCATION:
Ohio Wesleyan University, BFA and MA

TEACHING EXPERIENCE:
Stetson University
Martha’s Vineyard Art Association

COLLECTIONS:
Springfield Art Museum, Illinois
Stetson University

MEMBERSHIPS:
American Watercolor Society
Watercolor USA Honor Society
Florida Watercolor Society
Alabama Watercolor Society
Southern Watercolor Society

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