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 John Alan Maxwell  (1904 - 1984)

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Lived/Active: New York      Known for: illustration, historical genre, mural paintings

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John Alan Maxwell
An example of work by John Alan Maxwell
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following information is from Ben Kozlovsky, Sr., and Doug McDaniel.  Kozlovsky provided the image of the painting by John Maxwell titled The Execution of Nathan Hale.

When John Maxwell died, a Johnson City, Tennessee Press Chronicle reporter wrote in 1984 that he was "a consummate artist and illustrator.  The Johnson Citian climbed to fame on the basis of his pens and brushes nearly 60 years ago--with illustrations appearing in such national publications as Collier's, Saturday Evening Post, Good Housekeeping, True, Redbook, Life, Cosmopolitan and others. "

"He sold his first illustration to Collier's in New York in 1925."  The article also mentions that in 1936, he won first place in a Society of Illustrators competition and was named one of the top-ten illustrators in the country.

"But he chose to return to Johnson City 18 years ago.  He was one of the earliest Johnson Citians to climb into the national limelight, riding on his skills as an artist."

"Mr. Maxwell died Friday afternoon in Johnson City Medical Center after a brief illness."

"But although Mr. Maxwell is gone, he has left a legacy for present and future Johnson Citians.  His lifelong ambition was to paint a historical mural to leave for Johnson Citians--and when Hamilton Bank opened its new headquarters last year, the dream came true.  A long mural on the first floor of the bank chronicles the significant history of the Upper East Tennessee area from the late 1700s to the turn of this century."

"It's a step back in history--the early frontier, Daniel Boone, Sycamore Shoals, Andrew Jackson, the Lost State of Franklin, John Sevier, Andrew Johnson, an old wood-burning train, old Fountain Square, street cars, the old Soldiers Home--it's all there."

"That was not the only Maxwell gift to our area.  There are other works of art--such as a historical mural on the wall of the restaurant at Tri-City Regional Airport.  During the U.S. Bicentennial in 1976, he painted a series of 12 plates on the heroes of the Revolution. "

"Mr. Maxwell was long considered an authority on the costumes of different periods, notably the Civil War.  He had a continuing collection of costumes, many used in his paintings. His skills were great, his legacy to us with his historical murals will gain in importance and value as the years go by. "

John Alan Maxwell was commissioned for the Virginia celebration of the nation's Bi-Centennial for a series of 12 collector plates called the Heroes of the Revolution.  His painting, The Execution of Nathan Hale, was an entry for that commission, but he did the designs for all of the plates.  In later life, he worked a lot in the collector plate industry, painting historical places, homes, landmarks, and historical events, mostly depicting the Civil War and Revolutionary War periods.

In 1976 John Alan Maxwell was commissioned to paint a series of paintings for the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) to be used by Castleton
Studios to produce a limited edition collector plates.  There were only 1776 plates of each painting made and numbered.

In recognition of Maxwell as a major southeast regional artist, the majority of Maxwell's work is housed at the Carroll Reece Museum at East Tennessee State University as part of their permanent collection.

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