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 Marie Antoinette Ney  (1846 - 1915)

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Lived/Active: California/New York      Known for: missions, florals, mountain landscape

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Ad Code: 4
Marie Antoinette Ney
from Auction House Records.
Beach at La Jolla, California
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Marie Antoinette Ney (1846-1915) was born in Vernon, Oneida County, New York, into a wealthy family; her father was a stockbroker. She attended the Cooper Institute and the Art Students League in New York City, and subsequently taught art in New Jersey and Long Island.

In 1889 she moved to Southern California, and for a time lived in a cabin that she built for herself near Mt. Wilson in the San Gabriel Mountains, overlooking Pasadena and the Los Angeles basin. In the 1890s she taught art in Pasadena's schools, including the Throop Institute (later Cal Tech), where she was in charge of drawing and painting while rooming at the Institute's Wooster Building. The Throop was then identified with Pasadena's so-called Arroyo Seco Culture, a community of artists, crafts-people and writers living on the hillsides of the arroyo, whose work married Spanish, and California Indian, materials and designs to the wider Arts and Crafts Movement.

Probably it was Ney's association with the Throop/Arroyo Seco artistic community that led her to paint many of California's historic and picturesque old missions, for which she became quite popular in her day.

By 1900 Ney had her own studio in Pasadena, and exhibited in the Academy of New York City, the National Academy of Design, and the American Water Color Society. She did much to popularize views of California missions and landscapes among an American public intrigued by the so-called Land of Sunshine. In her last years Marie Ney lived in her sister's home in Altadena, at the foot of the San Gabriel Mountains.

This biography was written and submitted July 2004 by Mark Neuman of Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. His sources include:

- J.M. Guinn, "Historical and Biographical Record of Southern California". Chapman Publishing, Chicago, 1902, p. 793 (a long entry, w/ much detail)

- Pasadena City Directories, 1893-1915. (confirms association with Throop Institute, among other things).

- Kevin Starr, "Inventing the Dream: California Through the Progressive Era". Oxford, 1985 (the standard work on SoCal into the 1920s, including the Arroyo Seco Culture and the Throop Institute).

Neuman writes: "I appreciate the assistance of the Pasadena Museum of History (Lian Partlow), the Southwest Museum (Kim Walters), and the La Jolla History Society/Museum. Jessica Niblo of the Polytechnic School, Pasadena, has been a cheerful and learned resource.

In 1907 "Poly", where I attended school, splintered off from the Throop Institute, the rest of the Throop becoming Cal Tech. So it turns out that Marie Ney, teaching painting and drawing at the Throop, was an antecedent of those poor distracted Poly art teachers I systematically harrassed in the 1940s. The Poly alumni magazine will feature "me and Marie" in its coming issue."

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Vernon, NY on Sept. 11, 1846. Ney studied in NYC at the Cooper Union, ASL, and with Wm M. Chase. In 1889 she toured California and was so enchanted with it she opted to remain. After spending the summer in a cabin on Mount Wilson, she settled in Pasadena. There she taught drawing in the public schools and headed the art department at Throop Polytechnic Institute until 1895. A spinster and hearing impaired, she was active in Pasadena until her death on Aug. 5, 1915. Her painting subjects included missions, still lifes, landscapes of southern California, British Columbia, and the Rockies. Exh: Chamber of Commerce (LA), 1894; Ruskin Art Club (LA), 1904-05; Shakespeare Club (LA), 1906; Alaska-Yukon Expo (Seattle), 1909. In: Southwest Museum (LA); Santa Fe Railway (Chicago).
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
City Directory; California State Library (Sacramento); Women Artists of the American West; Pasadena Star, 8-6-1915 (obituary).
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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