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 Gene Pelham  (1909 - 2004)

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Lived/Active: New York/Vermont      Known for: rural landscape, magazine covers

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Gene Pelham
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following, submitted September 2004, is from Tom Pelham, son of the artist.


Born in New York City, Gene Pelham earned a distinguished reputation as an illustrator of magazine covers, especially the "Saturday Evening Post" and for landscape paintings of rural Vermont. He also did some portrait work.

Prior to moving to Vermont, Mr. Pelham studied at the Grand Central School of Art and the National Academy of Design in New York City. Upon graduation, he was commissioned by the City of New York to design and paint murals for the 1939 World's Fair.

Later in 1939, Mr. Pelham moved to West Arlington, Vermont. He spent the next years (1940 - 1954) producing his own work, assisting Norman Rockwell during his years as premier Saturday Evening Post cover artist, raising a family, and operating a small family farm. In 1942 and 1943, Mr. Pelham's work was featured on the covers of the "Saturday Evening Post".

Gene Pelham's paintings, mostly in oils, have captured Vermont's special blend of natural beauty and early New England rural life style. Passive scenes containing barns, covered bridges, maple sugar houses, and fall foliage vistas are painstakingly portrayed in original character and nuances of color. Many of his paintings have been used on Christmas cards for the American Artists Group and can be found in private collections throughout Vermont and the rest of the United States.

His work has been published in "Vermont Life Magazine" as well as in numerous articles and books on Norman Rockwell.

EXHIBITIONS
Southern Vermont Art Center, Manchester, Vermont
High Museum, Atlanta, Georgia
J.L. Hudson Gallery, Detroit,Michigan
Camelback Gallery, Tucson, Arizona
Vose Gallery, Boston, Mass.
Capricorn Gallery, Bethesda, Maryland

_________________________________________________________________________________The following obituary was submitted by Billie Veach, March 2005, courtesy of Shae Family Funeral Homes

Gene Pelham, of Arlington, a noted Vermont artist of the Rockwell era, died at age 95 on Saturday morning (11/06/2004) at Central Vermont Hospital in Berlin, Vermont.

Mr Pelham was born Eugene Thomas Pelham, Jr in New York City on October 16th, 1909 to Eugene Thomas Pelham and Victoria (Strittmater) Pelham. Prior to moving to West Arlington, Vermont in 1939, Mr Pelham studied at the Grand Central School of Art and the National Academy of Design. Upon graduation, he was commissioned by the City of New York to design and paint murals for exhibition buildings at the 1939 World's Fair.

Upon moving to Vermont, Mr Pelham continued his career as an artist. From 1940 to 1954, he produced his own work, was Norman Rockwell's studio photographer during Rockwell's Arlington period, operated a small family farm and raised a family. In 1942 and 1943, Mr. Pelham's work was published on the covers of a number of issues of the Saturday Evening Post and other noted magazines. Subsequently, he continued his painting career as well as create The Guide, now known as the Vermont News Guide.

Mr Pelham's paintings, mostly in oils, captured Vermont's special blend of natural beauty and early New England rural life style. Passive scenes, Vermont mills, barns and covered bridges, rivers, maple sugaring houses and fall foliage vistas were portrayed in original character and nuances of color.

He exhibited at the Southern Vermont Art Center where he was a past member of the Board of Trustees. He also exhibited at the High Museum in Atlanta, the J.L. Hudson Gallery in Detroit, the Camelback Gallery in Tucson, the Vose Gallery in Boston and the Capricorn Gallery in Bethesda, Maryland, among others. His works were reproduced and distributed worldwide by the New York Graphic Society and the Arthur Kaplan Co. The American Artists Group used many of his works for Christmas cards.

His wife, Katherine Barling Pelham and his sister, Beatrice Morgan, predeceased Mr Pelham. He leaves four children: Anne Pelham of Raleigh, North Carolina, Melinda Murphy of Atkinson, New Hampshire, Tom Pelham of Montpelier, Vermont and Muriel Smith of Rutland, Vermont. He also leaves 7 grandchildren including Alison Glass of Boston; Merideth Schwartz of Kingwood, New Jersey; Wendy Glass of Hauula, Hawaii; Nathaniel Murphy of Oakland, California; Gillian Murphy of Burlington, Vermont; and Rachel Pelham and Rebecca Pelham of Montpelier, Vermont. Mr Pelham also has two great grandchildren, Ayla and Talia Schwartz of Kingwood, New Jersey.

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