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 Ernest Richard Stock  (1896 - 1955)

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Lived/Active: New York/Massachusetts/Connecticut / England      Known for: genre, figure, landscape painting, architecture, decoration

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Ad Code: 4
Ernest Stock
from Auction House Records.
Subway Construction
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following biographical information has been provided by Mr. Michel G. Delhaise of Woodbury, Connecticut.


Born in Bristol, in the United Kingdom, Ernest Stock moved to New York in 1919 after a distinguished career in the British Royal Flying Corps (before it became the R.A.F., Royal Air Force), serving as a pilot in France.  Wounded in action, he ended the war as a dashing young lieutenant.

Stock had attended the prestigious Bristol Grammar School before the war, the equivalent of one of the finer private schools in the U.S. frequented by the upper classes, and left this military academy at age 17 with the rank of corporal before joining the British Royal Flying Corps in Canada.  After the war, he trained as an architect and decorator in the New York offices of Mack, Jenny and Tyler, known as one of the best studios of decorators of public buildings and other grand spaces, including the Morgan Library Annex, the Assembly Chamber at the State Capitol in Madison, Wisconsin, and the Common Chambers in Ottawa's Parliament Buildings.

During the 1920s, as his vast body of work executed in France attests, he regularly traveled back and forth to Western Europe, visiting France and Italy.  In 1926, he was briefly married to the famous American author, Katherine Anne Porter, settling in Merryall Valley, a village within the town of New Milford in Connecticut.  The cultural differences between a poor aspiring Texan writer and an old school Briton did not make for a good match, although most Porter's biographers tend to depict Ernest Stock in an unflattering manner, and the marriage, her second or third of many, did not last.

In 1927, Stock found true love in Anne Bournonville (1902-1996), a Pennsylvania native, and they eventually settled in Wilton, Connecticut after having lived for a while in Concord, Massachusetts.

Originally specializing in mural decorations, Ernest Stock was best known for his oil paintings, pastels, watercolors, drawings and prints (etchings, woodblocks and lithographs).  His subject matters ranged from views of New York,  Paris, Brittany and  rural Connecticut where he lived. He often painted marines, harbor and sea views, and portraits.  His powerful documented views of New York construction sites and industrial sites verge on social realism.  A successful commercial artist as well, Ernest Stock regularly exhibited his work.

Stock was a member of the Society of Independent Artists.  He then joined Salons of America, established in 1922 as a splinter group of the Society of Independent Artists, and the Whitney Studio Club, another group of independent-minded artists in New York.

A number of exhibitions are documented, including an individual catalogued exhibition of 41 works at London's Beaux Arts Gallery circa 1930; other solo exhibitions were organized in Boston at the XXth Century Club; in Bridgeport, Connecticut at the Burroughs Library Gallery in 1948; in Concord, Massachusetts at the Concord Library Gallery in 1950; and in Boston at the Copley Society in 1954.

Stock participated in a number of group shows, including at the influential Montross Gallery in New York in 1940, where New York Times art critic, Howard Devree, noted Stock's clever and well designed Subway Construction

Other group shows include:

1) The 19th Annual Exhibition of the Society of Independent Artists at the Grand Central Palace in 1935, with the entry of a watercolor as noted by New York Times art critic Edward Alden Jewell

2) The 1924, at 55 [55 Christopher Street] in New York, exhibition of a New York cityscape titled The Village, featuring, as noted by the New York Times, "a jolly stage-set New York that he calls The Village' decorated with window cleaners, drying wash and tidy awnings" (the New York Times further notes that this was the group of artists' third show at this venue);

3) The 1944, the Annual Exhibition of the Bridgeport Art League at the Burroughs Library Gallery with three entries, Dawn in Bridgeport, Downtown Skyline and City Street;

4) An undated exhibition at the Bridgeport Public Library with one painting, Paris, probably circa 1950;

5) A 1928  Paris' Salon Nautique exhibition of The Skyline of New York, a 1927 work that had been exhibited at above mentioned Beaux Arts Gallery in London, both times on loan from the Cunard Steamship Society Company's Paris office.  That particular work was illustrated in Creative Art, an Illustrated Magazine of Fine and Applied Art , Volume Six, January 1930, p. 62 (Albert and Charles Boni, Inc., New York, NY, publishers).

A successful illustrator, Ernest Stock illustrated Sarah M. Lockwood's Antiques 1620-1810 (Doubleday, New York, NY, 1926); Sarah M. Lockwood's An Illustrated ABC of American Antiques (Doubleday, Doran & Co, New York, NY, 1936); Stephen Vincent Benet's We Stand United & Other Radio Scripts (Farrar & Rinehart, New York, NY, 1945) and Alfred H. Stevens, Jr.'s The How of the Helicopter (Cornell Maritime Press, New York, NY, 1946).  Most of these books received favorable reviews in The New York Times.

During World War II, Ernest Stock served his adoptive country by working in the design department of United Aircraft's Sikorsky Aviation division in Startford, Connecticut.

Family Archives, courtesy of the artist's granddaughter, Ms. Karen, Schlegel;
New York Public Library Artists Files
Records at the Bridgeport Public Library's Historical Collections, Bridgeport, CT
New York Times Archives (accessed on-line);
Darlene Harbour Unrue's Katherine Anne Porter, The Life of An Artist , University Press of Mississippi, Jackson, MS, 2005);
Joan Givner's Katherine Anne Porter (Simon & Schuster, New York, NY, 1982).

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