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 Julia Graydon Sharpe  (c. 1857 - 1939)

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Lived/Active: Michigan/Indiana      Known for: landscape and portrait painting, graphics, writing

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Ad Code: 4
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
Coastal Scene
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
Biography from Wickliff & Associates Auctioneers, Inc.:
The following biography was submitted by Angela Lawson of Wickliff & Associates Auctioneers, Inc.

Julia Graydon Sharpe (ca 1857-1939) was born in Indianapolis, the daughter of Joseph Kinne and Mary Ellen (Graydon) Sharpe.  Her father was a prosperous leather merchant and real estate operator, and for some years after the death of banker Calvin Fletcher in 1866, the family lived in the large house Fletcher had built at what is now 10th and Pennsylvania Streets.

Julia Sharpe attended private schools in Indianapolis, and then Chegaray Institute in Philadelphia, where she got special instruction in voice.  Returning to Indianapolis, she attended Love and Gookins' first Indiana School of Art in 1878-1880, apparently specializing in drawing.

Her artistic work then underwent a hiatus, partly because her father was a victim of the depression of the 1870s, partly because of her social activity.  She was an early and longtime member of the Flower Mission, and an active member of The Portfolio. Her activities brought her into frequent contact with James Whitcomb Riley.  In 1894-1896, she was a student of William Forsyth and T. C. Steele at their second Indiana School of Art, and in 1896 she was one of a group of students who went with Forsyth on a sketching expedition to Corydon and Cedar Farm.  Apparently Forsyth was a personal admirer of Sharpe, though he married someone else the next year.

In the winter of 1896-1897, Sharpe studied in New York at the Art Students League (with Augustus Saint Gaudens among others) and at William Merritt Chase's School of Art.  In the fall of 1898 she went with her six-year-old niece on a sketching trip to the mountains of West Virginia.

In the early 1900s Sharpe had a studio on the top floor of her parents' home in Morton Place, and became well known for her studio parties.  She worked also in Brown County, in Brookville, and on Traverse Bay in Michigan.  She also became much interested in designing bookplates.

Julia Sharpe was a loyal member and a guardian of the history of the Second Presbyterian Church and the Home for Aged Women (now Indianapolis Retirement Home), and of the DAR (Caroline Scott Harrison Chapter).  She was a fluent writer, and gave readings to many organizations, often in dialect in the style of J. W. Riley and Bret Harte.  She never married, but lived with her parents and then with her two sisters, Ella Sharpe Duncan and Anna T. Sharpe.


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