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 Edith Maring Willey  (1891 - 1984)

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Lived/Active: Washington      Known for: portrait, landscape, mountains, seascape and still life painting, etching

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Ad Code: 4
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Mount Rainier, 20" x 24", signed lower left
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Edith Maring Willey was born on June 4, 1891, in Seattle, daughter of Cassius Clay Maring (known as C.C. Maring), an artist, illustrator and engraver, and Francetta Plummer Maring, who after the death of her husband in 1905 became a poet, writer, Seattle businesswoman and public official.  Edith Maring is said in her obituary to have taken up painting in the year of her father’s death, but given that she cites her father as one of the artists she studied with, her interest in art likely surfaced earlier.

Her first marriage, to Harry M. Cunningham in 1910, ended in divorce, and in 1919 she married Nahum Willey, a naval architect, also of Seattle.  Two children resulted from this marriage, born while the couple was living in Tacoma, WA in the 1920s. By 1930 they had returned to Seattle, where they lived until moving, in late 1945, to Bremerton, WA.  Edith Willey continued to live there after the 1969 death of her husband until near the time of her own death, at her son Clark’s home in Seattle, on Nov. 27, 1984.

Like her mother and her younger sister Helen (an often published writer of poetry and newspaper verse), Edith Maring Willey was active in the cultural life of Seattle, belonging to several organizations with an interest in writing and the visual arts.  Like a number of other local artists, she was also a member of The Mountaineers, a hiking and climbing club based in Seattle.

She studied with, among others, Eustace Paul Ziegler, and his influence can readily be seen in some of her landscapes.  She worked with watercolors as well as oils and painted a wide range of subject matter, being best known during her career as a portrait artist.  Many prominent Seattle men and women had portraits done by her.  Among these was a full-length rendering of Betty Ziegler, daughter of Eustace Ziegler, and a smaller one of the then well-known writer of romantic fiction, Alice Elinor Lambert.  She had occasional showings at Seattle galleries, and in exhibits at both the Seattle and Portland, Oregon art museums.  She also sold her work through Frederick and Nelson, the leading department store in Seattle during this period.

Written and submitted by Ronald Chase

Sources: 
State of Washington Archives, Who Was Who in American Art (Peter Falk 1999) US Census records, various Seattle Times newspaper articles from 1900-1984, obituary published in the Bremerton, WA newspaper Dec. 4, 1984 and correspondence with a surviving family member

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Biography from J. Franklin Fine Art, Inc.:
Edith Willey was a pupil of Eustace Ziegler, Peter Camfferman and Edgar Forkner, from which her style is evident. She was a member of the Women Painters of Washington and exhibited at the Seattle Art Museum, Portland Art Museum, and Grant Gallery in NYC. Born in Seattle, she lived in Bremerton in 1962.



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