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 Mary A. Wright  (1848 - 1924)

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Lived/Active: Illinois/California/Wisconsin      Known for: landscape, florals

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Mary A Wright
An example of work by Mary A. Wright
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Landscape painter, Mary Ann Van Alstine Wright was born on December 6, 1848, in Watertown, Wisconsin, growing up there. While studying at Eastern boarding schools, she became an accomplished pianist. Back in Wisconsin, she gradually turned to art, studying locally. In 1868, she was almost fully involved with painting. One of Watertown's important early artists, she achieved her greatest renown as a painter while in Chicago, particularly during the 1880s. She exhibited frequently there with the Bohemian Club, a women's group, which began in 1882. Wright was a charter member. She also showed in annuals of the Inter-State Industrial Exposition, held in Chicago, as well as the American Watercolor Society, New York; Philadelphia Watercolor Show, and Louisville Exposition, Kentucky.

In 1868, she married Silas F. Wright, a Chicago businessman. The artist lived in Chicago during the 1870s and early 1880s, returning to Watertown by 1884, and living there until 1889 when she married Judge Alfred Bartow. She moved with the Judge to his town of Chadron, Nebraska, until 1898, when she went to Colorado Springs, Colorado. In 1903 she moved to South Pasadena, California. She lived the last two years of her life in Pasadena, where she died on March 24, 1924.

Wright painted in many locales, including flowers and landscapes of the north shore of Massachusetts, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wisconsin, and, later, Colorado, and California. This breadth of subject was reflected in the nearly one hundred paintings of her one-person exhibition in Colorado Springs shortly after her arrival there in 1898.

Reference sources reflecting Mary Wright's life and work include: Petteys; Watertown, WI, Centennial, 1854-1954; Watertown Democrat, 12 Nov 1868; Chicago Tribune, 30 Oct 1881, 4 Jun 1882, 9 Jul 1882, 29 Oct 1882, 11 Feb 1883, 3 Feb 1884, 2 Mar 1884, 23 Mar 1884; Colorado Springs Gazette, 14 Sep 1898; Los Angeles Times, 8 Jul 1906; Pasadena Star-News, 23 Mar 1924; Colorado Springs Gazette and Telegraph, 14 Dec 1924; M. A. Wright letters, AAA, reel 3482; US Census 1850, Jefferson County, WI, pg 29; US Census 1860, Jefferson County, WI, pg 677; US Census 1910, Los Angeles County, CA, ED 347, pg 28; death certificate; Chicago City Directory; Colorado Springs City Directory; Pasadena City Directory; Watertown City Directory; N. Thaler (Local History and Genealogy, Pikes Peak Public Library), 1987; W. F. Jannke III (Watertown Historical Society), 1989; B. Jamieson (Watertown Public Library), 1989.

Phil Kovinick and Marian Yoshiki Kovinick, "An Encyclopedia of Artists of the American West"

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Watertown, WI on Dec. 6, 1848. Mary Van Alstine originally studied to become a pianist. After her marriage to Silas Wright in 1868, she turned her attention to painting and lived in Chicago until 1889. With her second husband Judge Alfred Bartow, she lived in Chadron, NE and Colorado Springs, CO until 1903. She then settled in Pasadena, CA where she remained until her death on March 24, 1924. Member: Calif. Art Club. Exh: Ruskin Art Club (LA), 1904.
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
Ferdinand Perret Files; Women Artists of the American West.
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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