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 Paul Austin Wayne Whitener  (1911 - 1959)

About: Paul Austin Wayne Whitener


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Lived/Active: North Carolina      Known for: portrait, modernist-leaning landscape

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An example of work by Paul Austin Wayne Whitener
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following information is from Edward Fisher:

Paul Whitener was born in 1911 in Lincoln County, North Carolina and died in 1959 in Hickory, North Carolina. He was educated in the Public Schools of Hickory and attended Duke University on a Football Scholarship as a Journalism Major.

After leaving Duke, he worked for the State of North Carolina in Little Switzerland, and met his future wife, Mildred, who introduced him to Frank Herring, an instructor of art at the Grand Central Art School in New York City who happened to spend summers in the mountains of North Carolina. Whitener became a student of Herring and attended the Ringling Summer School of Art in Little Switzerland. He became the only student of the renowned portraitist, Wilford Conrow who worked with Whitener from 1940-54.

Whitener gained a reputation as a great portraitist but loved painting the mountain landscapes of North Carolina. Apparently Whitener was a man of vision in that he was the moving force behind the establishment of the Hickory Arts Association, which was to evolve into the Hickory Museum of Art, the goal being the highlighting of American artist's works.

He became the first Director and served until his death in 1959, when his widow assumed the position until 1966. Because of his reputation and friendship with other artists and prominent people, he was able to secure donated works from the collections of Horbart Nichols and other members of the National Academy of Design including paintings by Asher Durand,John Kensett, Thomas Cole, and others.

A show of Whitener's works was held at the Hickory Art Museum in 1998. Whitener's works like those of many regional artist, especially in the South, have not received the national acclaim they so richly deserve. The people of North Carolina owe a debt of gratitude to the long range vision of Paul Whitener for his promotion and establishment of a museum that today houses over 1700 significant works of American art.

The Hickory Art Museum is located at 243 Third Ave NE, Hickory,NC and is well worth a visit for art lovers.

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