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 Theodore Ballou "Theo" White  (1902 - 1978)



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Lived/Active: Pennsylvania      Known for: illustrator, landscape prints, architecture

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Ad Code: 4
Theodore B. ("Theo") White
from Auction House Records.
Ingonish Island, Cape Breton
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
Biography from William R Talbot Fine Art:
"Another socially acceptable print maker was Theo Ballou White, a Philadelphia artist-architect, whose lithographs of buildings and bridges were shown in the fall of 1933.  The month before his Washington, D.C. show, White had a solo exhibition in Richmond, where his prints were “introduced” by members of the Junior Women’s Club acting as hostesses.  White . . . was implicitly a “gentleman,” traditional in style and subject, whereas the modernists, some of whom were recent immigrants, were perceived as more aggressive, radical, and iconoclastic." (David Tatham)

It was not long after these events that Theo White turned to the expansive landscapes of the Southwest and found his other voice as a modernist printmaker.

Born in Norfolk, Virginia, Theophilus Ballou White (1902/03–1978) was trained as an artist and architect in Philadelphia, and eventually lived in Ardmore, Pennsylvania.  White completed several series of prints, using as subject matter Colonial Richmond, mansions of the Philadelphia area, Hoover Dam, and the landscapes and religious iconography of the Southwest.

In the Southwest works, White employed a spare modernist approach, paring down landscape and architectural subjects to nearly elemental forms. With superb simplicity of form, White captured the essential power of the indigenous Southwest, especially the potent spiritual presence in northern New Mexico folk traditions. The Southwest lithographs are extremely scarce, having been pulled in editions of 25 or fewer, and in the case of the present image only 21.

White apparently was active as an architect at least as late as 1972. His first book on architecture, Philadelphia Architecture in the Nineteenth Century, was published in 1953. He followed in 1965 with The Philadelphia Art Alliance, in 1973 with Fairmount, Philadelphia’s Park: A History, and in 1974 with Paul Philippe Cret, Architect and Teacher. Today his texts remain important foundational references in the study of Philadelphia history, architecture and art. The Smithsonian American Art Museum holds a number of his early lithographs depicting historical architecture.

David Tatham, North American Prints, 1913-1947 (2006).

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