August 24, 2019

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Art in Residence: Dartmouth Recalls the Work of Visiting Artists - (Alex Hanson, 2/20/14, Valley News)

There's a question hanging over "In Residence: Contemporary Artists at Dartmouth," the otherwise illuminating and wide-ranging exhibition that sprawls across Dartmouth College's visual arts infrastructure.

The question is this: Dartmouth was founded in 1769, so what made visual art so much more important in 1931 that the artist-in-residence program got started?

It seems like a big cultural shift. There had always been artists at Dartmouth and in the college's orbit, but apparently none had been thought of as "in residence" for the college's first 160 years. After the Armory Show, the 1913 New York exhibit that introduced modernism to America, art had become a wide-open field. The federal government began paying artists during the Great Depression, not long after Dartmouth's residency program started, and after World War II, artistic expression boomed along with the economy. [...]

Paul Sample, who became a legendary figure at Dartmouth and in the Upper Valley, stayed from 1938 to 1962. Not surprisingly, "In Residence" is particularly strong in Sample's work.


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PAUL SAMPLE (1896-1974): AMERICAN REGIONALIST (Tim Abraham and Nicole Salin, Sullivan Goss Gallery)

Born September 14, 1896 in Louisville, Kentucky, Paul Starrett Sample was as active in moving with his family from State to State as he was active in participating in basketball, football, and boxing. After living in Montana, Virginia and California among other places, Sample would enroll in Dartmouth College and become a boxing champion. It wouldn't be until the year of his graduation in 1921 when Sample would take up painting. Diagnosed with tuberculosis and debilitated from an active lifestyle, he needed something to avert his boredom. At Saranac Lake hospital in New York, Sample would meet the Norwegian-American neo-impressionist painter Jonas Lie. Lie encouraged Sample, who was already a proficient drawer, to start painting. Lie would have a significant impact on Sample, who spent four years at Saranac undergoing treatment. Lie devoted most of his work to harbor and marine scenes and pastoral landscapes, and was vocal about his aversion to modern art. This would greatly influence Sample, who had no previous artistic training. By the time Paul Sample was cured from tuberculosis, he was ready to begin a career in art.

After leaving Saranac hospital in 1925, Sample enrolled in art classes at Greenleaf Art School in the later part of the year moved to Monrovia, California. Living in Monrovia he enrolled in the Otis Art Institute. Sample would attend classes and lectures from modern artist Stanton Macdonald-Wright. Macdonald-Wright was well known as an abstractionist, and while Sample respected him as an artist and lecturer, his aversion to modern art learned from Jonas Lie would keep him from being directly influenced by modernism. His talent in drawing would land him a job teaching architectural drawing at University of Southern California where he would teach for the next ten years. At that same time he would join a small group of California Watercolorists that painted cityscapes with local people in their everyday environment. He married Silvia Howland in 1928, at the beginning of the great depression.

During the depression, his paintings reflected his sentiment towards the economic crisis affecting people. This style was known as "Social Realism". His painting Unemployment in 1931 was his first major canvas and received the Isador Gold Medal at the National Academy of Design in 1932. In December of 1934, Time magazine ranked Sample as one of America's most important living painters. He would start traveling in the summers to Vermont, the home state of his wife, where his style shifted from urban social situations to rural scenes. This style of Regionalism, along with Social Realism, would be the main styles associated with Paul Sample and reflect his most poignant work.

After his employment at USC, Paul Sample traveled in Europe where he was able to see works from the masters he admired. He returned to the US in 1938 and assumed a position as artist-in-residence at Dartmouth College as well as serving on jury panels for institutions at the Corcoran Gallery and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. When WWII began, Paul Sample took a job working as an artist-in-correspondent for Time-Life and focused on watercolors.

Post-WWII art in America saw more abstracted forms come into style with the New York School and Abstract Expressionism. Sample's conservative style and aversion to abstraction excluded him from mainstream American art. By 1960 his work was only followed in New England, where he was painting at the time.


Posted by at August 24, 2019 7:59 AM

  

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