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Robert Whitmore: A Devoted Sense of Place

April 22nd, 2010 · 2 Comments · Creatives

Robert H. Whitmore. Licking Valley. 1919. Dayton Art Institute.
Robert H. Whitmore. Licking Valley. 1919. Dayton Art Institute.

I don’t know whether this painting is in the Robert Whitmore exhibition mounted now at Antioch College’s Herndon Gallery, but there are few Whitmore images on the web, and it would be a travesty to write about this influential Yellow Springs painter without some sort of visual representation of his work. Licking Valley is part of the permanent collection at the Dayton Art Institute, and it graced the cover of JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association, in 2008. I first wrote about it then:

I had the privilege to know Bob Whitmore at the end of his long, creative life. His son John is a good friend. They were my neighbors when I lived at the Mill. I was one of a group of helpers who cared for Bob at home after he broke a hip in 1978. I remember sitting with him one winter afternoon when he talked and dozed in a bed just a few feet from his studio. The wall beside the bed was covered with the paintings he kept for himself over a 60-year career. One of them, a bright seascape painted at Cape Cod in1919, hangs in my bedroom today.

I would have liked to attend the opening of “Robert Whitmore: A Devoted Sense of Place” on April 10, but I was in Toronto for a wedding. I saw John at the YS farmer’s market last Saturday. He told me that the exhibition runs until sometime in May. Located in South Hall on the Antioch campus, The gallery is open from 1:00–4:00 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays and 7:00–9:00 p.m. on Thursdays.

About Robert Whitmore [via A Yellow Springs Blog]:

Robert H. Whitmore was born in Dayton in 1890 and attended the Art Institute of Chicago from 1913-1917 where he studied drawing, painting, sculpture and anatomy, as well as architecture, illustration, and woodcarving. Whitmore taught at the Dayton Art Institute from 1920-23 where nineteen of his works remain in the permanent collection. During this period he developed his printmaking skills as a member of the Dayton Society of Etchers. With his wife, Elizabeth Ann Bennett, and their five children he lived in a house outside of Yellow Springs that was formerly owned by Horace Mann, first President of Antioch College

In 1925 Arthur Morgan, president of Antioch College, asked Whitmore to join the Department of Art where he enjoyed a long and distinguished teaching career until his retirement in 1955. Whitmore was a man of many talents and he remained an active artist up until his death at age 89 in 1979. In the words of Don Wallis, from an earlier exhibition review: “As an artist he grounded his work—as he grounded his life—in his devoted sense of place.”

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2 Comments so far ↓

  • jafabrit

    “As an artist he grounded his work—as he grounded his life—in his devoted sense of place.”

    I like that and I enjoyed seeing the painting. Must get myself over to the Herndon.

  • Mark Willis

    Yes, I want to go, too.

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