John Adams Spelman, II, Untitled, not dated. Oil on canvas, 22 x 27 inches, Courtesy of Allen & Barry Huffman
Early Southern Appalachian Landscape Painting
March 26 – October 2024
Van Winkle Law Firm Gallery
Andrew Glasgow, former executive director of the American Craft Council in New York, will curate an exhibition of late 19th- and early 20th-century American landscapes depicting scenes from the Appalachian Mountains and western Carolinas. The exhibition will present works by American artists such as Will Henry Stevens, who spent his summers in North Carolina, and Elizabeth White, who lived in the area, alongside artists like Rudolph F. Ingerle and Leo Meissner, who visited and found inspiration in the majestic views and natural phenomena of the region.
Rudolph Ingerle (1879-1950) immigrated to the United States from Austria with his family at age 11 in 1890. His family settled In Chicago a few years later. He was able to study at Schmidt’s Art Academy and later at the Art Institute of Chicago. He was drawn to traditional landscape painting by his deep and abiding love of nature, stemming from childhood visits.to the mountains of Moravia. Ingerle painted first with a group of artists in Brown County, Indiana and then joined with a group of artists to form the Society of Ozark Painters. In 1925 Ingerle made a visit to the Great Smoky Mountains, the highest peaks in the eastern United States. He was captivated by their beauty and by the mountain people who became a primary theme of his work for the rest of his life. He was often joined in trips to North Carolina and Tennessee by fellow Chicago painter John Spelman. Ingerle became known as the “Painter of the Smokies” and believed that his paintings contributed to the creation of the new national park. He exhibited his work in Chicago, New York, Philadelphia Washington, D.C., the Mint Museum in Charlotte (twice). In 1945 he held a one-man show at the Hickory Museum of Art. He died in Chicago on October 20, 1950.
John Adams Spelman, II (1880-1941) was born in Owatonna, Minnesota to John Adams and Ellen Spelman. His father was a Civil War veteran and pensioner having served in the U.S. 3rd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry. He moved his wife and four children to Dickey County in the Dakota Territory in the early 1880s, where he died in 1885, Ellen Spelman and her young children then returned to Minnesota. In 1892 young John Spelman was able to attend North Side high School in Minneapolis and briefly to study art at the Minnesota Museum of Art before the family moved to Chicago in the late 1890s. John Spelman formed a successful newspaper distribution business with his brothers. He was able to study art with John Vanderpoel and Charles Frances Browne, instructors with the Art Institute of Chicago. Spelman may first have traveled to the Great Smoky Mountains with fellow Chicago artist Rudolph Ingerle. He often returned to the Smoky Mountains in the 1920s. The other great source of inspiration for Spelman was the shores of Lake Superior north of Grand Marais where he lived in a cabin for the last years of his life. He died on May 19, 1941. John A Spelman exhibited his work in various venues in Chicago and in Philadelphia. His son and namesake, John Adams Spellman, III, was also an artist.