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Glenwood Series Examines State Art, Artists

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October 3rd, 2001

By Bob Schwarz. Staff Writer. The Charleston Gazette

The Glenwood Series starts its second year at 4 p.m. Sunday at Glenwood, the historic estate on Charleston’s West Side, when John Cuthbert, author of the book “Early Art and Artists in West Virginia,” gives a lecture related to his book.

The Marshall University Graduate College Foundation sponsors the lecture. In 1978, Lucy Quarrier, the house’s last resident, gave Glenwood to the West Virginia Graduate College Foundation, which is opening the estate to the public through these programs.

Tickets to the lecture are $10, and reservations are required. Call 746-2072.

John Cuthbert photo
John Cuthbert, curator of the West Virginia Historical Art Collection at West Virginia University and author of “Early Art and Artists in West Virginia,” will speak at Glenwood on Sunday.

Cuthbert, curator of the West Virginia Historical Art Collection at West Virginia University, worked off and on researching his book for 17 years.

Beginning in 1983, he poked around in the records of state newspapers, stored on microfilm at WVU. He looked through census records, also available at WVU on microfilm, to find nearly forgotten people who had called themselves artists in a 19th-century census.

Cuthbert’s 301-page book, which includes more than 200 color illustrations, mingles three categories of artists: those born here, but who worked elsewhere; those born here who spent at least some of their working years here; and those who passed through, some for a decade or two, some so briefly they painted perhaps just a single canvas here.

Berkeley County native William Robinson Leigh won enduring fame as a painter of the American West and American Indian scenes, but he also painted “Potomac River, West Virginia” and “West Virginia Wood Chopper.” Leigh’s 1896 oil portrait “Sophie H. Colston” belongs to the National Museum of American Art at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

Blanche Lazzell, who spent most of her creative years in Provincetown, and her younger cousin Grace Martin Taylor, both of whom earned reputations for their white-line woodcuts, are represented in the book, which also takes capsule looks, with tiny illustrations, at many lesser artists.

“To me, this would be equally at home on a coffee table or a library shelf,” Cuthbert told a reporter when the book first came out last year. “You can’t find another book with this information in it.”

Remaining Glenwood Series lectures will take place Nov. 4, March 3, April 7 and May 5.

© Copyright 2001 The Charleston Gazette

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