One of my chief painting heroes is American painter Elizabeth Sparhawk-Jones (1885-1968). Born in Baltimore, MD, she studied under William Merritt Chase at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, earning many accolades and awards. Shown above, her paintings Shoe Shop (1911) and Shop Girls (1912) demonstrate sheer mastery of bravura brushwork. She painted with great brilliance through most of her twenties, then suffered an unfortunate breakdown. She resumed her work upon her recovery years later, but her style became more raw and emotive.
I've visited The Art Institute of Chicago to see the breathtaking Shoe Shop and was deeply moved. It was the only time I have overlooked the John Singer Sargent painting in the room! I first stumbled upon a note card of Sparhawk-Jones’ work over twenty years ago and connected immediately. Since there were no web resources at the time, I worked in close written correspondence with various museums and historical commissions to learn more about this incredible artist. These sources graciously supplied me with photocopies and other reference materials regarding Sparhawk-Jones’ life and work.
Over time I have found others who also treasure her. In fact, author Barbara Lehman Smith recently published a book about Sparhawk-Jones entitled, Elizabeth Sparhawk-Jones: The Artist Who Lived Twice. Learn more about Elizabeth's amazing life at www.elizabethsparhawkjones.com.