Grace Spaulding John

      Grace Spaulding John (1890-1972) was born in 1890 in Battle Creek, Michigan. She was an eleventh-generation descendent of Edward and Margaret Spaulding, who immigrated to America in 1619. Grace spent the first 13 years of her life in Vermont. Her family moved to Beaumont after oil was discovered there. Grace studied art under Penelope Lingan of Beaumont, a portraitist and miniaturist who helped her to begin her study at the St. Louis School of Fine Art in St. Louis, MO in 1909. In 1912 She began study at the Art Institute of Chicago, and in 1913 she married Roy Keehne. They had two children before their divorce in 1917. Grace married Alfred Morgan John in 1921, who was a prominent attorney in Houston, Texas who was the Great Grandson of General Sam Houston.

     She also studied at the National Academy of Design under Joseph Pennell; The Arts Students League under Guy Pene Du Bois, George Bridgeman and in Taos under Emile Bistram. The Pennsylvania Academy under Daniel Garber & Charles W. Hawthorne, who proposed her name for a Tiffany Foundation Fellowship. The result was that she was one of the eight young artists chosen nationally to study at "Laurelton Hall," the beautiful home of Louis Comfort Tiffany on Oyster Bay, Long Island, New York an entire summer.

    Following her study at the Tiffany estate, while John considered Houston her home, she maintained a studio there for 52 years. She also worked in other locations. John spent several months in Europe in 1927, producing many scenes of France, Italy and Spain. In the 1930's she became fascinated with Mexico and painted extensively there. Drawn to New Mexico, she maintained a studio in Santa Fe where she was one of the first members of that town's art colony. During most of these years, she also kept a studio in New York City.

     During the Depression years, John was selected to produce some of the government-funded art work for public buildings, including the fresco, "The Pipe of Peace," for the foyer of Houston's Sidney Lanier Middle School. To work on the scaffolding for this project, John was required to secure a license for hanging wallpaper. Three other works of her--frescos entitled "Literature," "Music" and "The Pioneers" can also be seen at Lanier School.



     The art of Grace Spaulding John is found today in collections all over the country, including the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian Institution, which houses her portrait of fellow Houstonian Oveta Culp Hobby, as well as many other museums and universities. A listing of her exhibitions and awards would fill several pages. As further evidence of her creativity, John also published several books of poetry illustrated with her own line-drawings.

     She painted in oils, watercolor, pastel, conte crayon, charcoal, pen and ink and one of the first artists to use Plexiglas as a medium, which she used a dentist drill to work the Plexiglas.

     She was an active exhibitor and won many awards.

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