The Indian River School of Art
Artist: Therese Knowles, Subject: St. Lucie River
History and Definition
The definition applied to the Indian River School of Floridian artists in the 1950’s and 1960’s. They were heavily influenced by nature. Most of the artists in this movement were African American. Their work is characterized by quick strokes and eschews traditional methods of paintings.
The main influence for the group was a man named A.E. Backus, a Bohemian white man who mentored the group of young black artists. The group used to congregate in his studio and learnt to paint from ‘Beanie’ (as he was called) as a way out of their lower class labour jobs.
The work was powerful, dramatic yet captured the serenity and beauty of the Florida countryside. No one knows how many artists A.E. Backus mentored, but experts put the number at about 20, many of whom he put through college. Many are still painting and sell their work in galleries and online. Note some of their work is difficult to find because it exists in only private collections.
Famous Artists of the Indian River School of Art
A.E. Backus (‘Beanie’) – 1906-1955
Don D. Brown
Margaret Z. Smith-1925-2005
Annie Nobles Miller
Famous Paintings and Art of the Indian River School
A.E. Backus (‘Beanie’) – Fire Sky
Don. D. Brown- The Offering
James Hutchinson- Jacaranda Shade Florida, Tropical Poinciana
La Source- Theresa Knowles
Double Red-Jackie Schindehette, Jewels of Nature - Roseate Spoonbills
Therese Knowles, Ferns at the Spring
Museums, Galleries or Exhibitions of the Indian River School of Art
A.E. Backus Museum and Gallery-www.backusgallery.com
The Hutchinson Gallery- http://hutchinsonartgallery.com/Artists_Information.html
By Melissa Montgomery