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Catherine Morrison Mattison

female 1905-1961
Era:
20th Century
Life city:
New Haven, CT
Work city:
Indianapolis, IN
Styles:
Landscapes
Paintings
Watercolors
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Catherine Morrison was born in New Haven, CT in 1905, and attended the Yale School of the Fine Arts. She met Donald Mattison there while taking a life-drawing class he was teaching. The two married in 1928 and moved to Rome so that Donald could study at the American Academy in Rome. While there, Catherine studied painting at the British Academy School until 1931, when their daughter was born.

The family moved to New York City soon afterwards, then on to Indianapolis in 1933, when Donald became the director of the John Herron Art Institute. Herron was in the midst of financial turmoil, and Donald was forced to fire several popular faculty members, including William Forsyth, Constance Forsyth, Dorothy Eisenbach, and Clifton Wheeler.

Catherine became heavily involved in various charitable organizations and women’s clubs in an effort to gain local support for the family. In spite of the many ensuing social obligations, Catherine continued to make time for her painting, oftentimes working in watercolor and gouache. As her daughter grew older, Catherine began to spend more time on her painting, entering juried exhibitions and receiving critical recognition. She died suddenly in 1961, following complications from a stroke.

Source: Skirting the Issue, by Newton and Weiss

The proceeding information was submitted by a site visitor.

Catherine ’Kitty’ Morrison Mattison was born in 1905 in New Haven, Connecticut. She attended the Yale School of Fine Arts, where she met her classmate and husband-to-be, Donald Mattison (1905-1975).

Although she was already engaged to another man, she fell in love with Donald and the two were married in 1928. Catherine and Donald had their first and only child, Georgia, in 1931.

Just two years later, Donald was appointed to the position of director at the John Herron Art Institute in Indianapolis. The family moved from New York City to their new home in Indianapolis in 1933, where effigies of Donald hung from trees on the Institute’s campus, as he was forced immediately to make job and curriculum cuts as director due to the shortage of funding during the Great Depression.

Early in her husband’s career at Herron Catherine focused largely on building the family’s good name in the community by working with various charitable organizations and on raising their daughter, all the while continuing to paint.

Catherine Mattison was an artist in her own right, and worked primarily with watercolors. She would, according to her daughter, take Georgia along to the countryside when she wanted to paint, letting Georgia play in the barns that were the subject of her works at the time. When Georgia was thirteen years old, Kitty began entering her daughter’s paintings in exhibitions, where some were critically acclaimed.

Later in her life Catherine Mattison suffered from health problems, including trigeminal neuralgia which caused tremendous pain on the side of the artist’s face. She had corrective surgery in 1955 which left her with only partial feeling in her face.

Catherine Morrison Mattison suffered a stroke in 1959 during a Planned Parenthood Association meeting and died one week later, at the age of fifty-six leaving behind her daughter and widowed husband.

The proceeding information was submitted by a site visitor.

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