Evelynne B. Mess
- Marion County
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Evelynne Bernloehr Mess, one of six children, was born on January 8, 1903 to John and Anna Giezendanner Bernloehr. Despite proficiency on the piano and several stringed instruments, Evelynne was drawn to crayons and paper as a child. At the age of 12 she became a scholarship student in the Saturday morning class for children at the John Herron Art Institute. She studied art with Frederick Polley at Arsenal Technical High School while continuing her weekend study at Herron. She enrolled at Butler University in Indianapolis in 1921 only to leave the following year to pursue her studies at Herron.
Evelynne graduated from Herron in 1924 and accepted a position teaching art at Manual Training High School in Indianapolis. She earned extra money by teaching evening classes at Herron. It was here that she met George Jo Mess whom she married in 1925. Together with George’s brother they opened the Circle City Art Academy in 1927 where they taught commercial art classes. During the summer of 1929 she and George studied in France at the Fontainebleau School of Fine Arts. She studied landscape and figure painting in addition to studying with the noted engraver Achile Ouvre.
Evelynne exhibited widely in the early 1930s and, in 1934, founded the Indiana Society of Printmakers, heartened by the success of a print show she had organized for the Women’s Department Club of Indianapolis.
During the summer of 1937 George and Evelynne moved to Chicago where George took a job supervising the reproduction of art for magazines. George was diagnosed with cancer in 1939 and the two managed to keep their household going with sporadic teaching assignments.
After George died in 1962 Evelynne moved to Brown County and opened Oxbow Acres to art students in 1967. Here she taught painting, drawing, etching and a variety of courses related to craftwork.
In 1969 Evelyn married Edward Daily whom she had met at the opening of the Brown County Art Gallery show during the spring of 1968. She moved into his house just north of Nashville where she was happy until his death in 1974. She moved back to Indianapolis into the studio-home that she and George had purchased in 1925. Despite surgery for a detached retina in 1974, Evelynne continued to paint and exhibit for many years.
While achieving some success as a painter and illustrator through the years, Evelynne was best known for her prints. Evelynne received honors from the Indiana Federation of Art Clubs, the Hoosier Salon, the Indiana Artists’ Club, and the Indianapolis Art League. Evelynne Mess died in 2003.
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