Mary Howey Murray Vawter
- Brown County
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Mary Murray was born into a wealthy family in Baltimore in 1871 and studied at Baltimore’s Charcoal Club and the Maryland Institute School of Art and Design. She met her future husband, artist J. Will Vawter, while on a trip to the Midwest. After marrying in Chicago in 1902, the two moved to New York to study at the Art Students League, where May enrolled in the portrait class taught by Irving Wiles.
In 1903, the couple moved to Will hometown Greenfield, IN. While in Greenfield, Mary was often burdened by the responsibility of keeping her husband focused on his work. When Will suggested a move so that they might farm, Mary jumped at the chance, hoping that the two of them could set up a new life that would allow both of them to paint.
They moved to Nashville, IN in 1909 and, once again, Mary was left with the responsibility of farming by herself, while Will continued to paint on his own. This situation became too frustrating and, in 1921, the Vawters divorced. Mary took up painting again, but found that her facility at portraiture had been lost, her artistic pursuits having been too long ignored. She continued to paint, however, exhibiting and selling a fair number of pictures over the years. Mary left Nashville in 1947 for Mathew, VA in order to be closer to her family in her old age. She died there in 1950.
Source: Skirting the Issue, by Newton and Weiss
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