Biografie von Otto STARK (1859-1926)

Birth place: Indianapolis, IN

Death place: Indianapolis, IN

Addresses: NYC, 1883, 1888; Paris, 1886; Indianapolis, IN, 1895

Profession: Painter, illustrator, craftsperson

Studied: School of Design, Univ. Cincinnati, 1877; ASL with W. M. Chase, Carroll Beckwith, Walter Shirlaw, and Thomas Dewing, 1882-83; Académie Julian, Paris with Lefebvre and Boulanger, 1884-87; also with Cormon in Paris.

Exhibited: Tenth Ann. Exhibition School Design, Cincinnati, 1878-79; NAD, 1883-95; Brooklyn AA, 1883, 1886; PAFA Ann., 1889, 1895, 1909; Indianapolis Art Assoc. Ann., 1889; Am. WC Soc., 1882; Paris Salon, 1886, 1887; Denison Hotel, Indianapolis, 1894; AIC, 1894-1901; Five Hoosier Painters, Chicago, 1894; First Ann., Soc. Western Artists, 1896; Trans-Mississippi and International Expo, Omaha, NE, 1898; Louisiana Purchase Expo, St. Louis, 1904; H. Lieber Co. Galleries, Indianapolis, 1906; Richmond Art Assoc. Ann. Exhibition, 1907 (honorable mention); Richmond Art Assoc. Ann. Exhibition, 1908 (Foulke prize); International Exhibition, Buenos Aires and Santiago, 1910; Palmer House, Lake Maxinkuckee, 1913; Herron AI, 1915 (prize); Panama-Pacific Expo, San Francisco, 1915; J. I. Holcomb award, 1915; Hoosier Salon, 1925 (prize), 1926 (prize).

Member: Indianapolis AA (honorary member, 1898); Int. SAL; Hoosier Salon (founder); Indiana AC (pres., 1901); Portfolio Club (president, 1901); Soc. Western Artists, 1897 (treasurer, 1907)

Work: Indianapolis Art Assoc.; Herron AI, Indianapolis; Cincinnati AM; mural project, City Hospital, Indianapolis; murals, Public Schools #60, #54 (The Family," 1895), Indianapolis; Indiana State House; Univ. Kansas; Art Assoc. Richmond ("Autumn Scene")"

Comments: Son of Old World craftsmen, he was first apprenticed as a carver and cabinetmaker and then, in 1875 in Cincinnati, as a lithographer. He moved to NYC in 1879 and studied at the Art Students League, working on landscapes, portraits and figures under W.M. Chase. In 1885 Stark went to AcadÈmie Julian in Paris, and there married Marie Nitschelm, whom he met while boarding at the home of novelist Anatole France. They returned to NY in 1888, where he took a position as a commercial artist and did additional illustration work for journals such as Scribner's Monthly and Harper's Weekly. Following the untimely death of his wife in 1891, Stark moved with his young family back to the Midwest. He opened a studio in Indianapolis and taught classes. He displayed his work along with that of T. C. Steele, William Forsyth, R. B. Gruelle and J. Ottis Adams in 1894, which marked the beginning of professional and personal relationships among the artists. Stark's choice of subject matter was consistent with the Impressionistic emphasis upon simple scenes, relaxed and informal settings, which he chose from everyday life in and around Indianapolis. As an educator, Stark introduced innovative exercises in pen, charcoal and brush and according to Gerdts was probably the most outstanding teacher among this generation." Following his retirement from teaching, he spent some time in Leland, Michigan and New Smyrna, Florida with J. Ottis Adams, vacationing and painting. Author, "The Evolution of Impressionism", Modern Art, 1895. Supervisor of Art, Manual Training H.S., Indianapolis, 1899-1919; art faculty, John Herron Art Inst., 1905-19.

Sources: WW25; Newton and Gerdts, 11-52; Gerdts, Art Across America, vol. 2, 253-79 (with repro.); Newton and Gerdts, 35-53,153 (with repro.); Falk, Exh. Record Series.

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