"Useless: A Mountain Boy"
by Edmund Marion Ashe, ca. 1929
EDMUND MARION ASHE
(American, 1867 – 1941)
Oil on canvas, 24 x 18 inches (canvas), 33 x 27 inches (frame), signed lower right, 22k gold leaf hand-carved frame. Painting exhibited: Ferargil Galleries, New York, 1929; and Carnegie Institute of Technology, ca. 1931.
“...He also continued to exhibit in New York. In 1929, a selection of his paintings of the people of the Cumberland Mountains was shown with great success at the Ferargil Galleries, his principal dealer there. A reviewer wrote: ‘Possibly no finer record of the mountaineers has appeared that Mr. Ashe has created....They are drawn as a skilled photographer might catch them and placed in settings chosen by an eye trained to harmonious color and well-proportioned design. While all of these pictures were well received, Useless, a sober portrait of a young Cumberland boy, seems to have been one of the artist’s favorites, for he showed it in Pittsburgh two years later, in an exhibition highlighting the work of the faculty of the College of Fine Art [Carnegie Institute]. The first time the staff had been invited to exhibit as a group. In that exhibition, the canvas was titled Useless: A Mountain Boy.”
Of significant importance in the biographical information on Edmund Ashe is the fact that he exhibited at the New York Armory Show of 1913. The Armory Show refers to the International Exhibition of Modern Art that was organized by the Association of American Painters and Sculptors and opened in New York City's 69th Regiment Armory, on Lexington Avenue between 25th and 26th Streets, on February 17, 1913 and became a legendary watershed date in history of American art. The show served as a catalyst for American artists, who became more independent and created their own "artistic Language." Thus, Edmund Ashe was one of the artists who exhibited in this show, an event which has been recorded as one of the most important events in American art history.