"Colorado Mining Town"
by Alene Gray Wharton (Conover), ca. 1930's

Alene Gray Wharton (Conover)
American (1908 - 1998)

A painting done during the “New Deal” era by a Tennessee artist.

Oil on canvas, 20 x 24 inches (canvas), 26 ½ x 30 ½ inches (frame). Signed “Wharton” lower right. Two old exhibition labels verso: “Colorado Mining Town, Alene Wharton Conover, Vanderbilt Campus;” & Tennessee Society of Artists, Colorado Mining Town [with artist signature partially indecipherable].”

A native of Allenspark, Colorado, Conover lived and studied art in Nashville, Tennessee, and is noted for her Tennessee Landscape/mountain paintings and lithographs. This rare painting of her native Colorado was done while she was studying at Vanderbilt University and was exhibited in Nashville. In the WPA Guide to Tennessee, published by the University of Tennessee Press, 1939, page 170 there is a reference to Ms. Conover which reads: “The oils and lithographs of Alene Gray Wharton [Conover] of Nashville, are notable for their stylized characterization of mountain villages and common folk.” Alene Wharton's photograph appears in the Milestones 1926, published by the students of the Ward-Belmont School, Nashville, Tennessee. She is listed as a member of the "Junior Middle Class" and a member of the "Beta Club."

Additional research on this early 20th century Tennessee artist is in progress. Also, the following archives which have not been perused as of this date are listed as having information on the artist: The Tennessee State Library & Archives; Conover, Alene Gray (Wharton) (27), undated, 1928 – 1963, re: family new, 13-2, 3 & Yeatman – Polk paper.


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