C.A. Seward

1884 - 1939

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George Melville Stone  was born on December 5, 1858, on a Burlingame Road farm  near Topeka, Kansas  His parents were Jesse Stone, an abolitionist who came to Topeka from Boston in 1855 with the New England Aid Society, and Sarah Packard Stone originally of Maine.  


Stone attended both elementary and high school in Topeka. In 1876, he enrolled in the Emporia Normal School and remained there for two years.   In 1878, he returned to Topeka and worked in the  accounting office of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad.  In 1879 he abandoned this clerical work for he found that he was able to support himself drawing crayon portraits of Topeka citizens, charging ten dollars per portrait. In 1880 he returned to Emporia to teach crayon drawing with his friend John Janus.  In 1883 he returned to Topeka to study painting with George E. Hopkins.  


In 1887, using his savings and $300.00  borrowed from his sister, plus commissions for paintings, Stone went to Paris to pursue his education as a painter. He went with a recommendation to Henry Mosler, a painter from Cincinnati who was then living in Paris and had obtained some fame there.


In Paris he first studied with Henry Mosler and then enrolled in the Julian Academy where his teachers were Leon Bonnat, Gustave Boulanger and Jules-Joseph Lefbvre.   Pierre Bonnard, Edouard Vuillard, Paul Serusier and Felix Valloton were also students at the Academy during this time.   Stone  later described that when his painting of Madame Allion, a society leader in Paris, was accepted for the Paris Salon in 1888. ,Monet came by and did a critique of the painting. While in Europe, Stone also traveled s throughout France and also  visited Venice.


Stone returned to Topeka in 1891 with a large number of paintings, some to be delivered to his patrons. These paintings reflect Stone’s strong classical academic training in technique and composition, and also the influences of the French Impressionists in his choice of every day subject matter.  Upon his return from France, Stone  took charge of the art school which his former teacher, George E. Hopkins, had founded where he taught drawing and painting.


In 1894, Stone left Topeka for Oaxaca, Mexico, accepting a commission by John A. Murray to paint local scenes in the settlement Murray had organized there. Stone did not stay long, as Murray died of yellow fever shortly after he arrived.  However, Stone brought back some portraits of native peasants and paintings of street scenes and thatched roof buildings. After returning from Mexico, Stone then went to South Bend, Indiana, to paint portraits of the Studebaker family members. He travelled to Philadelphia, Nashville, and Minneapolis, as he had received commissions to paint portraits in those cities. In 1904 Stone exhibited some of his paintings at the Lousiana Purchase Exposition in Saint Louis, and in 1905,  at the Art Institute of Chicago.


In 1902, George Stone and cartoonist and painter, Albert T. Reid founded an art school in Topeka.  In 1903 their school became the Art Department of Washburn University. When Seward enrolled as a special student in 1906 their curriculum included the following: history of art (ancient through modern with glass lantern slide lectures), drawing, painting, illustrating, decorative design and ceramics.


Stone’s departure on a painting trip to Holland and the French Ardennes in 1907 most likely precipitated Seward’s decision to move to Lindsborg to continue studying painting. By the time Stone returned from Europe, Seward had  settled in Wichita.  They remained lifelong friends and Stone is noted as one of the lecturers at a program sponsored by the Wichita Art Association in the 1920s. When Seward became the Art editor for Kansas magazine he also began his career of writing about art and artists.  One of his first reviews was about George M Stone, titled “The Millet of the Prairies.”


A painting of the bells of San Juan Capistrano in Seward’s collection was done between 1909 and 1914 when Stone was in California completing a commission to paint several panels for the Glenwood Mission Inn in Riverside. During this time Stone  painted many of the Spanish missions.


In 1920 Stone received a commission to paint two historical subjects for the Kansas State Capitol. During his later years, he did illustrations for the magazine "Capper's Farmer." Stone was, however best known for his portraits. It is thought that he painted over 450 portraits during his lifetime. These portraits included many of the prominent men in Kansas.  The Kansas Federation of the Arts and the Mulvane Museum own a number of his paintings. However because many were portraits a larger number of  Stones’s pictures remain in private collections.

 

Seward Mentor - George M. Stone  1858 - 1931

Images on this page (left to right, top to bottom):  George M Stone, self portrait, “San Juan Capistrano Mission,” gift to C.A. Seward, “When the Fodder’s in the Shock,” (col. of Topeka & Sawnee County Public Library, “Portrait of a Young Man,” (Col. Mulvane Art Museum, Topeka, KS), 1996 catalog from Mulvane Art Museum with essay “Continental Kansan, George Stone” by Robert T. Soppelsa, “Sidewalk in Venice,” (private collection), “The Cabbage Woman, Paris,” 1890, (private collection) and “Indians by Campfire,” abt 1901, ink wash illustration for “The Dellahoydes, 1899” (collection of  Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library.



Born: 5 December 1858, farm on Burlingame Road, Topeka, Kansas

Died: 3 November 1931, Topeka, Kansas


Education


1876-78 Emporia Normal School

1883 painting with George E. Hopkins, Topeka, KS

1887 - Europe

American painter, Henry Mosler

&Academie Julian with Leon Bonnat, Gustave Boulanger & Jules-Joseph Lefebvre


Awards & Museum Collections:



1888 Salon Exhibition,

French National Academy, Paris

1909-14 commission, paintings of missions of California, Glenwood Mission Inn, Riverside CA

1920 painting for office of Governor of Kansas

Mulvane Museum of Art, Topeka, KS

Kansas Historical Society

Professional Positions:



1879 portrait painter

1880 teacher with John Janus in Emporia based art school

1891 - 94 drawing & painting teacher, George Hopkins Art School, Topeka

1894 season at the American settlement “Nueva Topeka” in Oaxaca State, Mexico

1902 Art School founded with Albert Reid becomes Art Department for Washburn College

 
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