The Artists in Maryland Who Made a Mark in America’s Rich Art History
The state of Maryland is home to famous artists from all times. Ranging from the literary greats up to the best performing artists, the list of famous artists in Maryland goes on. Here are few of the notable famous Maryland artists who made their own marks in history:
Edgar Allan Poe (1809–1849)
The 19th century saw the birth of Edgar Allan Poe, inarguably one of America’s greatest authors and poets. The mystery and suspense writer may have been born in Massachusetts, but later in his life he called Baltimore, Maryland, his home.
Poe was famous for his short stories and narrative poems. Poe’s work as an editor, a poet, and a critic has had a profound impact on American and international literature. His stories mark him as one of the originators of both horror and detective fiction. Many anthologies credit him as the “architect” of the modern short story. He authored around 73 short stories and 53 poems. (However, the numbers remain indefinite today.) His prolific career as both writer and editor had him moving around the country and even to Europe. He eventually settled in Baltimore, Maryland, with his wife, Virginia. Poe died in Baltimore in 1849 and was buried there.
In 1996, Baltimore’s football team was named after Poe’s most famous narrative poem, “The Raven,” and the Baltimore Ravens went on to win two Super Bowls, two AFC Championships, and then some.
Frank O’Hara (1926–1966)
Joining America’s lineup of greatest poets of all time is Frank O’Hara who was born in Baltimore, Maryland. O’Hara incorporated the worlds of music, dance, and painting into his poetry. Critics described his poems to be highly original as they were penned with wit and a novel and sensitive approach of the world by incorporating fantasy with reality. He became known for this specific style of poetry and soon rose to prominence in the 1950s.
O’Hara also became fascinated with the visual arts and he collaborated with painters and leaders from the New York School to creating paintings with word texts or “poem-paintings.” He wanted to be able to write poems in the same effect painters had on canvas. This feat gave O’Hara the moniker “Poet among Painters.”
Charles Wilson Peale (1741–1827)
Charles Wilson Peale was a remarkable Maryland painter who was born on April 15, 1741, in Queen Anne’s county. He was a famous portraitist during the American Revolution. He was frequently chosen to paint portraits of the American Revolution’s leading figures, such as the country’s Founding Fathers and first presidents, George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin.
Peale is also credited to the establishment of the United States’ first natural history museum on July 18, 1786, which was first located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania but then later moved to Maryland and closed in 1997.
John La Farge (1835–1910)
La Farge is one of the renowned Maryland’s stained glass artists. La Farge wasn’t born in Maryland but he did learn and practice stained glass artistry within the state.
Two of his greatest works still existing today include the Cathedral of All Saints in Albany, New York and the Trinity Church in Boston. His works on the stained glass of churches all over the country has had La Farge being annually honored by the United States of America’s Episcopal Church every 16th of December.
Hanz Schuler (1874–1951)
Schuler was an American-German sculptor based in Baltimore, Maryland. He was the first American artist to be the recipient of a Salon Gold Medal, which was the greatest annual art event in the Western World in the 1800s. He also founded the Schuler School of Fine Arts in 1959. To this day, Schuler’s sculptures and monuments of prominent people are found standing proud in many public places. One of his works include the only public memorial dedicated to the late US President James Buchanan.
Florence Riefle Bahr (1909–1998)
Florence Riefle Bahr was a 20th century artist who recorded significant national events during her time through her paintings and sketches. Bahr, who’s spent her entire life in the Baltimore area, became known for her way of expressing her insights and beliefs through her artworks. She was an activist who fought for civil and human rights, an environmentalist, and a feminist.
She is mostly remembered for her painting “Homage to Martin Luther King.” The painting captured the Washington D.C. event where Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. In 1999, a year after her death, Bahr was posthumously added to Maryland’s Hall of Fame, as the first woman artist the state recognized.
Eva Cassidy (1963–1996)
Eva Cassidy was a folk and jazz vocalist and guitarist from Oxon Hill, Maryland. During her lifetime, Cassidy’s career as a singer was never known outside Washington. She gained her fame after her death for her own renditions of the two classic songs “Fields of Gold” and “Over the Rainbow.” Her renditions became popular all over Britain and her music has gone on to inspire singers of today.
Did I miss any other notable Maryland artists? Let me know in the comments section below. We can talk on Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads too. Also, my new book, Maryland: Lord Baltimore’s Dream, is out. Do give it a read!
“Edgar Allan Poe.” Poets. Accessed August 25, 2017. https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poet/edgar-allan-poe.
“Eva Cassidy.” All Music. Accessed August 25, 2017.http://www.allmusic.com/artist/eva-cassidy-mn0000168256/biography.
“Florence Reifle Bahr.” Maryland Womens’s Hall of Fame. Accessed August 25, 2017. http://msa.maryland.gov/msa/educ/exhibits/womenshall/html/bahr.html.
“Frank O’Hara.” Poets. Accessed August 25, 2017. https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poet/frank-ohara.
Rasmussen, Frederick. “Hans C. Schuler, 86, sculptor who founded Baltimore art school.” The Baltimore Sun. March 24, 1999. Accessed August 25, 2017. http://articles.baltimoresun.com/1999-03-24/news/9903240133_1_hans-schuler-schuler-school-hans-c.
The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica. “Charles Wilson Peale.” Encyclopædia Britannica. Accessed August 25, 2017. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Charles-Willson-Peale.
The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica. “John La Farge.” Encyclopædia Britannica. Accessed August 25, 2017. https://www.britannica.com/biography/John-La-Farge.