In 2005, while working with my father to create a family tree and an album of photographs and written memories of his early life, I learned that my grandfather, a lifelong artist, had a brother who had also been a lifelong artist. Sadly, I never met my great uncle. This site is dedicated to recording and sharing the results of my research and explorations into the two men's lives and their work. In my view, together they represent a broad sweep of 20th century art practices and philosophies which is historically significant. My research and reporting is complete until I happen to source more information or learn of paintings being recovered by someone who reads this blog. If you find an artwork by either WW Curry or Noble Curry, please contact me. Thank you! Below is the first installment. Following this, the posts are ordered as most-recent to oldest. Please scroll to the bottom for reading in chronological order.
From the left: Noble Wilbur Curry, Jean Curry (Wylie's daughter), and Wylie Warren Curry ca.1917, Columbus, Ohio
My grandfather, Wylie Warren Curry, was an earnest, loveable man with a quirky sense of humor. Of few words, he did not particularly encourage me to talk or ask questions when we were together, but I asked them anyway. He did not offer up any additional information beyond that which would satisfy my curiosity for the moment. As an inquisitive child, I remember asking him about his work. He was an artist all his life, and of this I was fully aware and deeply proud. In many ways, he was a rôle model even though in my entire life I may have visited him only 8 or 9 times in his home town of Lakewood, Ohio. Once, he and my grandmother came to Seattle on the train to see us. A daily walk-taker, Grandpa let me trot alongside him each day during that visit as he quietly strode a curvy road on which I wasn't normally allowed to walk.
I never consciously knew that Grandpa had a brother. Only as a dusty recollection did I ever hear mention of my great-uncle Noble. And only a few years ago did I learn that Noble Wilbur Curry lived but a few miles from where my grandparents lived, and only right before my father's death in 2007 did I learn from Dad that uncle Noble was also a lifelong artist. Furthermore, he was considered a significant American painter of the early 20th century.
It is a current project of mine to research the work of my uncle Noble, and to attempt to profile these two men as dedicated artists who represented quite contrasting aspects of the artistic world of their era. They were at odds with each other for most of their lives. The photo above is one of two that I know of that shows them together. This was taken in Columbus, Ohio. The child in the center, my aunt Jean, would later become the subject of Wylie's finest oil portrait. That portrait hangs in my living room, bequeathed to me by my father.
My heartfelt thanks go to Georgeanne Curry Frawley and Mary Curry Shirley, Noble's daughters, for their generous help with this project. I'm so happy to have connected with them and their families!