Saturday, December 3, 2011

Mini Bio: Carrie York, Minneapolis Artist

Carrie York (1865-1955) was my husband's great grand aunt.  Aunt Carrie's name is recognized by everyone in our family (even though most living today never knew her) because she was a prolific artist, and we all have at least one of her paintings or other works of art in our homes.

She is remarkable because she actually made her living as an artist.  (Not a common thing for a woman in the late 19th/early 20th century in Minneapolis).  She not only sold her oil paintings, painted china, and pyrographic art, but she also hosted studio showings and gave art lessons.

From The Minneapolis Journal, Friday evening, 12 Dec 1902  
The Jennie Maloney mentioned in the above article is Carrie's aunt, although she is only a year older than Carrie.  Jennie herself was a milliner and respected business woman in Minneapolis, and later Lincoln, Nebraska (but that's for another blog post!)

painted platter given to her brother Joe York, Christmas 1908
In October, I met up with some descendants of the Maloney family (County Galway, Ireland to Kenosha, Wisconsin to Hopkins and Minneapolis, Minnesota), and it turns out all of them (descended from three different Maloney siblings) knew of Carrie York and had had or still had some of Carrie's paintings in their family.  Bob Miller, whose grandmother was another of Carrie's aunts, Nellie Maloney Miller, actually ran home to get his painting, and brought it back to the Hopkins historical Society to show us!

Mary Anderson Raabe (whose great grandfather was Carrie York's uncle Michael Maloney) found Carrie's name on her grandmother's list of wedding gifts - Carrie York had given her cousin Marie Maloney an oil painting to celebrate her nuptials!

Carrie never married, and from a sweet letter we found from her father (Robert W. York), it seems there might possibly have been some romantic disappointment with a fella at some point.  Still, through other newspaper snippets in the society columns of the day, we see Carrie was active in social clubs and busy with her art.  She also helped to raise her twice-widowed brother Joseph's two sons, and cared for her aged mother, Cecelia Maloney York, who lived to be 96.

Carrie's artistic style was after the fashion of the day: copying prints or photographs for her oil paintings.  Like or dislike her style, you have to respect her for making a living with her art!

And our family can thank her for decorating all our homes as well!

Carrie York  (1865-1955)

1 comment:

  1. Kim,
    This is a side of my great aunt’s life that I never considered.
    She was a talented lady who cared and lived and laughed; and perhaps (according the to the newspaper print) was good at playing a game of euchre.
    Her heart was broken by a man; her dad tried to mend it with his kindness; perhaps that moment in her life inspired a painting?
    What an excellent snippet.
    Thanks for posting.
    Bonnie Q


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