Russell Green


Athens Station

Athens Station, 1967
oil on canvas, 17 1/2 x 23 1/2
Mid South exhibition label, Memphis

Russell Green Biography


Iowa State College, 1928-1929
Art Institute of Chicago, 1929-1933
Art Institute of Chicago, postgraduate work, painting and graphic arts, 1934
University of Chicago, summer 1941

One Man Shows:
Radio City Music Hall; Cronyn & Lowndes Galleries, New York
Art Institute of Chicago
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Little Gallery; Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Woman’s College, now University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Nash-Conley Galleries, Minneapolis
Centennial Museum; Corpus Christi, Texas
Davis Art Gallery; Stephens College; Columbia, Missouri
Jewish Community Center; Kansas City, Missouri
New Mexico (location and dates unknown)

Two Man Shows:
Peoples’ Art Gallery; St. Louis, Missouri
Stanley Hall Gallery; Washington University; St. Louis, Missouri

Juried Exhibitions:
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts; 152nd Annual, Philadelphia, 1957
Springfield Art Museum; 28th Annual Exhibition, Springfield, Missouri, 1958. White Table
Springfield Art Museum; 36th Annual Exhibition, Springfield, Missouri, purchase prize 1966
St. Louis Art Museum; Missouri Show, Honorable Mention, 1945
St. Louis Art Museum; 16th Missouri Exhibition, 1957 The Faculty
Nelson Gallery; Kansas City, Missouri
Iowa Artists Shows; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; First Painting Prize, 1936
Chicago Art Institute; International Watercolor Shows
Chicago Art Institute; International Print Show
Philadelphia Art Alliance, (prints)
Midwest Artists; Joslyn Museum; Omaha, Nebraska

More Exhibitions:
Grand Central Art Galleries; New York City, New York
Museum of Modern Art, New York
Chicago Artists’ Show, 1934
Art Institute of Chicago, Fifth Annual, lithographs, 1935
Iowa Federation of Women’s Clubs, 1935
Morris Gallery Winter Show Exhibition; Morris Gallery; New York City, New York
Mid South Exhibition; Brooks Gallery, Memphis
Sheldon Art Gallery; Lincoln, Nebraska

Instructor of Art, University of Minnesota, 1938-39
Instructor in the Art Workshop, University of Chicago, 1949
University of North Carolina Workshop Director, summer 1941
Punahou School, Honolulu, Hawaii, 1946-47
Artist-in-Residence, University of Georgia, Athens, fall 1954
Stephens College, 1936-1976

Russell Green worked for the WPA in Illinois in the 1930s
some of his woodcuts from the 1930s are in the Art Institute of Chicago and elsewhere

Between 1951-1965 Russell Green spent five summers in Europe visiting France, Italy, Spain, Greece and the Canary Islands.

A Fine Sense of Balance

Russell Green started attending college in small town Iowa during an era of unparalleled prosperity in the United States. Yet by the time Green graduated five years later from the Art Institute of Chicago, the Depression had brought the country to its knees economically. In those few years, ending with his Bachelor of Arts, Green had also undergone a personal transformation from a farmboy to a sophisticated urban artist and teacher. His first teaching job, at the University of Chicago, would have given him a chance to display his command of the international art style that the city of Chicago was fostering in both art and architecture.There would be more transitions and challenges ahead of Green in his long career, but his young ability to adapt and and rebalance stayed with him throughout his life and is reflected in the quiet, complex, assurance of his paintings.

Avant garde Midwestern artists, unlike their New York counterparts, did not find as much support from local dealers, local museums and the public. But many older artists have told me that, though the situation kept their artwork undervalued on the national art scene, they nonetheless profited from the freedom from oversight. This was especially true if the artist could find a berth in the academic world.

Stephens College in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s was one of the most prestigious women’s colleges in the country. Dr. Louise Dudley, from her position as Dean, had transformed the way American colleges taught the arts through her books Introduction to the Humanities and The Humanities. Dudley felt that the study of the arts fosters “a tolerant attitude…an open- mindedness that defers judgment”. From the number of Stephens graduates that I have met over the years at art fairs, I would say the students took her lessons to heart.

During Green’s long years as Head of the Art Department at Stephens he supervised the expansion of the art department and provide the students with state of the art printing presses, kilns and painting facilities. He also enjoyed the support of other art faculty like Will Freund. Freund, like Green, is hard to find on the internet today, but in the 1950s he was winning national and international prizes and awards for groundbreaking brutalist sculpture and highly abstracted painting.

Stephens College is located in the small city of Columbia, Missouri and during Russell Green’s years there he became an arbiter of taste for the community. Besides creating and exhibiting abstract paintings, Green was also locally famous as a cook, a creator of formal gardens, an interior designer, a collector of antiques including asian antiquities, and an architect of contemporary homes and historic preservation. Russell Green gave the author of this biography support in the early years of her career.

The lucky patrons who bought Russell Green’s paintings at mid century have quietly passed them on through inheritance and the emergence of this trove of his early work on the market provides an unprecedented chance for us to see and, perhaps to own, a piece of Russell Green’s remarkable artistic achievement.

Melissa Williams
Melissa Williams Fine Art Columbia, Missouri
April 2, 2016