The Woodmere Museum in Chestnut Hill (Philadelphia) currently
has an exhibition of works by Jessie Drew-Bear (1879-1962). She was
primarily a self-taught artist who started painting at age 59 with a set
of paints given to her by her daughter.
O’Half and I have three paintings by Jessie Drew-Bear, too, that we
would like to share with you. (Click on photos to enlarge.)
Jessie Drew-Bear lived initially in Philadelphia where she had a flower
shop, and then moved to New Hope PA. Many of her paintings
feature flowers in various settings.
This first one we’ve had a long time and though a “simple” floral still life,
it has about two pounds worth of paint on it!
Next is a local Bucks County scene–of the La Bonne Auberge restaurant
in New Hope, PA titled, “la table hors d’oeuvres.” It was a lovely French
restaurant that we visited a few times in the old days before we moved to
St. Louis. Again, note the rich colors used. The painting was probably done
in the 1950s. I think the frame is interesting. I assume she did the work–
the hacking away at the wood, then dabbing on some gilt paint . . .
The restaurant has since closed—as a result of this painting.
No! No! Just kidding. The restaurant was open for over 37
years and won many awards. But it closed in 2009.
We acquired the last Jessie Drew-Bear recently and it is of a
flower market in Paris at Place de la Madeleine. Since Drew-Bear
ran a florist shop in Philadelphia for many years, I’ll bet she loved
visiting flower markets when she traveled.
Jessie Drew-Bear was certainly an enthusiastic painter and her work
might be considered naive folk art, though she resisted those terms.
The flower market painting seems naive to me, but compare
it to some of the floral work of Maurice Prendergast . . . interesting.
What do you think?
We haven’t visited the exhibit yet, but will—we always enjoy the visits to
this unique little gem of a museum–with lunch afterwards at a nearby
informal restaurant. Google the Woodmere for more information about this
current exhibit of Jessie Drew-Bear which runs through July 13th.