Little Brown Girl

John Wesley Hardrick (American, 1891-1968)

Currently on View in K205
Image Licensing

Hardrick was born in Indianapolis, where he spent his entire career.

Little Brown Girl exemplifies Hardrick’s figure studies in floral settings. Its brightly colored background, painted with a palette knife, is typical of the artist’s impressionist style.

This painting received a Harmon Foundation bronze medal in 1927. From 1926 to 1933 the Harmon Foundation presented awards to African American artists for distinguished achievement in the fine arts.

Curatorial Summary

John Wesley Hardrick was born and raised in Indianapolis and continued to paint there all his life. He studied at the John Herron Art Institute in Indianapolis under Hoosier Group artist William Forsyth. Hardrick worked as an artist while holding down various jobs that included working in the family hauling business and driving a cab. He kept his paintings in the trunk of his cab, using every opportunity he could find to sell them to his customers. He worked for the Public Works of Art Project during the Great Depression, painting murals for the Crispus Attucks High School auditorium in Indianapolis. Hardrick’s subjects include portraits, autumn and winter landscapes, and floral still lifes.

Little Brown Girl was one of a group of five works that received the 1927 Harmon Foundation bronze medal. The Harmon Foundation presented awards to African Americans for distinguished achievement in the fine arts from 1926 to 1933. The subject of this painting is Nellie Henderson, a young girl about ten years of age, chosen by the artist for her charm and beauty. Little Brown Girl exemplifies Hardrick’s figure studies in floral setting. Its brightly colored background, painted with a palette knife, is typical of the artist’s richly textured Impressionist style.

References

Gugin, Linda C., and James E. St. Clair. Indiana’s 200: The People Who Shaped the Hoosier State. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society, 2016.

Taylor, William E., and Harriet G. Warkel. A Shared Heritage: Art by Four African Americans. Indianapolis: Indianapolis Museum of Art, 1996.

Object Information

artist
John Wesley Hardrick (American, 1891-1968)
creation date
1927
materials
oil on canvas
dimensions
21-1/2 x 29-5/8 in. (sight)
27-1/2 x 35-1/2 x 2-1/2 in. (framed)
accession number
29.40
credit line
Gift of a Group of African-American Citizens of Indianapolis, April l6, l929
copyright
© John Wesley Hardrick
collection
American Painting and Sculpture to 1945
colors

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