Biography of Henry C. Thompson , artist (1909-1996).
Since 1960, Henry C. Thompson lived and painted in California. His career commenced as a youth in his native New Jersey and was influenced by studies under the celebrated author and lecturer, Royal Cortissoz, at the Metropolitan Museum, New York City. (Mr. Cortissoz was art critic on the New York Herald Tribune 1895-1947.) Mr. Thompson worked under the distinguished American woman portrait painter, Miss Edna K. Smith. He was accepted at both Harvard and Yale, but the wholehearted choice was made to enter Yale University Art School. His talent, training and success quickly distinguished him, and he was placed in life drawing, advanced painting, portraiture and mural painting, the latter under Eugene Savange, renowned muralist.
Following his professional art training, Thompson earned his living in New York City as a painter and muralist. Works included two panels in the New York Trust Company depicting the history of the Port of New York; murals for the Cherokee Foundation, South Carolina; and decorative panels for River House, New York City. He was invited in 1936 to lecture to the New York Camera Club on "Photography as a Modern Art." During World War II, while in the U.S. Army, he sketched, observed and stored impressions for future paintings while on duty as a machine gunner.
After the war Thompson maintained an art studio on 23rd St., New York City, where he produced a new series of works. In 1950 a successful two-man exhibit was held in his studio with the Washington, D.C. artist M. DuBois Bolton. Thompson's studio was acclaimed to be one of the most beautiful rooms in the city of New York.
During 1950-60 Thompson exhibited in a series of one-man shows in Texas where he had established a studio. The Texas Art Association invited him to exhibit thirty of his paintings at Laguna Gloria, Austin. In Houston, his work was accepted by the Contemporary Museum of Art. He was member of the Houston Art League where his paintings were exhibited, and he was also a member of the Houston Museum of Fine Arts. Three panels by Thompson depicting life at sea are on permanent exhibition in the Museum of the Texas Navy, founded by Admiral S.M. Robinson on the Battleship Texas, San Jacinto Monument, Houston. The panels were commissioned by Admiral Robinson and are the principal focus of interest to thousands of visitors to the Museum, which commemorates the gallant role of the Texas Navy in the defeat of Santa Ana.
Mr. Thompson maintained a studio in Saratoga, Calif., and he exhibited a series of one-man shows and invititationals. His works are privately owned by executives in business and education, and the some of his works are held in other collections in California, New York, Texas and several other states. He successfully combined careers in painting and scientific invention. He was the founder of chemical companies which manufactured under his series of patents covering non-burning industrial building materials, products, processes and machinery to produce the non-burning products.
Henry C. Thompson was a native of New Jersey. The first major exhibition in which Thompson participated was the New York Armory Show of 1927, an annual exhibition by the Society of Independent Artists. One portrait by Thompson is of the late Adm. S.M. Robinson, distinguished 4-star Naval officer and head of Bureau of Ships in World War II. Robinson was responsible for rebuilding the United States Navy following Pearl Harbor. Other portraits by Thompson include: an oil painting of the great sculptor Mauno Oittinen who produced monumental works in the United States and Finland; and the portrait of Miss Dorothea Johnston, leading figure in the history of California theater, exhibited in the California Historical Society, San Francisco.
Thompson also painted land and seascapes, floral, still-life and interior scenes. The Thompson collection includes his California series of spring landscapes of freshly green folded hills and gracious oaks viewed from scenic Route 280. According to Betty Lochrie Hoag, then Triton Museum of Art director, Santa Clara Civic Center, the paintings represented "the forging together of the artist's awareness of the spirit of nature and man."
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