Question of the Week: Do you have any artists in your family tree?

+15 votes

imageDo you have any artists in your family tree? Tell us about them with an answer below. You can also use the question image to share your answer with friends and family on social media

in The Tree House by Eowyn Walker G2G Astronaut (2.5m points)

My husband's mother was a ceramicist - if that counts.  Some of her work is on display in various places, and is highly prized by some collectors.

My 3rd cousin X3R, Mabel Lesslie, was an artist, working mainly with "china painting".   Her work is on display in the the Australian National Gallery, and also the Technological Museum (now known as the Powerhouse Museum).

My Dutch side has alot of talented artists. My sister, my cousin in Arizona, my son, and myself. I learned a couple weeks ago on Wiki-tree that I was twenty some degrees from Toulouse Le Trec which made me laugh.  In the list above I am the only one who trained as a painter in college. here in Michigan

52 Answers

+9 votes

Among others, Benjamin West, first cousin 7x removed who was American and became head of the Royal Academy. And, Jim Moon (Museum of Modern Art, Guggenheim, etc) who I knew well in life but did not know until after he passed of our mutual Quaker heritage making us 6th cousins. West was also from a Quaker family. I don't believe there is a familial relationship between West and Moon.

by T Stanton G2G6 Pilot (386k points)
edited by T Stanton

The first president of the Royal Academy  Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792) | WikiTree FREE Family Tree is my fifth great grand uncle 

anyone related to the third see James Wyatt (1746-bef.1813) | WikiTree FREE Family Tree

the fourth was again Benjamin West

+10 votes
One of my maternal grandfather's sisters, Clara Louise Bell, was an artist. She had a national reputation for her miniature painting which included several US Presidents, Herbert Hoover, Franklin Roosevelt (from photos) and John F. Kennedy, (also from photos). Before and after working on the miniature of President Roosevelt, she consulted with Eleanor Roosevelt. Mrs. Roosevelts favorite portrait of her husband was by Frank O. Salisbury.

Miss Bell did not want to copy another artists work.

Her miniatures of U.S. Presidents are owned by the Butler Institute of Art, Youngstown, Ohio.
by Frank Gill G2G Astronaut (2.6m points)

Hi, Frank -- there were a couple of examples of her work referenced in her Wikipedia article. These are beautiful:

Laura Newell Veissi (1925) at The Met

Francine Serrano (1924) at the Smithsonian American Art Museum


Thank you for the information about Clara Louise Bell's artwork. I certainly appreciate the research that you did.

Not at all, Frank! She did beautiful work. We talked about her on the livecast this morning. :-)
+9 votes
My mom and dad were artists.  On the famous side, Dirck Hals is my (uncertain) 9th great grandfather.
by Mark Weinheimer G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
+12 votes

3G Grandfather John Wesley Truslow was a silversmith and jeweler in the 1800s.  First in Lewisburg, VA (now WV), and then in Johnson City, TN.  

by Dorothy O'Hare G2G6 Mach 8 (88.8k points)
+10 votes
Richard Sutherland Sargent, born March 26, 1911 in NY.

He is a cousin through my maternal grandmother, Sylvia Conant Hemenway.

Dick Sargent was a successful commercial artist who painted covers for the Saturday Evening Post. He was hired by the WPA to do a mural for the post office in Morrilton, Arkansas. It occupies an entire wall about 14 feet across.

He retired to the Andalusian mountains in Spain where he painted stunning landscapes.
by Frank Gill G2G Astronaut (2.6m points)
+13 votes
Harvey Ross Ball, creator of the smiley face. My 9th cousin. Have a nice day!
by Joyce Vander Bogart G2G6 Pilot (200k points)

You forgot just one thing -- smiley

Nice, Todd! 

There's a nice Wikipedia article about him, too. 

Joyce, you should create a profile for him! smiley <-- of course

+12 votes

I have an art degree from Oklahoma University and have done post graduate work at three other universities, but I have never really liked my paintings. I will go back and keep touching them up, so I get rid of them. This is a Northern pike I painted for a man who recently died, and his wife returned it to me. I love doing biographies on WikiTree, and if I go back and touch them up...all the better. I was so excited to see that Norman Rockwell is my 7th cousin. I really like his profile with his wonderful painting, Family Tree, as the background.

by Alexis Nelson G2G6 Pilot (859k points)
edited by Alexis Nelson
Beautiful Painting!
Thank you Arora for your very kind comment. I love to go to museums and see works by famous artists. I think I should have worked in a museum.
+15 votes

My father is a collage artist quite well-known in some very specific circles; the household he grew up in was full of art, as my grandfather was a major appreciator of the arts (especially the surrealists). My grandfather wasn't too much of an artist in his own right in his younger years, but beginning in the '60s, he began to create elaborate & surreal cardboard sculptures in his free time, made out of anything he could get his hands on. Here's a photo:

Other members of my father's family are artists, or at least have close associations with the arts going back a few generations. On my mother's side, my grandmother is an artist. My profile picture here on WikiTree is a portrait she painted of me when I was around 5 years old. She worked for a while for the Match Corporation of America, & for the Hawk Model Company, where she illustrated bubblegum cards for a time. She's also studied rosemåling, a style of Norwegian decorative painting that I believe her grandmother also knew how to do. Her grandmother, my great-great-grandmother, was a housewife, but we have a number of drawings that she did, & though she never did it as anything more than a hobby, she certainly was talented.

Another ancestor on that side of the family, I only discovered recently, was a bit of a painter. A cousin recently uploaded to Ancestry a painting that she did of Shakespeare's burial place in 1860; I'm reaching out to ask more about the painting & to see if they might be willing to put it up here on WikiTree.

Oh! &, I forgot to mention when I wrote this earlier that one of my Norwegian ancestors amid a long line of farmers is listed in one of the folketellinger (censuses) as a painter, though I know nothing of what might have come of his work at this time.

by Thomas Koehnline G2G6 Pilot (104k points)
edited by Thomas Koehnline
Thank you Thomas for sharing such a happy photo of your grandfather and his sculpture.
Thank you! It's one of my personal favorite photos of him, so I was a little surprised I hadn't uploaded it before.

Also, I love your painting of the northern pike. I think there's a painting somewhere of a salmon (can't quite recall which species) that my grandmother did; I'll have to ask where that ended up
Thomas, your profile picture that your grandmother painted of you is wonderful. What a treasure!
+9 votes
One of the paternal ancestors of my wife was Christian Friedrich Rohlfs (Rohlfs-25). He was was a German painter and printmaker, one of the important representatives of German expressionism.
by Dieter Lewerenz G2G Astronaut (3.1m points)
+12 votes

My great aunt, Wendy Wood, Meacham-885 , was an artist as her primary profession (as well as being a rabid Scots Nationalist). See .  I have a couple of her paintings.

Both her parents were serious amateur artists.  Her father, C.S. Meacham, Meacham-722, was known for his landscapes, often oil on wood.  I have quite a few of his paintings.  See, for instance,

This is his "Ponte Vecchia Dolce Acqua near Bordighera"

Her mother, Florence (Wood) Meacham. Wood-16087, was also a landscape painter, and I have a couple  of small paintings of hers.

Florence's father, Samuel Peploe Wood, Wood-16086, was a prominent sculptor (see ) Here is one of his watercolors/sketches

Samuel's brother, Thomas Peploe Wood, not currently on WikiTree (see was a prominent painter.

by Janet Gunn G2G6 Pilot (161k points)
edited by Janet Gunn
+12 votes

My mother paints; my maternal great-uncle by marriage Joel C. Reeves was a painter, who is usually categorised as a Southern exponent of the so-called "Ashcan school"; he was dean of the Atlanta School of Art, and a memorial scholarship was endowed in his name. He is perhaps most notable for designing the stained-glass windows for the Ida Cason Calloway Memorial Chapel at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Georgia:

My 2nd cousin twice removed Lamar Dodd was an artist who was dean of the school of art at the University of Georgia (which was renamed in his honour after his death).

And another 2nd cousin twice removed, Ed Dodd, was the creator of the Mark Trail comic strip, which he drew until age and ill health led him to retire and hand over the reins to Jack Elrod.

by C Handy G2G6 Pilot (213k points)
edited by C Handy
Thank you C Handy for sharing the fabulous stained glass windows designed by your great uncle Joel.
+8 votes
My mom's dad, my mom, my sister Bar,and my cousin Patty,. They were all painters though my mom also made some sculptures.

My artistic works are more literary and photographic (predigital)
by David Hughey G2G Astronaut (1.7m points)
David, I can relate. Everyone in my family was artistic, and I actually enjoy writing. I think I remember that you have been doing poetry.
+10 votes

My maternal grandfather, Harry Elmer Bicknell, in addition to being a doctor, was a prolific oil painter. He got much of his subject matter from pictures in magazines. He was not the least bit famous, and most of his output was gifted to family members and friends. He gave me this painting in 1968.

This one hung in my mother's home until she passed away and I inherited it.

I have a few more, but these two are my favorites.

by Carolyn Comings G2G6 Mach 5 (53.9k points)
Thank you Carolyn for sharing your talented grandfather’s wonderful paintings. I especially love the one he gave you. The colors are fabulous, and I have always felt that water is difficult to paint. Glad you have such treasures!
+8 votes

My uncle Wim Klabbers was a sculptor He mainly worked with metal and made beauiful modern art statures. He also draw, painted and etched. He was very modest and not a real talker so he didn't get famous. He and his wife just scraped by. She worked in the local library and he gave art lessons next to working in his studio. Later in life  he was "discovered" regionally and sold quite a lot of statues. He died in 2013.

His profile still needs a lot of work but I'm planning to do him justice.

by Eef van Hout G2G6 Pilot (191k points)
+10 votes

Yep. My grandfather Marco did a lot of painting. Here's an example. This painting of my great-grandfather and his second wife, Fortuna Grasso is currently at my dad's office.

by Chris Ferraiolo G2G6 Pilot (778k points)
+9 votes
My mothers Mom was a painter,   Oil colors   and prior to death,  watercolors.  I have some of her paintings  and she helped be to start painting (Acrylics)  and I still have the one oil painting we did.
by Stephen Tomaszewicz G2G6 Mach 2 (25.1k points)
+9 votes
I do. Two of the direct ancestors of my 2xggranduncle by marriage are Lucas Cranach the Younger and the Elder. Since I know that, I look at their paintings in museums in a different way.
by Jelena Eckstädt G2G Astronaut (1.5m points)
+8 votes

Yes sir. My father and mother were both professional artists! They took their training at the Toronto College of Art in Canada. But my father also said that one was born an artist, so you either had the gift, or you didn't. Very difficult to manufacture it! He taught art for many years at several educational institutions in Ottawa, Canada. He left me with many paintings to take care of when he passed at age 92 in October 2018. He must have painted several thousand in his lifetime - water colors, oils, pastels, pen & ink, etc. He was greatly inspired by the GROUP OF SEVEN there in Canada. ~ see profiles below       

by Steve Maxted G2G4 (4.1k points)
+7 votes

My great-granduncle was William E. Bloomfield Starkweather, the American Impressionist. Here is his painting of Peggy Bacon, sketching outside his Washington Square studio. My great-granduncle was William E. Bloomfield Starkweather, the American Impressionist. This is his portrait of Peggy Bacon, sketching outside his studio on Washington Square.

by Christine Osborne G2G2 (2.0k points)
+7 votes

William E. Bloomfield Starkweather, the American Impressionist, was my great-granduncle.

by Christine Osborne G2G2 (2.0k points)

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