Born in Kent, Ohio in 1895, Garnet Jex moved at the age of four to Washington, DC, the area he made his home until his death in 1979. He enlisted in the Army at the outbreak of World War I, beginning fifty years of public service. Upon returning from the war, Jex worked as a medical illustrator for the Army Medical Corps while attending the Corcoran School of Art and George Washington University where he earned his B.A. in 1927. He worked as art editor for Nature magazine while completing his Master's Degree, which he earned from George Washington in 1931. Jex continued public service for the next 26 years as an artist for the U.S. Public Health Service, ending his career with the U.S. Bureau of State Services in 1962. Soon after returning from the war, Jex began a series of landscape paintings depicting the Potomac River and the C & O Canal. His work documents the people and the places of the C & O, the lockhouses, lock keepers, and the boats that floated coal from Appalachia down the river. A massive flood destroyed the canal in March of 1925, but Jex's work survives as a visual record of the canal. Jex was an active member of the Washington, DC art scene, serving on the executive committee of the Society of Washington Artists, as president of the Arts Club of Washington, the Society of Federal Artists and Designers, and as a member of the Art League of Northern Virginia. He also served as president of the Landscape Club of Washington, DC. An expert on the Civil War, Jex devoted much of his time doing research and painting historical scenes doing also, serving as president of the Civil War Round Table after his retirement. He collaborated with photographer Dana Doten on a series of photographs titled "The Bulldozer and the Rose," which recorded the history of southwestern Washington, D.C. before it was razed for redevelopment. In 1975, four years before his death from a stroke at age 83, Jex was honored with a one-man show at the Arts Club of Washington.
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