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Few artists have honed a greater awareness for the uniqueness of Charleston or the beauty and reality of the Carolina Lowcountry from Georgetown to Savannah than Horace Talmage Day. Born in Amoy, China, of a missionary family, he spent his first 18 years there and was educated at the Shanghai American School. He moved to New York in 1927 and studied for five years at the Art Students League. He then won Tiffany Foundation Fellowships and spent two years as artist-in-residence at Lillian D. Walk's Henry Street Settlement. Horace Day's love affair with the Old South began in 1936 when he arrived in Augusta, GA to become the first director of the Herbert Institute of Art. During that period, he began to paint in the Carolina Lowcountry, a region which provided material for the rest of his life. He recorded the area's character with rare sensitivity. "I see beauty in Charleston in places where many people would never dream of discovering it," he once said. In 1941 Day joined the art department of Mary Baldwin College, Staunton, VA, where he taught for twenty-five years, eventually co-chairing the department. During World War II, he was given leave to serve in the army, where he continued to paint. Works from this period were exhibited after the war at the Whitney Museum in New York and at the National Gallery in London. After the war, Day returned to Mary Baldwin where he remained until his retirement in 1967. Horace Talmage Day's half-century love affair with the South is expressed in a great volume of timeless renderings of the natural beauty and singularity of the state from the Piedmont to the Lowcountry, particularly of the latter. This "long apprenticeship" with South Carolina resulted in art - like that of Alice Huger Smith, Alfred Hutty, Elizabeth O'Neill Verner, Elizabeth White, James F. Cooper - which does much to explain the region's universal appeal.
For more information on this artist or the Southern masterworks in our collection, please visit our gallery website.
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