Reginald Wilson, American (1909 - 1993)

Reginald Wilson
Reginald Wilson was born in 1909 in the small town of Butler, Ohio. Determined from boyhood to be an artist, he arrived at the Art Students League of New York when he was twenty. He studied with John Stuart Currie, among others, meanwhile making a living with odd jobs like that of office boy or night watchman. He was an easel painter in the Federal Art Project and served for three years as an airplane mechanic in the US Army Air Force during World War II. He and the artist Carolyn Haeberlin were married in 1942, moving in 1945 to where they made their home in a 200-year-old farmhouse.

Wilson’s paintings and works in other media were exhibited widely beginning in the 1940’s, in New York City and in major museums and universities across the country. In Woodstock he showed at a number of galleries including that of the Woodstock Artists Association where he won the 1973 Sally Jacobs-Phoebe Towbin Award.

His mid-Twentieth century contemporaries included Karl Fortess, Doris Lee, Eugene Ludins and Wilson's wife, Carolyn.

Wilson's subjects range from the familiar like a kitchen chair, a still life or the windo of a shoe-repair shop to the idyllic, like fishing boats and the sea, Mexican villages and fine portraits. His carefully composed and subtly colored "geometric-contructivist" acrylic paintings seem deceptively simple at firt glance. Wilson's work exudes optimism and love of life.

Profession: Painter, portrait painter

Studied: Chicago; Cleveland, OH; ASL, 1929 (he was friends with Arnold Blanch, who introduced him to Woodstock in 1939)

Exhibited: Meteropolitan Museum of Art, The Whitney Museum, The Art Institute of Chicago, Brooklyn Museum, the Pennsylvania Academy, WMAA; AIC; BM; PAFA Ann., 1949; Woodstock AA Gallery; Ganso, Perls & Ferargil galleries, NYC; Twenty Years of Painting, 1965-85, Woodstock, NY (together with his wife); Woodstock School of Art, 1998 (retrospective). Awards: Woodstock Fnd. Award, 1952; Sallie Jacobs Award, 1973

Member: Woodstock AA (board directors)

WPA artist. Married to painter Carolyn Haeberlin (see entry) in 1942, shortly after he was drafted into the U.S. Air Force. After WWII, they settled in Woodstock, NY, where he painted portraits, mostly of his family, and everyday objects and scenes in a geometric-constructivist style.

Sources: Falk, Exh. Record Series; info. courtesy of Peter Bissell, Cooperstown, NY.

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