Glenn Cooper Henshaw
J. Ottis Adams
- Martin County
- Brown County
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Glenn (Glen) Cooper Henshaw, a descendant of Francis Scott Key, was born under the name Hinshaw on August 8, 1880, in Windfall, Indiana. His mother died when he was an infant and he and his sister, Effie, went to live with two aunts in nearby Mechanicsburg. They returned to Windfall after their father remarried where Henshaw spent a large portion of his childhood sketching.
After graduating from high school, Henshaw became one of the first students at the John Herron Art School which formed in Indianapolis in 1901. He studied here with Otto Stark, J. Ottis Adams and William Forsyth. In 1902 he went to the Munich Academy where he studied with Carl Von Marr and in 1904 he went on to Paris. He attended the Academie Julian and the Ecole des Beaux Art where he was influenced by impressionism.
Henshaw worked with oils and pastels. He was equally gifted at cityscapes and portraits. He could capture the essence of a person with just a few strokes. His tonal harmonies, manipulation of light and shadow, free brushwork and the rapid observation and execution of predominant traits established his reputation among recognized critics and connoisseurs. He worked quickly and was often able to complete a canvas in just two or three hours. He exhibited his works at the Corcoran Gallery, the Brooklyn Museum, the Addison Gallery of American Art, the Chicago Art Institute and the Herron Art School.
Through a friend who was a curator of a museum in London he won a commission to illustrate a book of essays by Charles Lamb. He spent two years in London executing the work. Back in America he established studios in New York, Indianapolis, Chicago and Baltimore. Although he painted cityscapes, his main support came from portrait commissions. In 1912 painted a portrait of James Whitcomb Riley. He received praise from the art critic Joseph Lewis French in 1914 who admired the artist for following his own vision. However, by the late 1930s Henshaw began to fall from favor. Critics became interested in the avant-garde of modernism.
In 1941 Henshaw returned to the Peaceful Valley in Nashville, Indiana and bought the Odd Fellows Building. He planned to winter in Baltimore and summer in Nashville. He received support from local critics who considered his works as a defense for beauty against the threat of modern art.
Henshaw died at the age of 66 in Baltimore on April 5, 1946. He was buried in Windfall near his birthplace. His wife, Carolyn, decided to keep 85 of the 400 oils and pastels in Henshaw’s gallery in the Odd Fellows Building in Nashville, Indiana as a memorial. The rest were to be sold to pay for their upkeep. Eventually these works were put into the permanent collection of the Brown County Art Gallery where many of them were destroyed in a fire in 1966.
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