John W. Hardrick
- Marion County
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John Hardrick was one of Indianapolis’ most successful African American artists. Despite financial hardship, his career as a landscape, figurative painter, and muralist was accomplished and nationally significant.
Hardrick’s grandfather moved the family from Kentucky to Indianapolis on account of racial prejudice. John, thusly born in Indianapolis, showed promise as an artist from a young age. He eventually came to the attention of Herman Lieber who assisted in getting him enrolled in children’s classes at the Herron Art Institute.
He later attended Manual High School where he studied under Otto Stark, garnered a significant number student awards, and gained significant distinction as an emerging young talent. He returned to Herron as a formal student in 1910, where he studied under William Forsyth.
Hardrick was involved in various mural projects for Indianapolis schools, alongside his mentor and former teacher, Otto Stark. He participated in Hoosier Salon Exhibitions in the 1920’s and 1930’s, and gained national notoriety in part through his participation in the 2nd Annual Exhibition of Contemporary Negro Art in San Diego.
Despite his national recognition, John Hardrick remained financially strapped his entire life. Nonetheless, he still found time to paint amidst raising a family, and laboring first as a foundry worker, then a truck driver, then, late in life, as a taxi driver. He was known to have stashed his easel, paint, and brushes in the trunk of the cab, retrieving them to quickly paint downtown Indianapolis during breaks in fares.
John Hardrick’s works tend to be very colorful and lively. Works lacking signatures are not uncommon.
We’re very interested in artwork by John Hardrick. Please contact us if you have pieces you are considering selling.
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