Alice Beamish – "Studio Corner"

Alice Beamish, (New York and California ? – 1989?), 
Studio Corner
(late 1960’s), oil painting on canvas,
9″ x 9″ (11″ x 11″ framed).
Here’s a wonderful little find from a small antique store in Orange, California. It measures only 9″ x 9″ and is painted on canvas. I love the simplicity of the composition and her choice of coloring. The frame sets it off perfectly. Her rendering of the chair in the foreground reminds me of the old colonial dining room set we had when I was a kid and that may have been the subliminal message it sent just before I picked it up. This is another work done by a relatively unknown artist for the Sears, Roebuck and Company, Vincent Price Collection. Since Price’s little Program Note (1) isn’t attached I’d have to place the date of the work in the late 1960’s.

Unfortunately, my research into Alice Beamish netted me very little about the artist. I found her Curriculum Vitae buried in an obscure website owned by Fr. Stephen Frost, PhD, having something to do with mysticism and religion called Nepsis.com. Apparently he studied under Alice Beamish at Berkeley and compiled a list of artists and their background. Miss Beamish had passed away by that time so there was little other than her Curriculum Vitae available:
M. A. and B. A. from the University of California at Berkeley.

Extended study with Hans Hoffman, Europe, North Africa and United States.

Fellowship at Huntington Hartford Foundation– Residence, studio and stipend.

Purchase awards and exhibits at De Young, Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, Oakland and Los Angeles County Museums.
He also said this about her:

“Alice Beamish saved me in college, was my second great art teacher, took me into the world of Abstract Expressionism just as it was dying, introduced me to a Benedictine monastery where I was baptized into the ‘Way of Life,’ i.e., Religion. She died screaming in a contemplative convent– Religious life being too different from the Art world and cancer too painful. A great friend. A great teacher.”

Verso
I did manage to locate another online artist named Loraine Veeck, a very fine pastel and acrylic painter in her own right, who also studied under Alice Beamish. I contacted Ms. Veeck regarding her relationship with Ms. Beamish and received the following response:

"Alice taught painting and drawing for many years at Los Angeles Pierce College. Every year with the help of Father Werner she put together an art exhibition at the Vallyermo Priory in Vallyermo, CA which was part of a fund-raising festival for the Priory. I believe she was active in other ways for the Catholic Church. She studied under Hans Hoffman. I believe she studied with him, first in New York, then at Berkeley. She was very interested in the expressionist movement and would use images of that movement and the California movement a great deal to encourage expression in her student’s work. She worked hard as a teacher and artist and was always more than willing to share her knowledge with others."

I could not find a valid email address for Dr. Frost anywhere on his website. I’m still trying to locate more examples of her art, but in the meantime I will enjoy this little precious work of art that easily warms the heart while pleasing the eye.

Addendum: I received a response from Ms. Veeck saying that she thought Beamish had died from breast cancer in the late 1980’s and that I should contact the Vallyermo Priory for more info.

A search found St. Andrews Abby in Vallyermo and I sent off an email to the webmaster, the only email link I could find on the site. We’ll see.

Mike-
  1. Price wrote a short artist bio, or “Program Note” as he called it, on each work he purchased for Sears at the start of his affiliation in the early 1960’s, but later on the retailer simply pasted on Vincent Price Collection stickers when the relationship ended. Price’s wife, Mary, a talented costume designer, did the framing of the art work.

3 comments:

  1. It's just one of those places where I personally love to spend my leisure. The best part about this classic is its simplicity. Really, it is a special work of art.

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  2. Nice comments. I've noticed you've spent some time here and I appreciate your feedback.

    Mike-

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  3. I think Miss Beamish was my art teacher in 1967 or so. I was a little girl and she taught a children's art class at Choinard in downtown Los Angeles

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