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Keeping up with Warren & Julie Payne, fine art

Warren Payne

Warren Payne, with his wife, Julie, is a private dealer in Louisville. The couple have curated several exhibitions over two decades; have produced six catalogs and a book, “Clear as Mud: Early 20th Century Kentucky Art Pottery”; and worked on E.C. Pennington’s “Kentucky: The Master Painters.”

Tonalist masterpiece at PFA

Published: October 04, 2011 16:31 Last Updated: May 27, 2014 23:12

Harvey Joiner (1852-1932)
Harvey Joiner (1852-1932)

A gem of a Harvey Joiner painting is showcased on the Payne Fine Arts website this season.

Joiner, a native of the Clark County community of Charlestown in Southern Indiana, was largely self-taught and came of age artistically during the high tide of American Tonalism.

According to "Baird's History of Clark County, Indiana," Joiner was born in 1852 and exhibited an interest in and a talent for art from an early age. He traveled the Mississippi River as a young man, sketching scenes of life in Louisiana and ending up in St. Louis, Missouri, where he started doing portraits under the influence of German portraitist David Hoffman. He returned to Clark County in 1875, established a studio across the Ohio River in Louisville, Kentucky, and became one of the pillars of the fine-arts community in the region. He exhibited at the Southern and Nashville Centennial expositions and enjoyed a coast-to-coast clientele. A devastating studio fire in 1907 destroyed almost 100 pictures, including much of his early work. Joiner continued to be heavily collected until his death in 1932. His works are highly prized as are paintings by his contemporaries, Carl Brenner, Paul Sawyier and Robert Burns Wilson.

Art historian Estill Curtis Pennington, in his seminal "Kentucky: The Master Painters from the Frontier Era to the Great Depression," remarks on the artist's "prodigious output" and his somewhat "formulaic" approach. But, "at his best, Joiner was capable of creating works of lyrical color harmonics and evocative detail," placing him firmly in the "Southern symbolist school."

A personal note: Over the years, we have noted two interesting aspects of Joiner collecting. One, the frame plays a major role in how well the painting is received. The more elaborate the frame, the better, and if the painting rests comfortably in a gilded shadowbox, even better. Two, though the artist successfully executed many large canvases, the smaller the painting, the more desirable. The Joiner featured at Payne Fine Arts meets both criteria.

Also new on the site: a 1926 Howard Cook woodcut, "Tesuque"; a Burr Nichols Venetian oil; and a wonderful mixed media by WPA-era San Francisco artist Otis Oldfield.

Events worth noting: "Kentucky Antiques from the Noe Collection: A Gift to the Commonwealth" -- This Speed Art Museum exhibition features over 60 pieces -- early 19th century furniture, silver, art and textiles -- from the collection of Bob and Norma Noe of Lancaster, Kentucky. The show is up at the Louisville museum through Feb. 5, 2012.

"Seen from Life: People, Work and Steamboats -- Photographs by Jim Howard 1885-1932" - The Howard Steamboat Museum in Jeffersonville, Indiana, is showing over 50 photographs printed from glass-plate negatives made by boat designer Jim Howard. The glass plates were rescued from a 1971 fire that swept the museum. The show dates are Nov. 6-20.