Painter and printmaker. Although sometimes included among Ashcan painters because of his interest in the lower classes, he remained more romantic than they generally were. In the life of New York's poor, Myers found qualities of beauty and joy that he translated into a decorative exoticism. His compositions typically feature somewhat flattened, patterned forms enlivened with touches of glowing color. Oddly, although he had himself experienced an impoverished youth, social reform was not among his concerns, and although he knew slum life at first hand, better than nearly all the Ashcan painters, he provided only distanced, poetic views in his art. His actors in fantasy spectacles rarely demonstrate individual psychology. Born in Petersburg, Virginia, Myers first became a sign painter in Baltimore. After he moved permanently to New York in 1886, he painted theater sets and attended art school, first at Cooper Union, then at the Art Students League where George de Forest Brush ranked as his most important teacher. In the 1890s he worked as a newspaper artist before traveling to Paris in 1896. After 1900 he began to paint full time, exhibited regularly while associating with realist painters, and served as an organizer of the 1913 Armory Show. In later years, he maintained a vacation home in Carmel, New York, north of the city, but claimed he visited rarely because of his fascination with the urban panorama. His autobiography, Artist in Manhattan, appeared the year he died. His wife Ethel Myers (1881–1960) was known primarily for small bronze figurative works. She exhibited nine in the Armory Show and continued to specialize in realistic, or sometimes caricatural, studies of New Yorkers. She also painted, particularly in watercolor. Born in Brooklyn, Ethel Mae Klinck studied at the New York School of Art (now Parsons, the New School for Design) with Robert Henri and Kenneth Hayes Miller before marriage in 1905. She died in Cornwall, on the Hudson River above New York.
Subjects: Art & Architecture