oil on board
10 x 12 inches
13.5 x 15.5 inches (frame)
Stephen Alke was born in the Bracken County, Kentucky, community of Augusta, a onetime ferry port on the Ohio River. He studied at the Cincinnati Art Academy under Duveneck and Meakin. In 1912 he married Cincinnati artist Elizabeth Heil, and they eventually settled in New Richmond, Ohio, near Cincinnati. Alke remained involved in the family farm in Augusta, and many of the scenes captured by him and his wife were in that area.
Alke’s work has appeared in two important exhibitions in Kentucky: the 1981 The Kentucky Painter from the Frontier Era to the Great War show at the University of Kentucky Art Museum and the 2000 exhibition, A Place Not Forgotten: Landscapes of the South from the Morris Museum of Art, also at the university museum.
For most of his career, Alke was an Impressionist, as in our current painting. In his later years, he adopted some of the characteristics of the American Regionalist school, as in his Tobacco Setters on a Hilltop at the Morris Museum in Augusta, Georgia. That painting is dated circa 1938, a few years before his death.
A discussion of the life and work of this important Kentucky artist can be found in E.C. Pennington’s Kentucky: The Master Painters from the Frontier Era to the Great Depression (Cane Ridge Publishing House, 2008). Payne Fine Arts played a role in the production of that seminal work.
© 2019 Warren and Julie Payne