oil on canvas
12 x 16 inches
16 x 20 inches (framed)
When John Lawrence Russell died in 1939, the obituary in the New Albany Tribune made no mention of his being an artist but did make much of his being a star outfielder for one of the “greatest semi-pro teams in Indiana,” the New Albany Glenwoods.
Russell, whose nickname was “Runt,” was a contemporary and great friend of Art Shop owner James L. Russell but not a relation. Lawrence Russell was an ironworker, and he loved to visit the Art Shop whenever he could, according to his son, Maurice. In 1923 four pieces by Lawrence Russell were hung at the Art Shop in the Paintings by Indiana Artists Sixth Annual Exhibition, right alongside works by Joseph Krementz, Paul Plaschke, Ferdinand Walker and others.
Maurice Russell said that his father "almost died himself" when James Russell passed away in the wake of the Great Flood of 1937. Lawrence Russell’s career was cut short by a freak accident on the job that resulted in epileptic seizures and an early retirement 10 years before his death.
His paintings are extremely rare. The Filson Historical Society has a Russell landscape in its collection.
This painting has been shown in the 2000 Collector's Showcase at the Anonymous Artist Gallery in Louisville and the 2013 Artists of the Wonderland Way exhibition at the Carnegie Center for Art & History in New Albany.
James L. Russell, left, Lawrence Russell, center, and unidentified man, right, in front of the Art Shop in New Albany, Indiana.
© 2019 Warren and Julie Payne