Louisville native Patty Prather Thum was one of the most influential figures in local art from the Victorian period through the 1920s. She had a national audience thanks to popular lithographic reproductions of her flower paintings. She also helped determine the city's artistic agenda through her writings about art, primarily as a critic for the Louisville Herald.
Thum first studied art at Vassar College, then at the Art Students League with William Merritt Chase. She returned to Louisville in the 1870s and began her art career. In the 1880s she headed back to New York briefly for study with Thomas Eakins.
She exhibited in Cincinnati, St. Louis, New York and Chicago.
Thum was the subject of a landmark retrospective in 2009, Patty Thum, at the Howard Steamboat Museum in Jeffersonville, Indiana, and was represented in the ground-breaking exhibition Kentucky Women Artists: 1850-2002 in 2001-2002.