Exhibit features late Valley artist

Staff report


An exhibition of art by American Impressionist John J. Lloyd (1884-1967), who lived most of his life in Warren, Ohio, and who captured the region’s industry and beauty, opens today at the Hoyt Institute of Fine Arts and runs through June 30.

“It is easy to fall in love with the work of John Lloyd,” said Louis Zona, executive sirector of The Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown. “Lloyd’s paintings are a terrific reminder of that golden age of painting when artists tried to capture the playful qualities of light while staying true to the all-American devotion to the strong narrative. Like his contemporaries … John Lloyd understood the tenets of European plein air painting, but gave the work the solidity of form and strong story line that we associate with American realist art from the very beginning.”

That storyline could have easily been the steel mills peppering the largest steel producing region in the world, but only a fraction of the 68 works on loan to the Hoyt depict the fiery furnaces of the once booming industry. Instead they embrace the bucolic landscape of Pennsylvania and Ohio yet untouched by the tons of black soot spewing from the smokestacks.

Margo Jacobs referred to these scenes as “Anywhere USA” in her 2008 review of Lloyd’s retrospective exhibit at The Butler featured in American Art Review. “Time and place were central to Lloyd’s vision, yet time and place need not be as specific as one day or one city. They were ‘Anywhere USA,’ as long as it had four beautiful seasons, meandering streams, covered bridges, rolling hills, and a strong industrial presence to support the local economy.”

Kimberly Koller-Jones, director of the Hoyt, said, “This is an ‘Our Town’ exhibit, one easily absorbed by New Castle’s own appreciation of its natural landscape and industrial heritage.”

Born in Coaltown, Pa., in 1884, Lloyd moved with his family to Warren, Ohio, in 1898, a place he called home until his death in 1967.

His formal art training began at the Cleveland School of Art in 1913 and was followed by attendance at the prestigious summer art classes of the Art Students League in Woodstock, N.Y., and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Chester Springs, Pa. John F. Carlson, then president of the League, became an early influence, as evidenced by Lloyd’s Impressionistic brushwork and strong sense of modeling.

During his 20s and 30s, Lloyd continued his studies in art colonies across the country. A favorite stop seemed to be the summer sessions at the Pennsylvania Academy, which is prominent in his work between 1919 and 1924. Three of these were accepted by the Art Club of Philadelphia for exhibit in 1921, while others found recognition at the Toledo Museum of Art, the Art Club of St. Petersburg, Fla., The Art Club of Philadephia, the Philadelphia Sketch Club, and The Butler through 1924. He was awarded the John Lewis Prize by the Pennsylvania Fine Arts Academy in 1922 among many others throughout his lifetime.

Lloyd’s predominant media was oil but he also worked in watercolor and pastel.

The Hoyt exhibition was made possible by the efforts of Lloyd’s grandnephew, John Lloyd Boop, who is securing his uncle’s legacy as a prominent American Impressionist with exhibitions across the country. Sixty of the works included in the exhibition are from the Boop family collection and depict the region’s landscape. Boop will be present at a public reception Friday from 6-8 p.m. at the Hoyt.

Featured alongside the Lloyd exhibition in the Blair Sculpture Walkway Gallery is the sculptural furniture of Brian Ferrell of Jeannette, Pa., and a photographic collection by Samuel Fee of Washington, Pa.

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