"FOURTEEN,” KENNETH EARL BATES
The artist’s son: oil on canvas, 30 inches wide by 36 inches high, original handmade Dutch frame.
Kenneth Earl Bates (1895-1973) was born in Haverhill, Massachusetts. He began studying art in 1914 when he enrolled in the Art Students League in New York under George Bridgman. From 1915 to 1921 he attended the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts with Daniel Garber, Hugh Breckenridge and Joseph Pearson. Bates won a Cresson European Travel and Study Scholarship in 1921. He received the Jennie Sesnan gold medal—a prestigious award also won by Robert Spencer, Edward Redfield, Joseph Pearson, Daniel Garber, and William Metcalf among others--for his painting “Day’s End, Year’s End.” He was a member of New York’s Salmagundi Club and a member of “The Bobo Tribe,” a group of Philadelphia artists who exhibited at the Sketch Club.
Bates married the sculptor Gladys Edgerly in 1923. An abandoned orchard behind their home in Mystic, Connecticut often provided him with themes, especially still life compositions arranged from remnants of the orchard. Bates was primarily a painter of the Connecticut landscape. His works are romantic and nostalgic, sometimes featuring ancient or dead trees. However, he also accompanied Francis Speight (1896-1989) on painting excursions to the impoverished industrial towns along Pennsylvania’s Schuylkill River.
Bates exhibited regularly at the Annual exhibition of American Paintings and Sculpture of The Art Institute of Chicago and won honorable mention for “Still Life” in 1926. He also exhibited at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., Thirteenth Exhibition Contemporary American Oil Paintings 1932-1933; Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, New York 1933; Annual Exhibition of American Art, Detroit Institute of Art, 1928, 1929; and at the 1920 and 1921 Annual Exhibition of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.
The Grand Central Galleries, New York, represented the artist; his 1940 exhibition there featured paintings reflecting the devastation to New England of the hurricane of 1938. The Lyman Allyn Museum, New London, Connecticut presented an exhibition of Bates work in 1952. Bates was a founding member of the Mystic Art Association, as was Robert Brackman. Bates book on Brackman, Brackman: His Art and Teaching was published in 1973.
Signed in pencil on reverse: “‘Fourteen’ Kenneth Bates”