Barbara Rogers Houseworth
(1925 Indianapolis, Indiana - 2015 Urbana, Illinois)
In the American Midwest of the 1940s and 1950s (the decades just before easy access to air travel and birth control), there were few outlets for a creative artist; a woman's place was in the home. After BRH moved from Indiana to downstate Illinois in 1954, her work was no longer exhibited and Barbara painted for herself. Except for the few sold during her early career in Indiana and those she gave away, she put her work in a trunk in her studio - where it stayed until 2006, and so almost all of her entire oeuvre of hundreds of works remains. She would claim her paintings were all ‘experimental’, but the quality is remarkable. Picasso-like, she always achieved an image of interest.
More of her work may be viewed at:
Lost Art Salon BRH is currently a Dubuting Artist in their collection
see also Indiana illustrators
Serious inquiries about any aspect of her work,
including purchase, to her daughters:
The daughter of two old Bloomington, Indiana families, Barbara went to Indiana University to major in Fine Art. From 1946 BRH lived in Indianapolis where she exhibited in the Indiana Artists Exhibitions at the John Herron School Art Museum. The paintings below date from her years in Indianapolis. The last image in this presentation below, 'The Laundry Lady', probably dates from the months after the birth of her first daughter in 1948.
After moving to Urbana, Illinois in 1954 her second daughter provided the Ray of Sunshine needed to spark her creative energy. Her maternal interest in this towheaded child was the focus of many pictures and drawings.
And she painted in the back room of the house while her children were at school.
After moving to Illinois, she no longer had opportunities to exhibit her work, and so painted less on canvas or board and made more paper sketches - which she filed away in a trunk without showing anyone.
Humour appeared in her sketches, but the majority of her work still reflected the life of a housewife in Midwest America of the 1950s.
Sad-eyed faces were a major part of her work.