American, 1867 - 1940
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Zoë Samels, “Jerome Myers,” NGA Online Editions, https://purl.org/nga/collection/constituent/2657 (accessed June 21, 2021).
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Jerome Myers was born on March 20, 1867, in Petersburg, Virginia. Jerome’s itinerant father was absent for long stretches of time, and his family moved frequently in his early years before settling in Trenton, New Jersey. At age 11 Myers left school to help support his invalid mother and four siblings. It was around this time that he took up sketching and painting. Three years and a series of jobs later, Myers and his family moved to Baltimore. There he and an elder brother eventually set up a sign painting business, putting the younger Myers’s burgeoning artistic skills to work. In his autobiography Artist in Manhattan (1940) he wrote of the enterprise: “For a year or so, I had my shingle out and we flourished. Incidentally, I remember contracting lead poisoning at this time. Now I know that the lead finally left my system, but the paint remained.”
In 1886 the family moved to New York City, where Myers found work in the theater as a scene painter. He began his formal art studies at Cooper Union in 1867. The following year Myers enrolled at the Art Students League, where his teachers included
Throughout the 1890s Myers’s drawings, pastels, watercolors, and etchings captured the vibrant, chaotic life of New York’s working-class neighborhoods and their inhabitants, particularly the Lower East Side with its recent influx of immigrants. Like other urban realists, including
Sometime around 1902 Myers met William Macbeth, owner of the Macbeth Gallery, who encouraged him to focus more on oil painting. Myers subsequently showed his work at the Macbeth Gallery in 1902 and 1903 before his first solo show there in 1908. In 1905 Jerome married the artist Ethel Myers, who had studied at the New York School of Art with Robert Henri and
Myers exhibited his work nationally throughout his career (mostly paintings but also a number of etchings) and received a number of awards from institutions including the National Academy of Design and the Carnegie Institute. In 1919 he was elected an associate member of the prestigious National Academy of Design, becoming a full member in 1928. Myers passed away in New York City in 1940.
 Jerome Myers, Artist in Manhattan (New York, 1940), 11.
August 17, 2018