Oil on canvas by listed American artist Leola Freeman (1900-1989). Depicts a group of nude women, nymphs, dancing around a small pond surrounded by lush forest. Of superb composition with vivid colors. Mid century American Impressionism, circa 1950's. Housed in a carved wooden frame, likely original to the painting. Signed on the lower right corner Leola Freeman. In good condition with general wear to the frame. Frame measures 21 3/4" x 14 3/4" . Painting measures 18" x 11".
Leola Freeman was a portrait, landscape and genre painter, as well as a teacher and gallery owner. Freeman was a Texas artist considered by many in her day as El Paso's premier portrait painter. Hailing from Gonzales, Texas and raised in El Paso. She attended Georgetown Convent, Washington, D.C.. She studied afterward at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, under well known artists Daniel Garber, Joseph Thurmond Pearson, Jr., Henry Bainbridge McCarter, and George Brandt Bridgman. Her great interest in art was first developed when she married Lloyd Freeman (1874-1930), a noted portrait and landscape painter from Knoxville, Tennessee. She moved from El Paso to Richmond, Virgina after marrying, and the two moved to Philadelphia where they shared a studio. Their son was Bill Freeman (1927-2012), a known landscape, wildlife and western genre painter, sculpture and ceramist well respected in the world of Western Art. After her husband's death, she returned to El Paso in 1933 with her four young children. Through her natural talent and sincere liking of people, Freeman turned her hobby into a most successful profession. She opened an art studio where she taught painting and did portraits. She later married Michael McElroy, a well known Irish water colorist. Freeman maintained a studio at the Paso del Norte Hotel for several years where she exhibited her works. Among her noted works includes a portrait of Captain John Hughes, a Texas Ranger for fifty years. The portrait was a key exhibit at the 1936 Centennial in Dallas. She was a member of the El Paso Art Guild and El Paso Artists Association and submitted works as part of the Exhibition of Texas Artists at the Fort Worth Art Museum, 1933 and 1936; El Paso San Jacinto Plaza Exhibition 1934; El Paso Woman's Club; Texas Centennial Exposition in Dallas 1936; West Texas Art Exhibitions 1939-42.
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