Hester Ayers

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Artist Details

  • Hester
  • Eliza
  • Merwin
  • Hester Merwin Handley Ayers
  • Ayers
  • Edward Lindsley Ayers born 1896, died August 18, 1963 in Pasadena, California married after 1950
  • Robert O. Handley married in 1939 in Hauppaug, Long Island, New York
  • January 24, 1902
  • Bloomington, Illinois
  • December 4, 1975
  • New Smyrna Beach, Florida
  • Bloomington, Illinois

    Chicago, Illinois
  • Bloomington, Illinois

    Chicago, Illinois


    New York, New York
  • Illustrator, Muralist, Painter-Oil, Pastelist
  • School of the Art Institute of Chicago with Albin Polasek
    Florence, Italy
    mural course, New York, New York
    New York, New York, student of Howard Giles
    Pasadena, California, student of Einar Hansen
    Taos, New Mexico, student of Nicolai Frechen
    University of Mexico, course in mural painting
  • Inspired by a trip around the world at a young age.

    1925, several months in India, Burma, Dutch East Indies, China.

    Spent several months outside Peking, China before 1933.

    1937: member of the Merwin-Haverlee expedition to Lapland

    Painting in Kabul, Afghanistan; Delhi, India; Oaxaca, Mexico; Japan; Thailand; Burma; Dutch East Indies, Polynesia

    lived in Mexico for a full year (did the Oaxacan Indian drawings)

    spent a winter on a plantation in Dominica, British West Indies (drew Carib Indians)

    1968-1972: she made three trips to East Africa , exploring areas of Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya
  • Array
  • 1926: New York, New York

    1927: Russell Art Gallery

    1931: Stockbridge, Massachusetts

    1933: Faces of East Africa (Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda), Wesleyan University, Bloomington, Illinois (solo)

    1934, 1940: Decatur Art Center, Decatur, Illinois

    1935: New House Galleries, New York, New York (solo)

    1948: Hester Merwin, Farargil Galleries, New York, New York

    1950: Indians and Mexicans of Oaxaca, U of Illinois, Champaign, Illinois (solo)

    1951: Indians and Mexicans of Oxaca, 25 charcoal and crayon portraits

    1957: Portraits, Bloomington (IL) Art Association, Withers Library, Bloomington, Illinois

    1972: Brannon Memorial Library, New Smyrna Beach, Florida

    1974: Faces of East Africa, Illinois Wesleyan University’s Merwin Gallery, Alice Millar Center for the Fine Arts, Bloomington, IL

    2015: Art, Technology and the Natural World, Harn Museum of Art, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida

    Caribbeans and Indes Natives, National Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC

    Decatur, Illinois

    Research Studios Gallery, Florida (solo)

    Springfield, Illinois

    Stetson University, Deland, Florida (solo)
  • Bloomington Art Association, Bloomington, Illinois

    Harn Museum of Art, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida

    McLean Arts Center, Bloomington, Illinois

    McLean County Museum of History, Bloomington, Illinois

    Western Illinois University, Macomb, Illinois

    Withers Public Library, Bloomington, Illinois
  • Lyons, Channy. "Hester Merwin Ayers," Illinois Heritage, March/April 2014, vol. 17, issue 2, p. 32.
  • 1961: Volusia County Artists Association, Stetson University, DeLand, Florida - Greek Fisherman

    1961: New Smyrna Beach Artists Workshop exhibit - conte crayon portrait of a Mayan Indian

    named for her

    Hester Merwin Ayers Gallery at Atlantic Center for the Arts in New Smyrna Beach, Florida

    Hester Merwin Ayers Art Achievement Award at Illinois Wesleyan University, Bloomington, Illinois

    Mrs. Hester Merwin Ayers Scholarship at Illinois Wesleyan University, Bloomington, Illinois
  • correspondence with cousin in Margaret Merwin Patch papers, 1885-1986 in Archives in American Art, Smithsonian Institution Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Department of Anthropology, National Anthropological Archives – “Hester Merwin Carib Indian drawings”
  • Magazine illustrator: "Asia", "Click", "Natural History"

    Set designer, builder
  • Sister of Loring C. Merwin, publisher of The Pantagraph for over three decades.

    Aunt of Davis U. Merwin, publisher of The Pantagraph from 1968 to 1980