Elizabeth O'Neill Verner iconic pastel on silk of an African American flower seller. Signed at lower left. Measures 13.75 x 17.75 inches in the frame. Elizabeth O'Neill Verner (December 21, 1883 – April 17, 1979) was an artist, author, lecturer, and preservationist who was one of the leaders of the Charleston Renaissance. She has been called "the best-known African American female artist of South Carolina of the twentieth century." Elizabeth Quale O'Neill was born in Charleston, South Carolina. She first studied art with Alice Ravenel Huger Smith. In 1901, she enrolled at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, where she studied for two years with Thomas Anshutz. On leaving the academy, she taught art in Aiken, SC, for a time. She then returned to Charleston, where she took up her art studies with Ms. Smith as well as with Gabrielle D. Clements and Ellen Day Hale. Inspired by Ms. Clements and Ms. Hale, she was a founding member of the Charleston Etchers Club and helped to found the Southern States Art League. In 1907, she married E. Pettigrew Verner, with whom she had two children. Her work is held by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and museums throughout the American southeast. The SC Arts Commission awards the yearly Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Awards for the Arts in her honor.
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