(1885 - 1975)
Roy C. Nuse was a respected teacher at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from 1925 to 1954. He lived and painted in Bucks County, Pennsylvania for almost 60 years, working in a plein-air, impressionistic style. He had six children that were often the subjects of some of his best paintings, especially in outdoor, rural, farm settings. He painted landscapes (with and without figures), still lifes and portraits primarily in oil, however he was also known to use pastels.
A native of Springfield, Ohio, Roy dropped out of high school, due to his father's illness, to take a job in a factory hand-painting lampshades, where he was recognized for his talent and encouraged to go to art school. He enrolled at the Cincinnati Art Academy in 1905 and remained there until 1912, studying under Vincent Nowottny and Frank Duveneck. In 1915, he obtained a part-time teaching job at the Beechwood School near Philadelphia, which enabled him to attend the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.
Studying at the Academy from 1915-1918, Nuse's talents were recognized and he won all of the major student awards: the Toppan and Thouron Prizes in 1918, and two Cresson Traveling Scholarships, which he used to travel to Europe.
During this time, he moved his growing family to a farm in rural Bucks County. Between 1919 and 1923 he created many large canvasses of figures in the landscape, focusing on farm life, and painting his children and family mostly in outdoor settings.
In 1925, Nuse was offered a teaching position at PAFA, where he taught drawing and painting, life, and portrait classes until 1954. At this time the Nuse family moved to Rushland, Pennsylvania.
Although Roy Nuse lived in Bucks County most of his life, he shied away from being part of the "New Hope School". He knew many of the artists in the group, but preferred to keep to himself and his family. He studied under Daniel Garber at PAFA, and later was his colleague. The two men admired each other's work, and corresponded. When Garber died, he had a Nuse painting given to him by the artist in his collection.
Early in his career, Nuse exhibited works in juried, national competitions, and had work accepted in the Corcoran Gallery of Art and the Art Institute of Chicago. However in the 1930's as the popularity of Modernism grew, his work was rejected and he stopped applying. He became embittered toward the art world that seemed disinterested in representational artists. He would not have anything to do with dealers either, preferring to sell his work himself.
In 1954, Nuse chose to retire from the Academy because of philosophical issues, even though his students begged him not to. He continued to teach privately at his home. Nuse continued to paint and do portrait commissions into his eighties.
When Roy Nuse died, he left a substantial body of work to his six children. Much of his work has not been in the public eye since, and he is largely unrecognized. Through efforts of two of his granddaughters, the Nuse family is starting to exhibit his work, to further his reputation. He is now becoming properly recognized as a member of the Pennsylvania Impressionist group.
In 2002, the James A. Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, Pennsylvania launched a retrospective exhibit, "Roy C. Nuse - Figures and Landscapes."
Nuse's work is in the permanent collections of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, Swarthmore College, Thomas Jefferson University, the James A. Michener Art Museum, and Moravian College.