Stockton Street Bridge, New Hope, PA

Jean Halter

Oil on canvas, 18 x 24 inches

Signed lower right

Original frame

Jean Harris Halter was born in 1916 and spent her youth between Thornburg, Pennsylvania where her father oversaw Harris plumbing, and Camden, South Carolina, where they also had a home. She studied art, among other things, in Converse College. In 1939 she married Robert Halter, a musician with a travelling big band, which he quit soon after marrying. While he was gone for three years with the Signal Corps in the South Pacific, Jean took care of their two litttle daughters, their kennel of Pulis, and began to paint antique chairs, decorating them with fruits and flowers in the old style for Grace Lavery, an antique dealer in New Hope. When her husband returned, they started collecting and selling antiques, and she used her artistic talents retouching antiques, modelling doll heads, embroidering doll clothes and 'antiquing' them. She built up an outstanding collection of antique dolls, which were on display in their restaurant, The River House, which they bought in 1950 in what is now Chez Odette, in New Hope, Pennsylvania. However most of the antique dolls were ruined in a 1955 flood. Robert Halter majored in guns and powder flasks, publishing a widely-read definitive book on them with Ray Riling, and wrote a very humorous weekly column for the "New Hope Gazette". In the restaurant hung paintings of local artists and my father encouraged mother to try her hand at painting. What she painted sold, and soon she was receiving commissions to paint houses, farms, portraits of people's daughters in antique dress, and was given the opportunity to have many shows of her work in that area of Bucks County, Pennsylvania. At one time, she studied sculpture with Selma Burke, who quickly became a family friend. In her later years, after they sold the restaurant, she spent her time making sculptures, paintings and embroideries that resembled early American works. She also was very creative in her gardening, which not many people saw, since she was a fairly private person. Her world revolved around her husband, home, and a few friends and her handiwork. She died at the age of 66, in early 1981, in New Hope, and her husband followed her soon after. She has one remaining daughter, nine grandchildren, sixteen great grandchildren. (From Jean Clink, daughter of the artist)

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