Horace Day
Horace Day (1909-1984)

Artist Horace Day at Palisades Reservoir, Idaho
Artist Horace Day at Palisades Reservoir, Idaho

Unlike most of the other artists commissioned by the Bureau of Reclamation, Horace Day was born abroad in China, in 1909, to missionary parents. He was self taught until he came to the United States at age 18 and enrolled in the Art Students League. He studied with Boardman Robinson, Kimon Nicholaides, and Kenneth Hayes Miller. Before the U.S. became involved in World War II, he was the first director of the Herbert Institute of Art in Augusta, Georgia. After the U.S. entered the war, Day prepared maps for the 86th division staff, as well as painted and sketched his impressions of war from the point of view of an enlisted soldier. Although he painted during his tour of duty, he was not involved in the Armed Forces art program until after the war, when he was assigned to the Army historical section. After the war, he was a professor at Mary Baldwin College in Virginia. In addition to the Bureau of Reclamation commission, he painted a mural in the Clinton, Texas U.S. Post Office.

Horace Day called himself a regional painter, interested in depicting the scenery of his adopted South. The style he chose to portray, the landscapes and people of the South, was a brand of Romantic Realism influenced by Claude Lorraine and Jacob van Ruysdael. He primarily worked outside, as a plain air painter, using quick impressionistic brush strokes to record the scene.

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