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Thursday, March 20, 2014

FRANK W. SKINNER - A MYSTERY

#1- Hennepin County Library Special Collections (Minnesota)
#2 - WUMC Archives Collection
Used by Permission
 
In the church newspaper of November 22, 1946 was an announcement about the Wesleyan Classes' anniversary.  Significant events were shared including how brothers, Frank W. and Dr. Carl W. Skinner, donated a painting to the class and the church in honor of their late mother. "Mother Lucy Goble Skinner"  had been a long time member of the class.   The painting was donated shortly after the mother's death in 1940.  Frank W. Skinner died in 1942. His brother in the 1960's.
 
Her husband had been a Methodist minister in Iowa and they came to Oklahoma City in 1922.  When she died 14 June 1940, her obituary stated she was going to be buried in Earlsville, Iowa by her husband. She was survived by sons Frank of Beaver Bay, Minn., Carl who taught English at OCU in OKC, and a daughter Loraine Kleas of Mankato, Minn.. A granddaughter, Mrs. Joseph Wright, also lived in OKC. ("Memorial for Mrs. Skinner to Be Sunday", Oklahoman (June 15, 1940)14.
 
In the article it was noted simply that "son Frank, a commercial artist" painted in the North Woods and later built a lodge called "Studio Inn" above Duluth in Iowa.  Carl W. his brother had taught another class at Wesley for some 17 years.
 
An entry in the newsletter would describe the painting only in enough detail to know it was a landscape showing earth, trees and some water.  This was in a tribute written by Mrs. Byron White who had known Lucy Skinner.
 
An image has been unearthed of a painting shown hanging in the Parlor where the class met. It is a painting that in general style might be considered similar to other Skinner work.  No one knows what happened to the painting and in the ensuing decades two major renovations of the Parlor occurred and many decorating changes.  Images of his work appear to be hard to locate.
 
There is a story of a painting damaged from water leakage but no one remains able to identify the validity of the story or identify the image so damaged. Carl W. Skinner died in 1966.
 
Was the Skinner painting lost to water damage?  Was it unknowingly discarded in a face lifting of the space? Did it return to the Skinner family?  No one, apparently knows for certain. 
 
Shown above (#1) is an image of a Frank W. Skinner painting in a museum in Minneapolis, Minnesota, ARTISTS FRANK WING AND AUGUST KAISER LOOK AT PAINTING BY FRANK W. SKINNER AT AMERICAN SWEDISH INSTITUTE and (#2) is the possible image from ca. 1950 at Wesley.  Are they by the same artist? 

A mystery sure to tantalize for many years to come. 

Anyone with information please leave a comment....

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