Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Cincinnati artists owe a lot
to Longworth

By Marilyn Bauer
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Counting down to Saturday's public opening of Cincinnati Art Museum's new Cincinnati Wing.

Nicholas Longworth, an eccentric lawyer who made his money in suburban real estate, supported many of the artists who have objects in the Cincinnati Wing. An enlightened patron, he was the picture of a quirky philanthropist.

Through his generous patronage of Cincinnati artists - especially those considered on the fringe of respectability - the visual arts prospered, and painters and sculptors from across the country relocated to the Queen City to pursue their careers.

Perhaps it was his impoverished childhood that led him to champion the "devil's poor" - the rascals no one else would help.

Longworth had a soft spot for artists, and it is said he never turned away a promising artist in need of funding. That included the rising African-American painter Robert S. Duncanson, who painted the murals in his home, now the Taft Museum of Art.

This home housed the most prestigious art collection in the city, which artists were free to study for inspiration.

When Longworth retired from the law, he indulged in his passion for horticulture and made the growth of grapes on Mount Ida (now Mount Adams) a commercial success. He is also the donor of the site of the Cincinnati Observatory.

Special section about the Cincinnati Wing

City dresses up as Wing shows off
Cincinnati artists owe a lot to Longworth
Special section about the Cincinnati Wing

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