Gallery Artists > Harold Harrington Betts Biography :

Harold Harrington Betts (1881 - 1951)  Artworks >>

Little is currently known about a group of Florida paintings completed by Harold Harrington Betts after 1896, including a large and colorful harbor scene with sailing ships in the Miami area in the Sam and Robbie Vickers Collection, Jacksonville, Florida, and an elegant topographical view of the architecturally significant Villa Flora, St. Augustine, Florida, built in 1896 for $ 15,000.00 in the Moorish Revival style commissioned by a retired Baptist minister named O. A. Weerrolsen. After serving as his winter home for a number of years, the Villa became a popular area hotel in 1906 and later in 1934 it was a restaurant known as the Villa Flora Grill. In 1941 the large and elegant building passed into the stewardship of the Sisters of St. Joseph who continue to use it for administrative purposes, housing and for a chapel for novices to the order. The Villa continues to be a prime example of an exuberant Spanish-Moorish Revival city villa in St. Augustine. The painting of the Villa by Betts approaches the massive stone structure from an interesting and unusual angle that suggests its ancient lineage and its tropical location. The Villa is recorded in the Florida State Archives and the Archives of the Detroit Publishing Company who produced copious photographs of the villa as early as 1902. These two works and other paintings by Betts with a Florida location suggest that Betts likely traveled along the east coast of the State before World War I. Available historical records in Arizona show Betts in the American West after 1908-1909. There Betts painted views of the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and Taos, New Mexico where he became interested in painting the cultures of the Pueblo communities in the area including the Hopi and Zuni people. Born in New York City in 1881 into a family of accomplished artists, Harold Betts exhibited widely including over fifteen exhibitions at the Art Institute of Chicago and several at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Many of Betts’ paintings with titles that suggest and/or contain exact locations are included in the Inventory of the Smithsonian Institution and are available to scholars. Most of Betts’ Pueblo masterworks are included in the Santa Fe Railway Collection. Betts continued to paint in the American West, Chicago and in Florida until sometime in the 1930s when information about the artist disappears from newspapers and the historical record. His exact death date is currently unknown. Source

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