Avison, George

Avison, George (1885-1970)

George Avison was born in Norwalk, Connecticut on May 6, 1885. He attended public schools and wrote adventure stories and drew illustrations. At the requests of his teachers, he drew murals on blackboards with colored chalk. After school he sat at trolley stops and sketched passengers onboard before the trolleys left. After graduating Avison attended the New York School of Art and studied under Robert Henri, Kenneth Hayes Miller, Edward Enfield, and others. Subsequently, he received instruction from Edward Ashe and Frederick C. Yohn. He was a charter member of the Silvermine Guild of Artists in New Canaan and several other local clubs, leagues, and centers. Avison worked for the Public Works of Art Project, a predecessor to the WPA Federal Arts Project. He painted murals in Norwalk with Alexander Rummler, and he also painted murals in Fairfield and New Canaan, Connecticut. In 1939 the Edison Electric Company commissioned him to create a design for its exhibit at the New York World’s Fair. During his career Avison moved from illustration to landscapes, seascapes and marine paintings, and finally to portraiture. His daughter wrote that his “first passion . . . was for illustration.” Avison completed ten easel paintings for the WPA and worked on murals, one for the Founding of Fairfield; for sports-basketball, football, and hockey; Packet Day at Five Mile River; Man Power Behind the Student; and Mark Twain. His murals are found at Roger Ludlow High School in Fairfield, Norwalk High School, and Center School in Norwalk. Avison died in Norwalk in May 1970 at the age of 85.

Sources: WPA Artist’s Work Card; Obituary, The Norwalk Hour, June 1, 1970;AskART; Who Was Who in American Art (1985), p. 23; Fielding’s Dictionary of American Painters, p. 33.

George Avison

Works of Art Listed in CT Archives’ database from George Avison:

#1 The Founding of Fairfield: oil on canvas
#2 Washington at Burr Mansion: oil on canvas
#3 Dwight Academy: oil on canvas
#4 The Great Swamp Fight: oil on canvas
#5 Israel Bissell: oil on canvas
Legend Board for Mural Panels: pen & ink
Basketball: oil
Football: oil
Hockey: oil
Man Power Behind the Student: oil
Wayside: watercolor
Aftermath of the Hurricane: pencil
Bridge destroyed- Cornwall: watercolor
Packet Day at Five Mile River: oil
Adventure in the Cemetery: oil on canvas
Lost in the Caverns: oil on canvas
The Glorious Whitewashers: oil on canvas
The Duke vs. The King: oil on canvas
Indian Summer: watercolor
Avison, George