Jerome Myers

Self Portraits, Jerome Myers, Thomas H. and Marion J. Hawks Fund, 2000.29a

Jerome Myers (1867-1940) was personally familiar with poverty. One of five children in an essentially fatherless household, he dropped out of school at twelve years of age to help support his family by working in a fruit market and later as a sign painter. The family moved often in search of steady employment. Finally, in New York City, Myers designed advertising for a brother’s business and worked briefly as a scene designer.

In 1886 he began to study art seriously at the Cooper Union and the Art Students League, and managed two trips to Paris to see the latest works there.

Myers was among the country’s most progressive artists when he painted Sunday Morning in 1907. He helped organize—and participated in—the Armory Show in 1913, but was disappointed that the introduction of abstract art to America seemed to diminish American realist painting. After 1913 Myers refrained from participation in the New York art world, but continued to paint the Lower East Side in his realistic style until his death in 1940.