Louise Jordan Hemenway was born in Alabama and grew up in Alexandria, Louisiana. She received her art education, first at the Sophie Newcomb School of Art in New Orleans and later at the Art Students’ League in New York. A skillful jeweler as well as a painter, Hemenway made her first bracelet at age 16. Expanding that skill at the Newcomb School, she continued to exhibit her hand made jewelry with her paintings for the rest of her prolific life in art.
Hemenway’s father moved to Tampa in 1916. Visiting him in Tampa, from her home in Louisiana, she won 1st and 2nd prizes at the Florida State Fair in 1922 and 1926. In New Orleans the Newcomb Art Gallery and the Delgado Museum of Art exhibited her work. Hemenway’s paintings and jewelry were shown at exhibits in Atlanta, Detroit, Philadelphia, Boston, all before she was 40. It’s unclear when she moved permanently to Tampa, but the opening exhibit of the Tampa Art Institute in November 1930 featured paintings and handmade jewelry by Hemenway. The Tampa Times (November 21, 1930) in reviewing her exhibit, called Hemenway, “a former Tampan.” She exhibited with the Tampa Art Institute in 1931 and 1932. In 1938 Hemenway was in Paris studying portrait painting and life drawing at the Academie de la Grande Chaumiere. Returning home before the war in 1941, she exhibited with the Florida Federation of Art in December, listing her home as Tampa. In January 1942 her one man exhibit of paintings and jewelry at the Tampa Art Institute was reviewed by the Tampa Tribune: “the paintings in this exhibition are scenes in and around Tampa, where Mrs. Hemenway is now making her home. They reveal a brilliance of color and certainty of technique appealing to both the casual spectator and the trained critic.”
In the summer of 1945, an exhibit by members of the Dixie Art Colony at the Montgomery (Alabama) Museum of Fine Art, included well known artists from Tampa: Mrs. Hemenway, Mayme Sellers Leonetti, Loulie Anderson and Margot Fox. That Fall the Tampa Tribune in reviewing her one-man at the municipal auditorium noted she was listed in Who’s Who in American Art and nationally known for her paintings. In a traveling exhibit of her work that year at the Newville Public Museum in Green Bay Wisconsin, her watercolors were all Florida scenes.
Hemenway continued to exhibit until 1949. After almost 40 years as a professional artist, it was estimated she had done over 3000 paintings. She died at her birthplace, Alexandria, Alabama in 1970.
Born: May 24, 1893, Birmingham, Alabama. Died: March 31, 1970, Alexandria, Louisiana. Education: Newcomb College School of Art, Tulane University; Art Students League, NYC. With Brackman and Marsh; Grand Central Art School; Fontainebleau with Jeanne Desperjols; Grande Chaumiere, Paris; W. Woodward; Provincetown, Massachusetts with E. A. Webster; Sante Fe, New Mexico with H. Balink; W. Stevens. Membership: Southern States Art League; Alabama Art League; Florida Federation of Art; Tampa Art Institute; Alabama Art League; Alexandria Art League; Boston and New York Arts and Crafts Club; Art Association of New Orleans. Exhibits: Natchitoches College, 1922, prize; South Florida Fair, 1922 and 1926, 1st and 2nd prizes; Newcomb Art Gallery, 1926 and 1929, one-man exhibits; Tampa Art Institute, Municipal Auditorium, November 1930, one-man exhibit of paintings and jewelry, including Florida Pines, Plantation Home, Mountain Lake, The Vista, Mountains at Hot Springs, The Valley and The Meeting House; Tampa Art Institute, annual dinner, June 6, 1931, Pines; Tampa Art Institute, January 1932, North Carolina Mountains; American Association of University Women, Alexandria, Louisiana, November 1938, second one-man exhibit of all Louisiana subjects; Shreveport Museum of Art, 1939, prize; Florida State Fair, Tampa, February 1940, professional, best oil painting; Florida Federation of Art, Tampa Art Institute, Tampa, December 1941, Girl with Plaits and Chrysanthemums; Tampa Art Center, 305 Water St. Tampa, January 1942, one-man exhibit, paintings and handwrought jewelry; Montgomery Museum of Art, 1944, prize; Dixie Art Colony, Montgomery, Alabama, August 1945, Sunflowers; Tampa Art Institute, Municipal Auditorium, October 1945, one-man exhibit of 27 oil paintings including Little Girl With Plaits and Small Town Scene, and hand-wrought jewelry; National League of American Pen Women, Municipal Auditorium, April 1946; Tampa Art Institute, Municipal Auditorium, August 1948, one-man exhibit; Tampa Art Institute, at Municipal Auditorium, October, 1949, Camellias and Still Life.