Vivian Lewis, oil on canvas, 30 by 24 inches. Signed lower left. 

A native of Columbus, Ohio, Vivian Lewis began coming to Florida in 1936, but it was not until her husband retired from apple growing in 1949, and the couple moved to Florida, that she began to think about painting. Fort Pierce’s master landscapist, A. E. Backus was her teacher.

In a surprisingly short time, her work was recognized on the editorial page of the Stuart News, November 20, 1952: “You may remember that these editorial columns in years past stressed the big vacancy of artists to paint the beauties of our sea, swamps, and rivers. Now we have an artist at Jensen Beach named Vivian Lewis. I have not met her but I want to call your attention to what she is doing. She is getting right down to bed-rock and painting in oils, our pine forests, river scenes, the surf pounding in at the House of Refuge, fishermen mending their nets. She has a fine sense of light, color, and form, but better still an awareness of the picturesque beauty of this part of Florida. Some of her paintings have been on display a Juan’s Flower Shop in downtown Stuart. I like them. I understand that she is or has been a student of that wonderful Florida artist, Beanie Backus at Fort Pierce, and I think her work is a grand addition to making this a better palace. Right now, her work is at a stage where it can be bought most reasonably; I suggest that you look her oils over. If you see something that appeals to you, buy it and be proud to hang it in your living room, a part of our real Florida.”

Vivian Lewis, palette knife oil on board, 24 by 18 inches. Signed lower left.

Her teacher, Backus, commented on her work, (Fort Pierce News-Tribune, March 29, 1959): “You can say she has one basic professional attribute. She works. She keeps at it; she in not afraid to suffer. She began painting seriously only four years ago and her progress has been remarkable. In recent times she has developed a strong, original style of her own.”


Vivian Lewis, Indian River, oil on board, 16 by 11.75 inches. Signed lower right, titled and dated verso.

Education: with Fort Pierce’s A. E. “Beanie” Backus. Membership: Vero Beach Art Club; Florida Federation of Art; Stuart Art Guild. Exhibits: Fort Pierce, first sidewalk art sale, February 1953; Soroptimist Club, 2nd Annual Outdoor Exhibit, at Community Art Center, February 22, 1954; Edenlawn Plantation, 2nd Annual, November 1954; Vero Beach Art Club, March 1955; Stuart Art Guild, Sidewalk art exhibit, Beckman lot, next to Martin County Hardware, March 5-7, 1955; Florida Federation of Art Annual Convention, Miami Beach, November 1955; Vero Beach Art Club, March 1956, first prize, amateur oil painting; Fort Pierce Woman’s Club, October 20, 1958, Tropical Water Scene; Fort Pierce 7th Annual Art Show, at Backus Studio, March 1959; House of Refuge Museum, April 1959, an oil painting, The Story of Capt. Louie; Elliott Museum, annual spring exhibit, March 1965, award; Marion County Historical Society, at Elliott Museum, July-September 1965, one of twelve Martin County artists; Elliott Museum, one man exhibit, November 1965.






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