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Rice Carothers, African American Artist

  • "Composed" is one of the many watercolor landscapes created by Rice Carothers in 1934.


    Rice Carothers (1909-1997) graduated from Howard High School in 1929 and worked as an elevator operator for the Chattanooga Times when his talent was recognized. He painted several high profile public figures, including Adolph Ochs and Judge Will Cummings. This exhibit showcases his watercolors and etchings housed at the Chattanooga Public Library, a gift from Howard High School in 1934. 

    "Composed" (pictured here) was one of the many landscapes created by Rice Carothers in 1934.  Exact location is unknown.  When he painted this, his only knowledge of color, line, balance, tone, or any of the fundamentals of painting came from his own observations and the books  The History of Art.

  • The painting of a dog was created by Rice Carothers in 1934 from a photograph.


    "Don" was painted by Rice Carothers in 1934 from a photograph.  Rice also painted Adolph Ochs from a photograph.  Rice had the talent to bring into the painting the essence of the photographed image, whether it be a dog or a person. 

  • Rice Carothers created this colorful landscape of his homeland in 1934.

    "In the Tennessee Mountains"

    Carothers created his beautiful landscape of his homeland in 1934.   On the back of the painting is the word "idealized."  Rice used his vision of the Tennessee mountains to make this watercolor. He was untrained in professional painting techniques until he studied at the National Academy of Design from 1934 to 1936. One of his paintings Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse is at the National Archives.  

  • Rice Carothers created his watercolor of Maine's coast in 1934.

    "Rocked in the Cradle of the Deep"

    Carothers painted this image of Maine's beautiful coast in 1934.  He did not visit there but used his imagination and artistic vision to create this watercolor.  Rice used various images from the books he read to aid in his painting.  He also used the comments of Professor Baisden at the University of Chattanooga to help him. 

  • One of Rice Carothers watercolors, painted in 1934.


    One of Rice Carothers watercolors, part of the Accession 124 at the Chattanooga Public Library.  This is an original scene created by Carothers so there must have been some snow in Chattanooga in 1934.  Carothers graduated from Howard High School in 1929 and had little artistic training, only a "little drawing and color [training] picked up in school."

  • Rice Carothers painted his mill scene in 1934.

    "The Old Mill Stream"

    Rice Carothers painted this mill scene in 1934.  Exact mill location is unknown, though Chattanooga had several mills, including Lightfoot, Peeler, and Birds Mill.  Carothers wrote that Professor Baisden's comments helped him create his paintings.  Frank Baisden founded the art department at the University of Chattanooga in 1929 and exhibited several of his own watercolors in local, national, and international galleries. 

  • Pen and ink sketch created by Rice Carothers copied from one by artist Alfred Hutty of Charleston.


    Rice Carothers created this pen and ink sketching in 1934. He copied it from one by artist Alfred Hutty.  Hutty’s hand captured the charm of Charleston  and the landscape around the city. In the years that followed, Hutty was praised for his etchings, especially those of Charleston and trees, two of his most beloved subjects. 

  • This watercolor was painted by Rice Carothers in 1934.

    "Southeast of Moccasin Bend"

    This 1934 watercolor by Rice Carothers illustrated the beauty of Chattanooga.  Carothers lived on Central Avenue in 1934 and had a studio as a commercial artist on 422 E. 9th Street, according to the city directory.