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Franc Root McCreery (1888-1957), Tourmaline (Portrait of Ethel M.C. Davis), 1935; pastel on paper, sight: 53 1/2 x 39 3/8 inches; Gift of Russell Ram, 2017

Franc Root McCreery (1888-1957), Tourmaline (Portrait of Ethel M.C. Davis), 1935; pastel on paper, sight: 53 1/2 x 39 3/8 inches; Gift of Russell Ram, 2017

Franc Root McCreery, who was born in Salamanca, New York in 1908, was a painter and illustrator who specialized in portraits. She was an instructor at the Buffalo School of Fine Arts (Albright Art School) and at the University of Buffalo in 1921. Her role as a costume designer for Buffalo Players, Inc. may account for her ability to render textures of clothing, accessories, carpets, and other objects. McCreery also illustrated three children’s books by author Jane Abbott. She had studied at the Students School of Art in Denver, Colorado, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Buffalo School of Fine Arts and was a pupil of John H. Vanderpoel, Henry Read, and Louis Wilson. She was a member of the Buffalo Society of Artists, League of American Penwomen, and Guild of Allied Artists.

Ethel M. C. Davis (1898-1968) is the sophisticated woman depicted in this portrait. She studied with Charles Burchfield, painted landscapes, and spent most of her career as a teacher at Lafayette High School, then Kensington High School, and later at her home on Mill Street in Williamsville. She traveled to China and other sites during the summer. —NW