|Birth Day:||October 13, 1920|
|Death Date:||Mar 15, 2010 (age 89)|
As per our current Database, Elaine Hamilton-O'Neal died on Mar 15, 2010 (age 89).
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She grew up in Maryland and attended the Maryland Institute and the National Polytechnic Institute. She also belonged to the Art Students League, studying with Robert Brackman for two years.
Elaine Hamilton was born on October 13, 1920, to a middle-class family in Paradise, near Catonsville, Maryland. She was the daughter of Robert Bruce and Lee (née Wood) Hamilton. Paradise was home to her maternal grandparents, William and Caroline Wood. Hamilton was raised at Emerald Hill, the family estate in Daniels, along the Patapsco River, just north of Ellicott City.
In 1942, Hamilton met William "Bill" O'Neal. They were married, soon after being introduced at a black-tie dinner at the Baltimore Country Club. O'Neal was not present for most of his wife's exploits, instead supporting her "morally and physically," from afar, she says, while he worked in the aerospace industry in Alabama.
In 1945, Hamilton graduated from Maryland Institute (now MICA) and went on to study for two years with Robert Brackman in New York as a member of the Art Students League.
Stylistically, Hamilton passed through a number of stages. Her work evolved from realistic portraiture in the 1940s to pure abstraction in the 1960s and thereafter. Having won the prize for portrait painting at the Maryland Institute College of Art in 1945, it was natural that she went on to study in New York with Robert Brackman, who is a master of realistic portraitures and other figurative painting.
In 1949, Hamilton continued her education at the National Polytechnic Institute in Mexico City. She studied under the mentorship the muralist Diego Rivera. While there, she received a commission of her own and began working on a 47-foot mural she painted for the privately owned Instituto Allende in San Miguel de Allende.
By the time Hamilton went to Mexico in 1949, she'd been married for seven years. In 1951, Hamilton returned to Baltimore, to present a solo exhibition at the Baltimore Museum of Art. In 1952, she traveled to Italy on a Fulbright Scholarship to study painting at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence, Italy. In 1953, when the Fulbright grant was extended for another year, she chose to remain in Italy for seven more years. After exhibiting in Rome, Milan, and at the Venice Bienniale, she found herself drawn to the Himalayas.
In 1952, Hamilton and her husband, Bill O'Neal, purchased the Old Shades Creek Mill in Mountain Brook, Alabama. However, international exhibits continued to take Hamilton from one city to the next. Hamilton described her relationship with O'Neal in her last interview in the Baltimore Magazine. While Hamilton was on world tours, O'Neal "was working to put the first man on the moon," says Hamilton. He was initially based in Baltimore, employed by the Glenn L. Martin Company (now Lockheed Martin), though he traveled frequently and finally ended up in Birmingham.
Tapié was a generous critic, championing the works of young and upcoming artists. He organized and curated scores of exhibitions of new and modern art in major cities all over the world. In 1952, Tapié was the curator of Jackson Pollock's solo exhibition in Paris, which took place at the Studio Paul Facchetti.
The French lyrical abstractionist or tachiste, Georges Mathieu was another artist of whom Tapié was an early champion. In 1952, Tapié curated Mathieu's exhibit at the Stable Gallery in New York. Mathieu studied literature and philosophy before switching to art at the age of twenty-one. After painting realistic landscapes and portraits, he developed a highly distinctive Abstract Expressionist personal style, which grew out of an emotionally driven, improvised and intuitive act of painting. He was often compared to Pollock and said of the artist, that he considered him to be the "greatest living American painter."
During the 1950s and 1960s, Hamilton exhibited her paintings throughout Italy at the Venice Biennale, Rome, and Milan, as well as the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. She also exhibited at the Pakistan Arts Council in Karachi. Seven years later, she found herself drawn to the Himalayas. In 1956 and again in 1958, Hamilton was an invited exhibitor at the Venice Biennale. During her extensive travels in the 1950s, she remained prominent in the Baltimore contemporary art scene, winning the Popular Prize in the Baltimore Museum of Art's Maryland Artists Exhibition in 1952 and again in 1959.
Around 1960, she took up a personal approach to action painting and it is for her paintings in this later, abstract expressionist manner that she is probably best known. She is sometimes classed as a lyrical abstractionist. In 1968, she won first prize in the Biennale de Menton in France.
Tapié co-founded the International Center of Aesthetic Research in Turin, Italy in 1960, with architect Luigi Moretti. The Center was a facility for the study and exhibition of art, as well as for the publication and dissemination of critical, investigative, or theoretical works on art. The institution lasted until 1987, ending upon the death of Tapié.
In 1960, Hamilton created her first purely oil on canvas abstract painting, entitled Burst Beyond the Image, after an expedition to K2 in Pakistan. This painting was Hamilton's foray into the abstract world of action painting, which dramatically records the gestural action of painting itself. Today, the painting remains in Hamilton's personal collection.
In late 1960, full of inspiration after her most recent Himalayan adventure, upon her return to France, she quickly created many more of these huge "action" canvases in preparation for solo and group exhibitions in Japan. About this time, Hamilton caught the attention of Tapié and became the benefactor of his generosity when he exhibited her paintings at the Fujikawa Gallery in Osaka, Japan. The exhibit took place from April 12–18, 1961 and was presented in collaboration with the Gutai Group, which was an association of avant-garde artists representative of Japan's post-war art world. A second showing curated by Tapié was presented at the International Center of Aesthetic Research in Turin, Italy.
Namgyal was the 11th ruler of the Namgyal dynasty of Sikkim. He was born in Tibet and crowned by the 13th Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso, he was a strong advocate for closer links with India. On his death in 1963, he was succeeded as Chogyal by his son Palden Thondup Namgyal, with whom Hamilton maintained close ties. Legend has it that the Buddhist saint Guru Rinpoche visited Sikkim in the 9th century, introduced Buddhism and foretold the era of the monarchy. It was here, in Sikkim, where Hamilton was introduced to Buddhism. She maintained a close fondness for the country and its people, choosing to return every year for 30 years.
In the early 1960s, Hamilton moved to Paris. In 1971, Hamilton purchased a chateau in France, where she lived and worked for the next 30 years. In the meantime, O'Neal continued to maintain the home at the Old Mill, which meandered alongside the edge of Shades Creek in Mountain Brook. Built in 1926, the Old Mill remains a symbol of the City of Mountain Brook and is depicted in the city's official seal.
In 2002, the couple decided to sell the Old Mill and move to Maryland, where they would live together after so many years. On the day after their 60th wedding anniversary, as the couple prepared to move, Bill went to the doctor to have his ears checked. Upon further examination, he was transferred to the hospital emergency room. He died of heart failure that day.
The 2006, Benezit Dictionary of Artists is emphatic in its praise, stating the following of Hamilton. "A globetrotter who has scaled the heights of the Himalayas, Hamilton makes profoundly serious work. Clearly part of the movement known as 'lyrical gestural abstraction', her painting is full of verve and invention and manifests an extraordinary gift for colour and substance."
Touring her home in 2009, Martha Thomas, writer with the Baltimore Magazine, was able to view Hamilton's many works within the artist's private collection. Rather than hanging on the walls, Hamilton's earlier paintings were found resting safely stacked against them.
In 2009, Hamilton got by with just one guest room, decorated in shades of green: painted twin beds with tasseled silk spreads she had made in France, with olive green Tibetan rugs on the hardwood floors. The walls carefully held relief rubbings from tombs in Pakistan. Her travels are in the past. But evidence of a remarkable life is all around.
Currently, Elaine Hamilton-O'Neal is 100 years, 9 months and 12 days old. Elaine Hamilton-O'Neal will celebrate 101st birthday on a Wednesday 13th of October 2021.
Find out about Elaine Hamilton-O'Neal birthday activities in timeline view here.