John Sharp, Unidentified Photographer, courtesy James A. Michener Art Museum archives
BORN: April 7, 1911, Galesburg, Illinois
DIED: November 17, 1966, Palm Beach, Florida
John Sharp was a painter from the Midwest who, in the 1930s, brought his American Regionalist training, most notably under Grant Wood (of American Gothic fame), to Bucks County. In addition to painting local scenery and architecture, he helped found New Hope's Bucks County Playhouse. His oil paintings, which portray landscapes, still life, or architecture in detailed and precisely designed compositions, reflect both American Regionalist and Precisionist influences in their portrayal of American culture and also their forays into the abstract. Sharp's concern with balancing light and shapes within the composition sometimes led him to treat geometric elements in architecture as well as biomorphic forms (such as trees and vegetables) more abstractly than realistically. Sharp participated in the government's Works Progress Administration, for whom he painted several post office murals in Iowa. His painting of Indian Corn was featured on the cover of Collier's magazine. His work had major exhibitions throughout the Midwest and in New York, as well as in Bucks County, where he lived for nearly twenty years with his longtime companion and artistic collaborator, Paul Crosthwaite.