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Elizabeth O’Neill Verner– One of Charleston’s Beloved Artists
38 Tradd St. is an unassuming home that is almost easy to overlook. But it is from this home that the Charleston Renaissance largely sprang forth. This was the home and studio of artist and Charleston native, Elizabeth O’Neill Verner.
Verner was born in Charleston in 1883. She studied for a time under Alice Ravenel Huger Smith, another luminary of the Charleston Renaissance. She would eventually study fine art in Pennsylvania and return to Charleston.
Always practicing her art, it wasn’t until after her husband died in 1925 that Verner began her professional art career in order to support herself and her children. She would publish books of her drawings of scenes of Charleston for tourists to buy. She also created many commissioned works, especially drawings of historic buildings to aid in preservation efforts.
One of Verner’s most notable popular contributions was her work as the illustrator of the novel “Porgy,” written by fellow Charlestonian (and neighbor) DuBose Heyward.
Verner’s work is wide-ranging and its quality is evident by the fact that it is held in collect by the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, among others.
The artwork of Elizabeth O’Neill Verner was a highlight of the Charleston Renaissance and her contribution to American art cannot be understated. Verner is responsible for bringing Charleston into the museums and homes of people across America and the world. You can view many of her works and learn more about her at the Verner Gallery on Atlantic St.