(1809- 1884) was an American limner painter and daguerreotype photographer. Born in Amherst, NH, Billings first visited Erie in 1829 and his first studio was in Cleveland, but after his marriage to Jane Wilkins of Erie in 1835, the city became his home base. A self-taught painter, Billings traveled extensively seeking portrait commissions, both in the region and in Washington, D.C., where he painted Dolly Madison, John Quincy Adams and other famous Americans.
(1846-1925) was an artist and educator credited with developing Erie’s art community. A teacher by training and inclination, Lovisa Card-Catlin attended the Art Students League in New York and traveled to Europe to study art. Several of her students became successful illustrators. The Erie Art Museum was founded as The Art Club of Erie by a group of artists led by Mrs. Card-Catlin in 1898. She remained the president of the Art Club until 1922.
(1893-1936) George Ericson, who painted under the name Eugene Iverd, was an American illustrator, teacher, and painter who lived in Erie from 1921 until his untimely death from pneumonia. By 1930 his success as an illustrator, reflected in the popularity of his Saturday Evening Post covers, enabled him to give up his teaching position at Academy High School, where he had taught a generation of Erie artists.
Wilbur Henry Adams
(1906-1958) Erie born industrial designer and architect Wilbur Henry Adams enjoyed a wide-ranging design career that included buildings, interiors, graphics, and product design. Adams followed studies at Academy High School under George Ericson with a stint in the architectural program at Carnegie Tech in Pittsburgh and on-the-job training with architects in Erie and Cleveland, completing his degree in architecture at MIT in 1928. Adams’ product designs ranged from stoves, buses, and gas pumps to the ubiquitous step vans that delivered milk all over America.
(1908-1981) was an American painter and teacher from Erie who studied under George Ericson. Plavcan attended the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and toured Europe on a Cresson Fellowship before returning to Erie and taking over Ericson’s teaching position, where he taught hundreds of Erie artists over four decades. He painted constantly, and his Erie scenes, especially the bayfront, are an invaluable record of the community’s development.
John Silk Deckard
(1938-1994) was a student of Joseph Plavcan. He worked in a variety of media and became well known for his printmaking and sculpture. His highly detailed, beautifully hand-printed drypoints earned him a national reputation. In 1978, Deckard created “Eternal Vigilance”, the bronze sculpture that huddles at the foot of the Erie Art Museum’s marble steps.