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Philadelphia-born painter Inez McCombs knew how to stay busy. She was a self-taught artist While she did study at the Colarossi in Paris, the school had no teachers, only continuous models, so McCombs was a self-taught artist. Additionally, McCombs took a human anatomy class at Bellevue Hospital, in trade for teaching Fine Art classes to her teacher at her studio. While studying in Paris, she would attend a local coffee shop, where she met Ernest Hemingway and James Joyce, and she even dog-sat for American painter, Abraham Rattner.
McCombs may have only drawn portraits in Paris, but after moving to New Hope in 1927, she was inspired by the Bucks County Landscapes. She did an entire series entitled Profiles of a Small Town. In New Hope, she established the first permanent gallery called the New Hope Gallery. This gallery was meant for local artists to have an outlet to sell their art. In 1964, she moved to Lambertville, where she lived out the majority of the rest of her life.
After marrying her husband, James McCombs, in 1931, and having children Michael and Rebecca, they spent some time in the Virgin Islands. Because of family illness, they made several trips to the Virgin Islands for the climate. There, she painted the natives and the town at night. After one of her husband’s illnesses, she quit her work in New York in commercial art and book and magazine illustrations to take care of him. This is when both her and her husband started experimenting with decorations in metal leaf.
Along with her paintings, commercial art, illustrations, and metal leaf, she also spent time pursuing fashion design in Paris. While there, she was the Paris Art Correspondent for the Philadelphia Public Ledger. Among her busy life, she still made to time to garden, which was one of her passions.
Academe Colarossi, Paris, France
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Chester Springs, PA
Bellevue Hospital, Anatomy Class, New York, NY
Teachers and Influences
William Merrit Chase, De Chardin, Nura Petrov
Affiliations and Memberships
The New Hope New Group
Connections to Bucks County
Inez McCombs lived in the New Hope/Lambertville area from 1927 until her death. She was involved in opening up opportunities for local artists by opening the first permanent gallery in New Hope. She also taught classes at her gallery and taught classes for senior citizens of the Delaware River Valley. It was not until she moved to New Hope that she became inspired by the charm of the town to paint landscapes.
Artistic Community and Colleagues in Bucks County
Lloyed (Bill) Ney, Charles Child, Adolph Blondheim, Robert Hogue, Frederick Harer, Nura Petrov, Peggy Lewis
Major Solo Exhibitions
Mafolie Gallery, Lambertville, NJ, 1967
Lambertville House, Lambertville, NJ, 1970
Chippendale Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
Major Group Exhibitions
50th Anniversary Retrospective Art Exhibition, Phillips' Mill, New Hope, PA, 1979
Early Women Artists in Bucks County, Rodman House, Doylestown, PA, 1979
Teaching and Professional Appointments
Converse College, Art and Art History, Spartansburg, SC, 1969
First Presbyterian Church, Art to Senior Citizens of the Delaware Valley, Lambertville, NJ
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