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At the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, J. Wallace Kelly studied sculpture under Charles Grafly. After World War I, Kelly resumed his studies at the Academy, receiving two Cresson Traveling Scholarships. He received his first scholarship in 1919 that enabled him to study with sculptor Emile Antoine Bourdelle in Paris, where he also exhibited at the Salon Autumne in 1921. Kelly worked with fellow Academy student, Raphael Sabatini and architect Ralph Bencker on the N.W. Ayer Building in Philadelphia. He created several sculptures for the Philadelphia Sesquicentennial Exposition in 1926 and five terra cotta reliefs for the United States Government's Central Heating Plant in Washington D.C. During the 1930s, like many artists, he joined the Works Progress Administration as the supervisor of sculpture projects for the state of Pennsylvania. The Fairmount Park Art Association awarded Kelly commissions to create outdoor sculptures along East River Drive in Fairmount Park and the west entrance to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Kelly also taught sculpture at Haverford Friends School, Haverford College, the Chester County Art Center, and the Main Line Center for the Arts.
J. Wallace Kelly. Pennsylvania Traveler, February 1959. James A. Michener Art Museum archives.
Education and Training
Public School of Industrial Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1912-1920
Cresson Traveling Scholarship, study in Paris, France, 1920-1922
Teachers and Influences
Received instruction first from Liberty Tadd at the Public School of Industrial Art in Philadelphia
Studied under Charles Grafly at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia
Studied in Paris with French sculptor Emile Antoine Bourdelle (1861-1929)
Connection to Bucks County
Wallace Kelly moved with his family, from Ardmore, Pennsylvania to Newtown in 1962. They lived on Chancellor Street in Newtown for six to eight years before returning to Ardmore.
Colleagues and Affiliations
Kelly's wife Caroline Kelly was an artist, as well. She taught at the Philadelphia Museum College of Art with him.
Kelly was a member of Phillips' Mill Community Art Association and served as a judge at the Annual Exhibition of 1970.
J. Wallace Kelly (1894-1976), Moses. Photograph by Brian Peterson. James A. Michener Art Museum archives.
Major Solo Exhibitions
Woodmere Art Gallery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1969
Major Group Exhibitions
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, New York, 1934, 1936
World's Fair, New York, New York, 1939
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1943, 1945, 1951, 1952
Phillips' Mill Community Art Association, New Hope, Pennsylvania, 1966
Yardley Art Show, Yardley, Pennsylvania, 1970
Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Samuel S. Fleisher Art Memorial, Philadelphia
Four sculptures for Fairmount Park Art Association, 1933, 1959
Teaching and Professional Appointments
Philadelphia Museum College of Art
Haverford Friends School
Chester County Art Center
Main Line Center for the Arts
Cresson Traveling Fellowship, 1916, 1919
Ellen Phillips Samuel Memorial, 1940
Philadelphia Arts Festival Award for the sculpture The Hand and the Eye of God, 1959
Yardley Art Show, 1970
The Hand and Eye of God
The Hand and Eye of God
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