The Anna Catherine Wiley Sketches Collection (MS.1287)
Though never gaining the experience necessary to bring wide recognition and lasting fame, Catherine Wiley's career is now regarded as that of an important early 20th century painter. After completing her studies at the University of Tennessee, Miss Wiley left Knoxville to study at the Art Students League in New York, and spent several summers in New England painting with Robert Reid and other prominent artists. The experience in a thriving art center, and the exposure to the work of artists like Claude Monet and Mary Cassatt, must have been responsible for the new impressionistic quality her style began to reflect. Subsequently returning to her hometown of Knoxville, Miss Wiley joined the University of Tennessee faculty as an art instructor, and continued to paint with an international flavor that lead her to be grouped with a body of artists referred to as American Impressionists.
Prior to her formal training in New York, "Kate" Wiley, as a student at the University of Tennessee, was responsible for rendering many illustrations for the university's yearbook, the Volunteer. This collection is mostly comprised of pieces from the early stages of her career while a student at the University of Tennessee. Most of these appear rough, but a few are endowed with deftly controlled, expressive strokes that capture the vitality of the artist's subjects, and reveal Miss Wiley's considerable talent.