A mural depicting men, women, and children harvesting and packing organges.
Edith Fairfax Davenport, The Orange Industry in Florida, 1936, 120 x 144 in., Greater Orlando Chamber of Commerce, Orlando, Florida.
 Davenport, Edith Fairfax
 Alternate Names
 Davenport, E. F.
 Birth Date
 Jul 13, 1880

 Death Date 
 November 1, 1957


 Life Roles 
 Founder of Orlando Art Association (1924)
 President of Florida Federation of Art (c. 1952 - unknown)

 Edith Fairfax Davenport grew up in Kansas City, Missouri, where her father served as the mayor. Her artistic training began at Kansas City High School, where she was known for her thoroughness and attention to anatomical detail. In 1905, she was admitted into the Ecole des Beaux Arts; the first American woman to pass the examinations. During in years in France, she continued her studies and recreated Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 1, the internationally famous painting by her second cousin, James McNeill Whistler.

Returning to the United States, Davenport exhibited in New York City, Kansas City, and New Orleans, before moving to Zellwood, Florida. Here, she was among the founders of the Orlando Art Association in 1924, where she exhibited thirty of her paintings during the association's first show.

From 1933 to 1937, Davenport was hired by the Federal and later Florida Governments during the Works Progress Administration (WPA) under FDR's New Deal. She painted a series of murals in Florida, including four completed for the Orlando Chamber of Commerce, depicting the various industries in the region: Cattle, Oranges, Turpentine, and Lumber.

In her later years, Davenport focused on arts education, providing a series of lectures on art history to the Gainesville Association of Fine Arts and providing free art lessons to children at Mount Dora High School. She passed away in November 1957 in Winter Park, Florida and is buried in her hometown of Kansas City, Missouri.

 Related Person/Corporate Body
 James McNeill Whistler — second cousin
 Anna McNeill Whistler — great-great-aunt

 Name Source
 Library of Congress Name Authority Files (LCNAF)


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