Maude Parmley Craig

Maiden Name: 
Parmley
Variant Names: 
Maude Parmley
Maude Parmley Sumner
Maude Parmley Choate
Spouse: 
Mr. Sumner; Mr. Choate; Mr. Craig
Birth Date: 
1881
Birth Place: 
Pope County, IL
Death Date: 
1953
Death Place: 
Residences/Studios: 
Carbondale, IL
Active In: 
Illinois
Medium: 
Painting
Subject: 
Everyday life
Genre
Style: 
Naïve
Exhibitions: 
1976 Naive Art in Illinois 1830-1940, Bicentennial Exhibit Series, Illinois State Museum, Springfield, IL.
Other Occupations: 
Worked for WPA/ FAP
Biography: 
Maude Parmley Craig (1881-1953)
From the Illinois Women Artists Project Archives

No one quite knows why Maude Parmley Craig took to painting in her fifties, but she did. She joined the art classes organized in 1935 by the Federal Art Project at Illinois Normal University in Carbondale (today's Southern Illinois University). It's likely that this was the only formal art training Maude ever had, yet she was able to capture charming hometown scenes at a time when the community—the country—needed reminders of happier days. Maude is an example of the positive effect the WPA's art classes had on many new artists during the Depression.

Her naïve paintings attracted the attention of a researcher in the 1980s who discovered little more about her except that she made colorful quilts and woven rugs, had been married three times, and had moved to Creal Springs, not far from Carbondale, in the mid-1930s. Southern Illinois University considers her artwork treasures and maintains in their collection eight paintings and three quilt tops.

In 1976, her paintings were displayed in an exhibition titled "Naïve Art in Illinois, 1830-1976" at the Illinois State Museum in Springfield. The exhibit catalog suggests that Maude "might easily be considered a mid-western Grandma Moses...with an eye for color."