Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Tamaqua Historical Society to Open New Museum and Anex Gallery on Saturday

The Tamaqua Historical Society has a big evening planned this Saturday night when it opens the new Tamaqua Museum Annex and Gallery on a regular basis.

It will mark the occasion with a very special free public reception with wine, cheese, hot hordeurves and gourmet desserts from 5 to 9 PM featuring a very special Art Exhibit of Tamaqua’s nationally famous artist, the late John G. Scott (1887–1975). 

Born in Buck Mountain, Pennsylvania, J.G. Scott was the son of a coal miner and inventor, and seemed destined to follow in his father’s blue-collar footsteps. However, he suffered a hunting accident as a teenager which left his left arm disabled and made it difficult for him to perform manual labor. Instead, he began to study art, and attended the Philadelphia Museum School to become a commercial artist. He spent much of his subsequent career working for the Gibson Greeting Card Company, although he freelanced for other card companies as well as designing commercial advertising, calendars, and magazine covers. Some of his best known work was a series of advertisements for the Cream of Wheat Company in the 1920s.  

Although he seldom signed his greeting card artwork, Scott’s distinctive style makes his work unmistakable. His cards typically featured cherubic, rosy-cheeked children or cute little animals and high-quality printing. Some of the more expensive cards featured mechanical or moving parts, while others had extra touches such as feathers, lace, or even a stick of gum added to the card. As a rule, Scott also authored the text of his greeting cards. His greeting card art included every holiday including Valentine’s Day, Easter, St. Patrick’s Day, Thanksgiving, Halloween and Christmas. He designed over 2,500 Valentines cards alone! There is no telling how many people were delighted by receiving a J.G. Scott card through the decades.

As Scott continued his commercial art career, he eventually branched into other work as well. He served locally in the Pennsylvania General Assembly from 1925 to 1934, and from 1939 to 1956 was Superintendent of the Coaldale State General Hospital. During those years he also produced an impressive amount of “serious” art such as portraits and landscapes, though he was never known to sell these paintings. J.G. Scott died in 1975 at his home in Tamaqua, pre-deceased by his beloved wife Nell by only a few short months. But his artwork lives on locally and nationally, and continues to enchant collectors with his delightful images and charming verse. 

This special exhibit at the new Tamaqua Museum Annex and Gallery opening Saturday night, will feature hundreds of examples of Scott’s artwork. More than a dozen large paintings are also being loaned by their private owners for this exhibit. In addition to the free public reception from 5 to 9 PM, visitors will be able to meet more than a dozen descendants of J.G. Scott who are flying in from as far away as California and Nevada for this homecoming of sorts in Tamaqua to honor Scott’s artwork.

The Tamaqua Area Historical Museum next to the Annex and Gallery will also be open for visitors Saturday night from 5 to 9. Anyone having questions can call the Tamaqua Historical Society at 610-597-6722.