Ora Coltman

(Shelby, Ohio, 1858 - 1940, Cleveland, Ohio)

North America, American

Perhaps best known for his later landscape paintings, Ora Coltman was referred to as the “dean of Cleveland’s art colony.” This honorific was bestowed on him due to his charter membership in the Cleveland Society of Artists and the visibility of the murals he executed during the Great Depression. Colleagues described him as “a wonderful colorist with power of analysis beyond most painters.” Coltman moved to Cleveland to study law, but abandoned the subject to train at New York’s Art Students League. Like many late-nineteenth-century American artists, Coltman then commenced a period of extended study in Europe, training in Paris at the Académie Julien and at the Magadey Schule in Munich.

Despite the reputation he earned in his native Ohio, Coltman’s artistic interests were not provincial. He continued to make Europe a routine of his study and travels, and beginning in the 1920s, he and his wife Ida spent summers in Provincetown, Massachusetts, an established art colony and summer home to many prominent artists at the time.

Critics considered the paintings Coltman executed in Provincetown among his best, helping him perfect his sense of color and light. During his summers painting in Cape Cod, Coltman specialized in scenes of the area’s domestic architecture, sunny streets lined with New England elms, as in 'Provincetown.' Coltman himself described the effects that Provincetown had on him: “After a year at Provincetown, I began to lose my notions about painting and to see that styles in painting change with different periods. I rather like the modern work now, whereas in my youth I would have rebelled at it in all its aspects.”

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