Justin McCarthy

Name
Justin McCarthy
born Hazleton, PA 1891-died Tuscon, AZ 1977
Active in
  • Weatherly, Pennsylvania
Nationalities
U.S. States
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI
Artist Biography

Justin McCarthy painted a wide range of popular imagery, with a preference for fashion models, movie stars, sports heroes, and other famous people, mostly found in newspapers and magazines. He began to paint after suffering a nervous breakdown when he failed to complete a law degree at the University of Pennsylvania. He supported himself by growing and selling vegetables and doing odd jobs.

Lynda Roscoe Hartigan Made with Passion: The Hemphill Folk Art Collection in the National Museum of American Art (Washington, D.C. and London: National Museum of American Art with the Smithsonian Institution Press, 1990)

Luce Artist Biography

Justin McCarthy grew up in Hazleton, Pennsylvania, son a of wealthy newspaper editor. He traveled to Europe with his family in 1907, where a visit to the Louvre inspired him to paint. His father died just a year later, however, and the family lost its money. McCarthy attended law school in Pennsylvania, but his failure to pass the bar exams led to a nervous breakdown, and he spent five years in a mental hospital. While he was recovering, his mother encouraged him to draw, and he created images of movie stars, comic strips, and sporting events. He spent the rest of his life living in the family mansion, growing and peddling vegetables and selling his paintings. After his mother died, the house fell into disrepair and McCarthy lived in just two rooms, filling the rest with stacks of unsold paintings. (N. F. Karlins, “Four From Coal Country,” The Clarion, Spring/Summer 1987)

Works by This Artist

1944
oil on canvas board
1961
crayon and pencil on paper
1969
oil on fiberboard
1961
crayon and pencil on paper
ca. 1930-1960
watercolor on paper
ca. 1961-1964
ink, watercolor, and pencil on paper mounted on paperboard
ca. 1930-1970
watercolor on paper
ca. 1960
oil and oil paint stick on fiberboard
ca. 1960
oil on fiberboard
ca. 1961-1964
pen and ink and watercolor on paper mounted on paperboard
20th century
oil on fiberboard