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Anna Keener

circa 1965


Housed in a custom frame, outer dimensions measure 25 x 21 x 1 ½ inches. Image size is 20 ¼ x 16 x ½ inches. Provenance: Estate of Anna E. Keener The Ernest and Betty Lou Pompeo Trust (by descent from the above) Illustrated: "A Zest for Life and Paint: The Art of Anna E. Keener," Birger Sandzen Memorial Gallery, Lindsborg, Kansas, 2016, p. 47 (plate 43). About the artist: It was her unyielding dedication to art education and a natural talent and enthusiasm for art making that shaped Anna Keener’s extraordinary art career. Anna Elizabeth Keener, born October 16, 1895 in Flagler, Colorado, moved to Texas with her family when she was seven. She graduated from Dalhart High School in 1913 and moved to Lindsborg, Kansas to attend Bethany College, studying art, music, and education. There she met the famed Swedish-American artist, Birger Sandzén, who from 1913 until his death in 1954 was Keener’s mentor and one of her greatest influences. Sandzén was so quickly impressed with her skill that he invited her to exhibit at the 1914 Midwest Art Exhibition at Bethany College. She graduated with a BFA in 1915, and went on to study at the Art Institute of Chicago, Kansas City Art Institute, Detroit School of Design, Colorado State Teachers College (now UNC), California College of Arts and Crafts, and in Mexico. She joined the US Navy in 1918 to do her part during World War One. She was assigned to coast inspection duties at the Ford Motor Company in Detroit and was discharged in 1919. During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, art education was an acceptable career path for a young woman, and Keener’s ambition and tenacity for art education led her to teach in various locations throughout Kansas, Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico. In 1920, Keener was offered her first teaching position for the public school system in Globe, Arizona (1920-21). In 1923 she wrote a textbook, Spontaneity in Design, which outlined her method of teaching creative drawing whereby students would use their “scribbles” as the basis for original design. This technique was quickly adopted in schools throughout the region. In 1923 she married Louis R. Wilton, an executive with the Boy Scouts of America. Because of his work, the couple traveled frequently, and Keener developed a love for auto travel. They moved to Texas in 1925 where she accepted a teaching position at Sul Ross State Teachers College in Alpine. She gave birth to twins in 1926 and for the following three years she focused on her family, pausing her art career to raise her children. She once again began submitting artwork for exhibition in 1929. In 1934 the family permanently relocated to New Mexico where Keener would spend the rest of her life. She divorced Wilton in 1938. Keener’s work was exhibited widely, she continued to teach in various schools throughout New Mexico, and she was actively involved in numerous art organizations. She headed the art department at Eastern New Mexico University from 1942 through 1953 and earned an MFA in 1951 from the University of New Mexico. Anne Keener retired from teaching in 1953 and moved to Santa Fe where she lived, painted, and exhibited until her death in 1982. Expedited and International Shipping is available; please contact us for an estimate.


  • Movement & Style
  • Condition
  • Dimensions

    H 25 in. x W 21 in. x D 1.5 in.

    H 63.5 cm x W 53.34 cm x D 3.81 cm

  • Gallery location
    Denver, CO
  • Reference number
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