Mount Vernon’s Second Best Art Teacher

Born in the 19th-century, Mt. Vernon, Illinois native Ivan Summers established himself as one of the accomplished practitioners of American Impressionism with his colorful landscapes.  He studied at the St. Louis School and Museum of Fine Arts where he was an award winning artist.  

His painting style is dynamic, spontaneous, yet disciplined with an eye towards recognizable form.  His use of color is lively and complex.  Throughout his compositions he conveys a keen sense of energy and surface vitality. 

Ivan F. Summers, Mt. Vernon, Illinois (1889 -1964), Lake Winter, Catskills, 1925, oil, Gift of Patricia and Edmund Morrissey, 2013.92

Early in his career, Summers earned commissions painting World War I officers’ portraits.  He also worked as an artist for Works Progress Administration during the Great Depression.  

A charismatic art teacher Summers worked throughout the country. He taught art at the Kansas City Art Institute; South Carolina Art School Charleston, in Arizona schools; and eventually became the Director of the prestigious Art Student League’s Summer School in Woodstock, New York. 

Summers painted landscapes across the country, traveling to such historically famous art colonies as Cape Cod and Cape Ann, Maine; Rockport and Gloucester, Massachusetts; and Taos, New Mexico and El Paso, Texas; and the great California coast.  

Ivan Summers is perhaps Mount Vernon’s second best artist-teacher, right after Marejon Sue Shrode.