Nora's Notables: Harry Hinson's Books & James Steinmeyer Renderings in the Library

On the Library’s walls above the public computers, there are thirteen framed watercolors of interiors which have been there for some time.  Recently, Billy Kwan (Director of the Library) and I were able to do some research into where these watercolors came from and who painted them.  

The watercolors were painted by James Steinmeyer, an artist who has devoted much of his career to painting interiors.  Each are signed and dated between the years 1985-1987.  Steinmeyer’s work has been featured in numerous magazines and private exhibitions in the U.S. and abroad. His list of clients includes former President and Mrs. Ronald Reagan, for whom he painted the Red Room in the White House for their Christmas card.  His botanical watercolors were exhibited at the National Academy of Design in New York City, and his illustrations appear in several books including Charlotte Moss’s A Passion for Detail, David Easton’s Timeless elegance: the houses of David Easton, and Antoine Cheneviere’s Russian Furniture: The Golden Age.  

The watercolors were donated by Harry Hinson (1938-2014), an interior designer who founded Hinson & Company, a leading wallpaper, textile and lighting company. Hinson donated the watercolors to hang specifically in the Library for students to see. In addition to the artwork, Hinson’s husband, Clyde Vernon (Tripp) March has donated many books from Hinson’s personal library to the NYSID Library. 

While Steinmeyer’s watercolors will continue to grace the Library’s walls and its space, they also serve an important purpose.  With computer-aided design having all but replaced the practice of hand-rendering, it is important to show students the art and techniques of representing spaces.  Although hand-rendering is a form of the applied arts, there is still much to learn and be inspired by when looking at these rooms imbued with feeling, personal expression, and all of the humanizing details which can only be communicated through an artist’s hand.

We are grateful to Harry Hinson and Tripp March for their past and continuing generosity towards the school.  Be sure to visit the Library next time you are at NYSID and spend some time looking at these works of art!

Nora’s Notables featuring the writing of our archivist, Nora Reilly as she continues her work to explore and document the trove of materials that makes up NYSID’s rich history.

Phyllis Greer