Memorabilia Monday: Original Campanile painting


In our vault, we have a section for paintings, plaques and other items that can stand upright. The above item lives there.

Here’s the label on the back of the painting:

Tidden, John Clark

Original painting from which illustration for “Classes” in 1916 Campanile was produced.

Given by Elva Kalb Dumas in memory of E. F. Kalb, Rice ’16. 07-30-1965


John Clark Tidden, born 1889, was an early member of the Rice Institute Art and Architecture faculty. His artwork is sought after and examples show up in the  HETAG: Houston Earlier Texas Art Group newsletters.

Tidden also enjoyed drama. In 1921, he started “The Green Mask Players” with Caroline Levy and Mrs. Charles Robertson. Blanche Higginbotham a science teacher who taught at Houston South End Junior High, later South Jacinto High School managed the group. Their acting troupe was part of the Little Theatre Movement and was the first of its kind in Texas. On a side note, after looking at the Wikipedia entry, no one has added the Houston theatre to the listing of theatres. If you are a Wikipedia editor, that information would be an easy addition using the source below.

It’s a little unclear what happened to Tidden after leaving Rice in 1925. One source has him marrying a Lois Little and refers to him as a commercial artist. If you know more, please let us know in the comments.

Sources used:

Texas High Schools: Classification and State Aid

The Little Theatre Review: A Forthnightly Survey

The Rice Thresher, December 11, 1925


One thought on “Memorabilia Monday: Original Campanile painting

  1. So pleased to stumble on this. Tidden’s art is scarce, so seeing another work is exciting. A little more info: Tidden moved back to his native New York City in 1925, at the time he and his wife divorced. He remarried, to Lois A. Little, in Manhattan on March 3, 1930. He had a successful career as an illustrator for national magazines, and as a portrait painter. He died in 1957, and is buried at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn. His first wife, Agnes Lilienberg Tidden, also an artist, remained in Houston and in 1927 remarried to Julian Muench, former Rice student, who had studied with JC Tidden as an undergraduate. Muench’s portrait of Julia Ideson is on view in the Ideson Building of Houston Public Library Downtown.

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