Mayna Treanor

Mayna Treanor

Female 1868 - 1959  (90 years)

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  • Name Mayna Treanor 
    Born 17 Sep 1868  Nashville, TN Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Female 
    Died 2 Jan 1959  Sewanee, TN Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I1924  avefamily
    Last Modified 1 Feb 2008 

    Family Frank Avent,   b. 7 Mar 1858, Murfreesboro, TN Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 22 Oct 1941, Nashville, TN Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 83 years) 
    +1. Mary Avent,   b. 26 Jul 1892, Nashville, TN Find all individuals with events at this location
    +2. James Monroe Avent, Sr.,   b. 1895, Murfreesboro, TN Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 18 Jan 1995, Sewanee, TN Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 100 years)
    Last Modified 1 Feb 2008 
    Family ID F483  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Photos
    Avent, Mayna Treanor (1868-1959) - famous southern artist from TN.
    Mayna Treanor Avent
    Her work is exhibited in the Smithsonian Institute's National Portrait Gallery.
    Avent, Mayna Treanor (1868-1959): Avent Cabin
    Avent, Mayna Treanor (1868-1959): Avent Cabin
    Located in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in TN, it was built before 1845 and used by TN artist Mayna Treanor Avent as her studio 1920-40. It is now on the Nat'l Register of Historic Places.
    Avent, Mayna Treanor (1868-1959): portrait of Pres. James K. Polk.
    Avent, Mayna Treanor (1868-1959): portrait of Pres. James K. Polk.
    She was a prominent TN artist and painted this portrait of Pres. James K. Polk early in the 20th century.

  • Notes 
    • from "The South on Paper: Line, Color and Light"
      By James C. Kelly, p. 22:

      Mayna Treanor Avent was the daughter of Thomas O. and Mary Andrews Treanor. She was born Sept. 17. 1868 at Tulip Grove Mansion, across the Lebanon Pike in Nashville from Andrew Jackson's Hermitage. Study at Cincinnati was followed by two years at the Academie Julien in Paris. In 1891 she married Frank Avent, a Murfreesboro attorney who later served as State Railroad Commissioner for many years. He died in 1941.

      Avent taught painting in Nashville for many years and exhibited throughout the US. She painted in Mass. and SC, as well as TN. She produced oil and watercolor paintings, occasional drawings, and wood block prints in the Japanese manner. She was a member of the Nashville Studio Club, the Nashville Artists Guild, and the Centennial club, which in 1951 held a retrospective of her 68 year artistic career. She spent her last 3 years with her son in Sewanee, TN, where she died on Jan. 2, 1959.

      An anecdote of Avent's early life recounts how she was given an armful of magnolias and decided to paint them at once. Finding no unused canvas about, she removed a wooden door panel and painted on it, later explaining "Magnolias just won't wait!" Besides still lifes, her favorite subjects were landscapes, especially TN wheatfields, and negro studies, of which "Uncle Isaac Jackson" is typical, except that she rarely did large, finished drawings.
      "The following artists are listed in Who's Who in American Art for Tennessee in 1937: Mayna Treanor Avent.."

      The log cabin she used as a studio has been preserved by the State of TN and is open to the public. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1994.

      "The Log Cabin" was built before 1845 by Humphrey Owenby on Cherry Branch (Creek.) It is little changed and is well-preserved today: some of its furniture was built in it when the cabin was originally constructed. Steve Owenby married Sam Cook's daughter and Sam gave them 50 acres above the present Elkmont (see map.) Portions of Sam Cook's cabin still exist (#56.) Albert and Ivah Owenby and others were born there; James M. Avent was born there in 1895.

      Mayna Treanor Avent, an important southern artist, lived and painted there from 1919 for over 20 years;

      Avent Cabin
      Built:1845 or earlier

      Location: Great Smoky Mountains National Park, TN, one mile south of Elkmont and west of Jake's Creek Trail

      Located on a quiet mountainside above a mountain stream, Avent Cabin is isolated from all but the most careful hiker and known to only a few, this wonderful example of early Appalachian mountain cabin building is truly a treasure for the ages. It is unique and unusual, yet it is at once a place where one can feel completely comfortable and safe.

      Mayna Treanor Avent (1865 - 1959), the nationally known Tennessee artist whose work is in the collection of the Smithsonian Institute's National Portrait Gallery, used Avent Cabin as her summer studio retreat in the early 20th century. She is one of Tennessee’s most esteemed artists.

      The following history of ownership of Avent Cabin was provided by Julie Brown:

      The cabin was built in 1845 or earlier by Humphrey Ownby. As a wedding present, Sam Cook (who lived nearby) bought the cabin for his daughter, Eva, when she married Steve Ownby. Sam paid $500 for the cabin and 50 acres. In 1918 Frank and Mayna Avent bought the cabin and 18.5 acres for $200. Mayna Treanor Avent (1868 – 1959) began using the cabin as an art studio in 1919 and continued to do so for over 20 years."

      In 1926, Frank and Mayna Avent gave the cabin to their son Jim Avent (who was on the original board of the Appalachian Club). In an effort to improve the cabin for his mother’s use, Jim made several alterations to the building. Windows were cut to see the apple orchard. There was no electricity, although they had permission.

      Ownership of the cabin and its 18.5 acres was transferred to the National Park Service in 1932. A lifetime lease was given to James Avent and his wife Jeannette. He subsequently transferred the lease to his children, Jacqueline and James Avent, Jr.

      In 1993 the National Park Service approved the request of the Tennessee Historical Commission that the Avent Cabin be placed in the National Register of Historic Places for two reasons. It was the summer studio of a noted regional artist, and also because it is a rare surviving mid-nineteenth century log structure representative of the pioneering architecture once prevalent in this mountain region. The Avent Cabin was owned by the family from 1916 to 1932 and leased from 1932 to 1992.

      Avent Cabin is more than just a log structure in a mountainside clearing. It is the surviving and tangible evidence of the deep appreciation for the forest, the stream, the solitude and solace found in quiet places and unique settings. Today it has even more value for its history and the need to preserve our past. An excellent artifact of our past, it is also a present element of our heritage. The door is unlocked (a single stone propped up against the door bottom keeps it shut). The one room is open and refreshing with large windows on two sides, a door on the back wall and a fireplace on the remaining wall. The kitchen built on in the mid 20th century is small but adequate and holds a book of laminated pages containing the history of Avent Cabin.