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Vintage Hawaiian Collection

John Kelly Collection

Artists Biographies

John Melville Kelly (1879-1962)

John Kelly

John Kelly was an American painter and printmaker. He was born in Oakland, California in 1879. He studied art at the Mark Hopkins Institute of Art (San Francisco), and at the Partington Art School (San Francisco).

Kelly worked for fourteen years as an illustrator for the San Francisco Examiner before he and his wife, the sculptor Kate Kelly, went to Hawaii in 1923. Their plan was to stay a year and work for an advertising agency creating material to promote tourism. They fell in love with the islands,and it's people, and stayed permanently.

John's ravishing depictions of Polynesians was, in fact, what distinguished him from other artists in Hawaii at the time. The Kellys immediately identified with the native Hawaiians and became their champions in images and in print.

John produced etchings and aquatints, primarily of human figures, though he occasionally did landscapes as well. John Melville Kelly died in Honolulu in 1962.

Maleana - Giclée Art Prints & Posters


John Kelly, Honolulu Star Bulletin Christmas Card from 1950

25 options available

$12.98 - $199.98