Media File
Orville Houghton Peets
Date: American painter, printmaker, 1884–1968
Biography: Orville Houghton Peets, son of Edward Orville and Mary Houghton Peets, was born in Cleveland, Ohio on August 13, 1884. While still in high school he began producing political cartoons for the Cleveland Leader. A cartoon dealing with the Boer War was reprinted in the London Daily Mail. An uncle living in London saw the cartoon and subsequently offered to pay for his training abroad as an artist. In 1903 Peets departed for Paris where he studied at the Académie Julien and the École des Beaux-Arts under artists William-Adolphe Bouguereau, Leon Bonnat and Marcel Andre Baschet. After three years living abroad, Peets returned to the United States. He began taking short visits to Paris in early 1910 and late 1912, eventually settling in Paris to paint and teach etching. Among his students were four former pupils of Howard Pyle as well as a member of one of Wilmington’s earliest families, Ethel Poyntell Canby, whom he would later marry. A portrait study in oil of Ethel Poyntell Canby Peets was given an honorable mention in the Paris Salon and bought by the French Government for the Luxembourg collection. Peets returned to the United States in the fall of 1914, during which time he and Ethel Poyntell were married. Peets returned to Europe, while Ethel waited out war years at the art colony on Woodstock , New York. Shortly after Peets rejoined her, he received a commission from the Hispanic Society of America that took him abroad to Portugal and Spain for another three years. Once completed, Peets settled in Indian River Hundred, Delaware, between Millsboro and Rehoboth, where he exhibited at the Wilmington Society of the Fine Arts and the Rehoboth Art League. Peets was awarded a number of portrait commissions in the 1940s, for individual patrons as well as for the State of Delaware Portrait Commission. Most notable is that of Henry Ridgely, a president and founder of the Farmers Bank of Delaware. Peets taught for five years at the Wilmington Academy of Art. Peets died 1968 in Lewis, Delaware.