Harlan Hubbard

Hanover College will honor the life and work of Ohio River Valley treasure Harlan Hubbard during a special event Saturday, Oct. 19, in the Duggan Library.

“Harlan Hubbard, Life as Art,” a ceremony to officially open Hanover’s exhibition of Hubbard’s artwork, will begin at 2 p.m. The event is open to the public.

A celebrated artist and writer, Hubbard was revered in the region for his practice of sustainable living. Along with his wife, Anna, the couple led a modest existence on the banks of the Ohio River for more than 40 years. The Hubbards, rejecting the use of modern conveniences, lived off the land with no electricity or running water in their shantyboat or rustic cabin constructed at Payne Hollow, Ky.

Born Jan. 4, 1900, Hubbard spent most of his life creating art, including paintings, watercolors and woodcuts. He enrolled in a life-drawing class at the Cincinnati Art Academy in 1919 and studied art at the National Academy of Design in New York from 1919-21 and in 1925.

Hubbard’s works are characterized by rustic images and handmade frames often constructed from driftwood and other materials found on the river bank. He is credited for creating more than 1,000 pieces. The College’s collection of his works, curated by 2019 Hanover graduate Hanna Miller, includes 31 pieces. All will be on permanent display in the Duggan Library.

“Harlan Hubbard, Life as Art” will feature comments by Robert Rosenthal and Jessica Whitehead. Rosenthal is professor emeritus of philosophy and longtime Hubbard scholar. Whitehead, a 2011 Hanover graduate, has done extensive thesis work on the artist.

Hubbard was presented with the Kentucky Arts Council’s Artist Award for Lifetime Achievement from Gov. Martha Layne Collins in December 1986. He died Jan. 16, 1988 after a five-year battle with cancer.

Photo courtesy of Judy Moffett