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Licking Valley

Jeanette M. Smith, MD
JAMA. 2008;299(8):877. doi:10.1001/jama.299.8.877.
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“We need the tonic of wildness. . . . We can never have enough of Nature” (Walden; or, Life in the Woods, Henry David Thoreau, 1854). These sentiments aptly describe the lifelong muse of kindred spirit Robert H. Whitmore (1890-1979), whose sympathy with nature emanates from his landscape paintings.

Ohio's native son was born in Dayton, a hub of energy and progress around the turn of the century. The Wright brothers and Charles F. Kettering, innovators in flight and automobile engineering, respectively, were key players in the creative ferment occurring during this time. One of Whitmore's teachers at Dayton's Steele High School was the sister of Wilbur and Orville, Katharine Wright, who was said to have recognized Whitmore's aptitude for art. Whitmore's home environment was also conducive to aesthetic activities—his father Thomas enjoyed drawing while mother Florence preferred painting.

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Robert H. Whitmore (1890-1979), Licking Valley, 1919, American. Oil on canvas. 40.6 × 50.8 cm. Courtesy of The Dayton Art Institute (http://www.daytonartinstitute.org/), Dayton, Ohio; gift of the schoolchildren of Dayton, 1922.5.

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