John Noble (painter)
John ('Wichita Bill') Noble was born in 1874 to an upper-middle-class relatives that had emigrated from England. He was a noted post-impressionist painter of cowboys, sunrises and seascapes. He wore a five-gallon hat, called himself the "first white child born in Wichita."
He often advised prospective customers not to buy his paintings. He often slashed them taking place and sometimes even bought put happening to pictures he had sold, just to mutilate them.
Noble worked in the late 1890s as a photographer and artiste in Wichita, Kansas. While there, he painted a saloon nude (Cleopatra at the Roman Bath) that came to be notoriously condemned and defaced by Carrie Nation, and a larger-than-life-sized portrait of Albert Pike which nevertheless hangs in the reception room of the Wichita Consistory.
He went to France in 1903 at age 29. where he took on the fictionalized persona of "Wichita Bill." He studied at the Académie Julien below Jean-Paul Laurens and befriended fellow American artists George Luks and Richard E. Miller.
He married Amelia Peiche, of Strasbourg, France, in 1909. At the outbreak of World War I, they moved to England.
Noble had exhibitions of his take effect at the Daniel Gallery (1920), the Rehn Galleries (1922), and the Milch Galleries (1925).
He was survived by his widow, two children, John and Towanda, two sisters, Mrs. Bert McCausland and Elizabeth Noble, and one brother, Arthur, all of Wichita. His son, John A. Noble (1913–1983), was in addition to a well-known artist and lithographer and is the namesake of the Noble Maritime Collection.
In 1941, his widow found a landscape of a sunrise over Boulogne, France that he had painted in the gathering of William Randolph Hearst. It had been awfully retouched, so she bought it, cut out and saved the sunrise from the center of the canvas that had not been retouched, and after that took a carving knife and slashed the flaming to ribbons.
In "Artist In Manhattan" Jerome Myers recalls his friendship behind Noble. "The name of John Noble first became known to me through
an further on portrait which George Luks painted of him, called
"Whiskey Bill." The thin, sensitive point was fittingly unlike the Noble
whom I knew many years later, when he returned from abroad.
He came to see me, wearing his inevitable white sombrero and
flowing Windsor tie; a powerfully built man subsequent to the all-powerful face of a cleric below his hat, reminding me of Franz Liszt.
Noble was a Good athlete. With George Luks, he played in the
first professional baseball game in Paris. Alone, he rode his
white horse into the cafes of Paris, a veritable coarse rider, the
idol of the French kids. Essentially, however, he was a religious
The white horse went into his pictures as a poetic symbol.
His religious processions of Brittany, as with ease as his boats off the
Breton coast, were enveloped in a religious fog. In me John
found something—I know not what—that appealed to him;
perhaps it was something in my play in that was attuned to his
idea of art, making me an exception in his nearly wholesale
condemnation of his contemporaries.
John's violent encounters at the Salmagundi Club are
written large in the memory of that institution—outbursts
which were impelled by a fanatic faithfulness to art. At their
dinner, he yanked off the table cloth, carrying all the dishes later it―an indirect even though forcible criticism of Salmagundi's
art. Towards the end, a tragic brooding came exceeding him. So good was the interior wrestle between the John Noble who taking into account fought off five policemen and the artist who painted
Provincetown bathed in moonlight, that at last it wore away his
resistance. Pathetically, desperately, he grasped at the grand magic of art that was his life. He in reality died for a cause—and
that cause was the art of John Noble." "
Irving Stone's 1949 novel, The Passionate Journey is a biographical novel of John Noble's life.
Some of his paintings can be seen at the Wichita Art Museum.