“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Knoxville in Knox County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)

Catherine Wiley



— Knoxville History Project —

Catherine Wiley Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, May 10, 2019
1. Catherine Wiley Marker
Inscription.  Recognized as one of Knoxville’s most influential artists of the early 20th century, Catherine Wiley was born near Knoxville in Coal Creek (later Lake City, now Rocky Top). Her father worked in the coal industry before moving the family to Knoxville in 1882, where Catherine, and her sister and fellow artist, Eleanor McAdoo Wiley (1876-1977) grew up on Fort Sanders’ Laurel Avenue. Her grandfather was the prominent attorney and businessman William Gibbs McAdoo, Sr., and her uncle was U.S. Treasury Secretary William Gibbs McAdoo, Jr. Wiley’s sister Eleanor McAdoo Wiley, was also an active painter in Knoxville.

Catherine Wiley first attended the University of Tennessee and later taught there. Following a move to New York in 1903, she was active with the Art Students League where she studied under American Impressionist Frank DuMond. Wiley returned to Knoxville in 1905 after a brief spell at the New York School of Art where she studied with William Merritt Chase. In 1912, she returned to New York to study with American Impressionist painter Robert Reid.

Along with several other Knoxville artists, including Lloyd Branson and Charles
Marker detail: Catherine Wiley image. Click for full size.
Courtesy McClung Historical Collection
2. Marker detail: Catherine Wiley
Click or scan to see
this page online
Krutch, Wiley joined the Nicholson Art League (1906-1923), which often met close to here at 604 South Gay Street. The group helped organize major art exhibits for several Knoxville cultural expositions held at Chilhowee Park: the Appalachian Expositions of 1910 and 1911, and the National Conservation Exposition of 1913. Wiley served as the Chair of the Art Committee at the 1913 exposition which attracted more than one million visitors in its two-month run.

In 1926, Catherine Wiley suffered a breakdown and was institutionalized in Pennsylvania and rarely painted again. Widely regarded as Tennessee’s greatest Impressionist, she left behind a significant body of work and a lasting artistic legacy. She is buried in Old Gray Cemetery.

This painting is featured in the Knoxville Museum of Art’s permanent exhibition,
Higher Ground: A Century of the Visual Arts in East Tennessee
Special thanks to the Knoxville Museum of Art

Downtown Art Wraps are coordinated by the Knoxville History Project, an educational nonprofit with a mission to research and promote the history and culture of Knoxville. KHP's educational articles and publications feature colorful characters, bizarre tales, interesting buildings, curious traditions, as well as seriously influential local events. Learn more at

Erected by
Catherine Wiley Marker (<i>wide view • left & right perspectives • Conley Building is behind</i>) image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, May 10, 2019
3. Catherine Wiley Marker (wide view • left & right perspectives • Conley Building is behind)
Untitled, (Woman and Child in a Meadow), circa 1913
Oil on canvas
Knoxville History Project.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Arts, Letters, MusicWomen.
Location. 35° 57.901′ N, 83° 55.099′ W. Marker is in Knoxville, Tennessee, in Knox County. Marker is at the intersection of Union Avenue and South Gay Street, on the right when traveling east on Union Avenue. Marker is located along the sidewalk, at the southwest corner of the intersection. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Knoxville TN 37902, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Cowan, McClung and Company Building / Fidelity Building (within shouting distance of this marker); Gay Street and the Civil Rights Movement (within shouting distance of this marker); Gay Street (within shouting distance of this marker); Charles Christopher Krutch (within shouting distance of this marker); Tennessee Ernie Ford (within shouting distance of this marker); Krutch Park (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Market House Bell (about 300 feet away); Site of John H. Crozier Home (about 300 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Knoxville.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Knoxville History Project
Also see . . .  Knoxville History Project. Downtown Arts Wraps take plain traffic
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engineering boxes and turns them into stunning canvasses portraying the artwork of some of the important Knoxville or East Tennessee artists from the past. Art Wraps engage the public to discover the city’s rich artistic heritage. (Submitted on June 5, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 
Credits. This page was last revised on December 16, 2019. It was originally submitted on June 4, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 198 times since then and 20 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on June 5, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.

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May. 22, 2022