Elizabeth Byrd Mitchell
Mitchell counted herself as a descendant of Charles Calvert, the third Lord Baltimore. As a high schooler in the late 1940s, she began to attend weekend classes at the Maryland Institute (later the Maryland Institute College of Art, MICA). After earning her diploma, she began full-time studies at MICA under Jacques Maroger, an influential teacher and former director of restoration at the Louvre Museum in Paris, France. During a lengthy career in Baltimore, Maroger would inspire a loosely knit group called the Baltimore Realists, artists known for their subject matter and the application of Old Master techniques, as relayed by their teacher. In 1965, Mitchell opened her own art academy called the Mitchell School of Fine Arts. Despite her founder’s role she would continue her own education and earn both a diploma in 1969 and then an M.F.A. in 1972 from the Schuler School of Fine Art that was founded by Ann Didusch Schuler’s father-in-law, Hans Schuler. Mitchell would remain at her eponymous school until she retired as faculty chairwoman in 2002.
Mitchell created the portraits of Eugene Davisson Lyon, 1981, for the school of medicine; and Donald A. Henderson, 2002, for the school of public health. The works fall squarely into the category of traditional portraiture. Both utilize a combination of props such as books and medals, a formal pose and the reinforcement of stature through a dark suit.