News & Events
Fifty Years of Making Art
Works by Ernest F. Tucker, class of 1918
May 16 – June 13, 2018
Cabell Center Gallery
Catlin Gabel School
Exhibit Opening: Wednesday, May 16, 4-8 p.m.
Fifty Years of Making Art celebrates the work of architect and artist Ernest F. Tucker ’18, whose engagement with and contributions to Catlin Gabel School span most of the 20th century.
One of his sons, Tom Tucker ’66, offers this description of the featured artist:
“Our father, Ernie Tucker, was man of many passions and an irrepressible exuberance. He was always drawing and painting but he loved to work with his hands and build things as well , from stone masonry, to brick walls, to a beautiful garden shed with a Chinese Motif as a screen, constructed of carefully fitted 4x4’s. Figure studies in clay, carved limestone, a large bronze casting , silver and copper was all grist for his artistic mill. The pieces you will see in this show reflect his love of the serenity of nature, its structure, and its fleeting moments.”
Ernest F. Tucker (1900-1976) attended Portland Academy, a Catlin Gabel predecessor school. He attended Stanford University and the University of Pennsylvania, receiving his architectural degree in 1925.
In 1927, Tucker opened his own office, and formed a partnership with George R. Wallmann, Jr., in 1935. In 1946 Ellis F. Lawrence joined the firm, which was renamed Lawrence, Tucker & Wallmann. This firm carried out a large volume of major commissions for the State System of Higher Education, continuing until 1960.
Tucker’s output, with his partners, included the Erb Memorial Union and a science building at the University of Oregon in Eugene; the University of Oregon Dental School and the Medical School Hospital in Portland; the original Portland Zoo plan; and many of the buildings on the Portland State University campus.
Tucker had deep ties to the Catlin Gabel community throughout his lifetime. In the early 1930s he designed what came to be known as the Hillside building on the school’s Culpepper campus, a structure that was used by students and teachers for close to forty years until the Lower School moved to the Barnes Road Catlin Gabel campus in the fall of 1969.
When Catlin Gabel moved to its current location in 1957, the site of the former Honey Hollow Farm, the school’s main building was the Dant House, which was originally designed by Tucker for Mrs. Thomas Autzen (Jack Dant became the subsequent owner). This structure, now used for classrooms, offices, and lounges, continues to be the architectural centerpiece of the campus.
Five of Ernest Tucker’s children attended Catlin Gabel and our predecessor schools: Ernest Tucker, Jr. ’55, Mary Tucker Greeley ’56, Susie Tucker Fagereng ’60, Jennie Tucker ’63, and Tom Tucker ’66.