Eastern North Carolina Artist Francis Speight

Image from East Carolina University.On November 13, 1989, award-winning artist Francis Speight died at age 93 in his Greenville home.

Speight grew up on a Bertie County plantation before enrolling in college at Wake Forest. While there he took art lessons at Meredith College. After briefly serving in the Army during World War I, Speight studied and taught at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, where he would remain for more than 40 years.

Speight focused on painting rural and suburban landscapes and, though some of his work was inspired by his adopted Pennsylvania, he continued to use the landscapes of his native eastern North Carolina as a muse as well.

In 1961, Speight moved back to North Carolina where he taught as an artist-in-residence at East Carolina until his retirement in 1976.

Speight’s work remains on display in public and private art collections across the country. He was the first North Carolina artist to be honored with an exhibition of his works in the newly opened N.C. Museum of Art in Raleigh. His many accolades include the North Carolina Award and memberships in the National Academy of Design and the American Institute of Arts and Letters.

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