Perry Public Library

Stowell-Wiles Art Gallery

The Gallery Story

The Stowell-Wiles Art Gallery was dedicated in 1935 as an addition to the 1914 Carnegie library. The gallery and its original 18 paintings were the gift of Dr. Charles H. Stowell, nephew of artist Lemuel M. Wiles (1826-1905), a Perry native whose Hudson River school oil paintings depict both local scenes and views of Europe and the Western United States. The collection has grown to 44 paintings, most of which have been restored through an ongoing program funded by grants and individual donations.

Lemuel Maynard Wiles (1826-1905):

Artist Lemuel M. Wiles was born in West Perry, a hamlet about one mile from this gallery. He showed an early interest in sketching, but his parents urged him to become a teacher. He was graduated from the New York State Normal School in Albany in 1847. His career as artist and teacher progressed together. Wiles was a student of J.F. Cropsey and William Hart for short periods, but he was largely self-taught. He was head master of a private school (1852-7) in Buffalo, librarian in Utica (1857-63), and for many years was art director at Ingham University in LeRoy, New York. Wiles married Rachel Ramsay, an art student, in 1854; and they had one son, Irving Ramsay Wiles (1861-1948), who became a prominent and sought-after portrait painter. Lemuel Wiles and his artist son conducted a summer art school from 1888 to 1904. The Silver Lake Art School building, erected on the west side of the lake in 1890, has since been destroyed by fire.