Coreen Mary Spellman (1905-1978) was a fine-art teacher as well as a painter, designer, illustrator, lithographer and muralist. Many of her paintings depicted human-made structures and industrial landscapes in a style combining realism, precisionism and abstraction. Often the central subject such as in "Railroad Signal" was the only suggestion of humanity against a backdrop of stark Texas landscape.
Of her painting these isolated subjects she said: "I enjoy taking some rather obscure or unimportant subject or theme and making something fine and important out of it . . . It always gives me great pleasure to discover something which has been passed over as being inadequate material". (Trenton 199)
Spellman was born in Forney, Texas in 1905. At an early age she moved to Dallas, Texas and studied under Vivian Aunspaugh before attending the College of Industrial Arts (Texas Woman's University). She received a Master of Arts degree from Columbia University and a Masters Degree from the University of Iowa, Iowa City in 1942.
In addition, Spellman received a Carnegie Scholarship for study at Harvard University, followed by studies with Kenneth Hayes Miller, Vaclav Vytlacil, and Charles Wheeler Locke at the Art Students League of New York. Spellman was also a student of Eliot O'Hara and William E. Schumacher and attended the Art Institute of Chicago.
From 1925 to 1974, she taught painting, illustration and drawing at her alma mater in Denton, Texas as well as at the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts School. She designed a brick mural in 1955 for Texas State College for Women and also illustrated a number of children's books. In a national competition of 1932, her lithograph "Nude" was selected by John Taylor Arms and Max Weber for inclusion in "Fifty Prints of the Year", a nationwide tour under the sponsorship of the American Institute of Graphic Arts, New York.
Coreen Spellman died in Denton, Texas in 1978 and was buried in Forney, Texas.
She was a member of the Denton Art League; Southern States Art League; Texas Fine Arts Association; Texas Printmakers, and the Texas Watercolor Society.
Exhibitions included Annual Texas Artists Exhibition; Dallas Museum of Fine Arts; Witte Memorial Museum, San Antonio; Texas Centennial Exposition, Dallas; National Exhibition of American Art, Rockefeller Center, New York; Greater Texas and PanAmerican Exposition, Dallas; Southern States Art League Annual Exhibition; Annual Texas Print Exhibition, Dallas; American Society of Etchers, and the First National Print Exhibition, Brooklyn (New York) Museum.