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Lois Conyers

An Interview with Lois Conyers at her Modernist House in Cincinnati On March 21, 2019 Elizabeth Meyer, Patrick Snadon, and Lavanya Varma visited Lois Conyers to see her house and interview her about it. * Gene Paytes, Lois's longtime friend and hair stylist, told us about Lois's Mid Century Modern house and her interesting collection of art and furnishings. Lois's house is a "modern ranch," built in the 1950s. She and her husband purchased it in the early 1960s. Lois collected modernist furniture and artwork for the house, most of it dating from the 1960s and early 1970s.

Lois is articulate and charming, with a very good memory! She grew up in Savannah, Georgia, where her father built a modern ranch house for his family. Lois's mother served on the national board of the American Episcopal Church, where she advocated for an end to apartheid in South Africa. As part of her civil rights efforts, she traveled to Africa and returned home with African crafts and souvenirs for Lois and her siblings. This gave Lois a lifelong interest in African arts and culture.

Lois taught school in New York City. After she married, she moved to Cincinnati, where she had a career as a travel agent. Among her world travels, she visited and conducted tours to Africa and brought home a significant collection of African art and crafts. These fit well in her modernist house, reminding us that many early modern artists, such as the Cubists, found inspiration in the geometric abstractions of African sculpture and art.

Lois also befriended and patronized African-American artists in the Cincinnati area. They helped to introduce modernism to the region, and several were pioneering black educators in local Cincinnati schools.

In addition to African and Modern art, Lois purchased modernist furniture for her house in the 1960s and early 1970s. This included a small table and a buffet-sideboard by mid-century American sculptor Paul Evans, who produced hand-made art-furniture for the Directional furniture company. Evans's furniture is now highly valued. Lois recently sold her Evans pieces through a New York auction house for many times their original cost. Lois was perhaps Evans's only Cincinnati client, which indicates the avant-garde character of her taste.

Lois Conyers' collections reflect her travels and interests. Her house has the authentic feeling of a beautifully preserved time capsule from the mid-20th-century. We hope you enjoy Lois's own stories about her home and furnishings.


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