History of Ortlip Gallery

The Ortlip Gallery is a tribute to the Ortlip family and their contributions to Houghton College.

History of the Ortlip Family

H. Willard Ortlip began art studies in 1902 at The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia under the tutelage of William Merritt Chase, Sargeant Kendall, Hugh Breckenridge and Henry McCarter (his uncle). He was awarded two Cresson scholarships which enabled him to study abroad. In 1910, he married art student Aimee Eschner, and together they set up a studio in Philadelphia’s Independence Square. Willard earned a reputation as a society portrait painter. In addition, he painted for Collier’s magazine, The Literary Digest, and The Christian Herald. In his New York City studio, he furthered free-lance work in advertising.

In 1947, in retirement, Willard and Aimee began teaching at Houghton College, contributing to the building of an art department.

Aimee E. Ortlip, also a student at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, was awarded a Cresson scholarship for study in Europe in 1909. While raising their seven children she assisted her husband and built her own reputation as a still-life and landscape painter. Her work has been exhibited in New York City and Philadelphia and is held in private collections throughout the United States.

Their two daughters, Aileen Ortlip Shea and Marjorie Ortlip Stockin, former art faculty members, initiated the Art Department in the 1930s and helped to establish the art major at Houghton College. Aileen, an early winner of a Pulitzer award for art, received commissions to paint portraits and Marjorie, who taught at the college for forty years, painted landscapes and floral still-lifes.