Born in New York City, Karen Horne was raised in California and Utah. She drew and sculpted from an early age. She was fortunate to grow up in a home where art was both created and collected. She was inspired by her mother, Phyllis F. Horne, a noted landscape painter. Another influence was her paternal great-grandmother, Alice Merrill Horne, “Utah’s First Lady of the Arts,” who established The Utah Art Institute in 1899 (now Utah Division of Arts and Museums). Alice fostered the work of outstanding early Utah Artists, such as Minerva Teichert and J.T.Harwood.
Karen Horne attended Skyline High, and went on to Yale University, graduating with honors and distinction in the art major. After earning an MFA in Painting at Indiana University, she continued her studies in Florence and Rome. In 1985 Karen moved to New York City. She worked at the noted museum, The Frick Collection, and actively painted and exhibited her work. During this period her work was facilitated by several grants to develop paintings of New York’s street life, parks and urban gardens. Missing family and the mountains, she and her husband Michael Rowley returned to Utah in 1996. They opened the studio/gallery HORNE Fine Art in downtown Salt Lake City in 2003.
Over the years, Karen has been fortunate to receive numerous awards for her work. One of her early café paintings received a top prize at the prestigious National Academy of Design Annual in NYC. She was selected by NY Observer critic Mario Naves for the Utah Arts Council/NEA funded Visual Arts Fellowship in 2004. She was voted one of the 100 “Most Honored Artists of Utah” by the 2002 Cultural Olympiad Committee. She was honored to receive the Mayor’s Visual Artist Award for “significant contribution to the cultural life of Salt Lake City.”
Her paintings have been exhibited in galleries in New York City, Long Island Atlanta, Tacoma, San Francisco. They are included in public collections including State of Utah Collection, SL County Collection, Springville Museum, and the Fairview Museum. Her work hangs in numerous private and corporate collections nationally including American Express, Hilton Hotel and Zion’s Bank. Horne has been featured in articles in publications including Fine Art Connoisseur, Southwest Art, Salt Lake Magazine, Utah Stories, Catalyst, 15Bytes, Fibonacci Fine Arts, and Utah Style & Design.
A pastel as well as oil painter, Horne has recently participated in national juried pastel shows, including “Enduring Brilliance” at the National Arts Club in NYC, the IAPS International show in Tacoma, Washington, Pastels USA of the Pastel Society of the West Coast, and National Exhibition of the Degas Society.
Karen Horne’s artwork is noted for its lively color and deft descriptions of people. In New York she depicted the city’s street-life and open spaces. Since returning to Utah, she has continued to explore city life, including classic downtown landmarks of SLC, such as the Capitol Theater, and City County building. An amateur ballroom dancer, Horne has also painted series on ballet dancers, waltzers, and tangoers. She was honored to be commissioned by Ballet West to create artwork for the playbill commemorating the 60thDiamond Anniversary of the Nutcracker.
“Best Impressionist Paintings of Salt Lake City” ARTY AWARD City Weekly
“These (Karen Horne’s) canvases pulse with real enjoyment of brush on canvas” – George Dibble, Salt Lake Tribune
“Her spontaneous, lush brushwork and her strength of color are reminiscent of Bay Area artists: her subjects verge on abstraction and play wonderfully with the eye.”- Dave Gagon, Deseret Morning News
“in the thrall of oil paint, employing it with gusto.” – Mario Naves, Art Critic for the NY Observer