Carl Sublett
  • Carl Sublett
  • 1919-2008
  • American


An elected member of the National Academy of Design, Carl Sublett devoted his life’s work to the pursuit of making art in nature. Often painting alongside his fellow Knoxville Seven artist, Walter “Holly” Stevens, Sublett depicted abstracted scenes from his beloved eastern Tennessee landscape and that of coastal Maine. Sublett was an active member of the Knoxville Seven, a group of artists who introduced modern art to the region.

During World War II, Sublett served in the U.S. Army in Italy where he made field sketches that appeared in military publications. When hostilities ceased, Sublett enrolled in art classes at the American Academy in Florence where he excelled and won valued criticism. Returning to the States, he worked as a newspaper artist and at an engraving firm. By 1954, Sublett rose to the position of Art Director for an advertising firm in Knoxville, Tennessee. However, the drive to create for himself was strong. To fulfill this, he enrolled in art classes taught at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville with C. Kermit Ewing. Ewing recognized his talent and hired him as an assistant and in 1976 Sublett became a full professor at the university. He exhibited widely throughout his life.

In 1994, the artist received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Knoxville Arts Council recognizing his early influence and devotion to his craft.

Photo credit: Knoxville News Sentinel Archive

How the “Knoxville Seven” Brought Modern Art to Knoxville—and Help Define Knoxville Museum of Art’s Mission Today
Knoxville Mercury News, Matthew Everett, Feb. 24, 2016

Selected Exhibitions:
Carl Sublett: A Centennial Celebration, Knoxville Museum of Art, 2019
The Unseen Carl Sublett, Knoxville Museum of Art, 1991
American Federation of Arts, 1965

Selected Collections:
Knoxville Museum of Art, Tennessee
National Academy of Design, New York
The Tennessee State Museum, Nashville
Cheekwood Estate and Gardens, Nashville