who from 1896 to 1909 served as the White House artist-correspondent for Leslie’s Weekly, the New York Tribune, and the New York World during the administrations of William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt. A painting of his was shown in the legendary 1913 Armory Show, known as the International Exhibition of Modern Art. Ernest Fuhr (1874-1933), an Illustrator and painter, also exhibited in The Armory Show in1913. Ashe studied at the Metropolitan Art School and the Art Students League with John Ward Stimson and Charles Vanderhoof. Ashe began his career as an illustrator for magazines, including Collier’s, Harper’s Magazine, and Scribner’s Magazine.He illustrated the book, In Camp with a Tin Soldier (1892) by John Kendrick Bangs. His illustrations could also be found in Richard Harding Davis’ works, like Her First Appearance (1901), Ransom’s Folly (1902), and The Bar Sinister (1903).
Ashe’s earliest oil paintings were in the impressionist style. During the first decade of the 20th century, his artwork became darker in tone with broader brushstrokes. It has been described as a more “progressive realist approach.” Ashe’s earliest oils were rendered in an impressionist style. During the first decade of the twentieth century, however, he adopted a more progressive realist approach. Thereafter, his paintings assumed a darker tonal range and broader brushstrokes, reminiscent of the work of Robert Henri and the Ashcan school. Until his 1939 retirement to Charleston, Ashe continued to spend the summer months in Westport, traveling with George Wright and others to various locations, including the Maryland shore. He also continued to exhibit in New York. In 1929, a selection of his paintings of the people of the Cumberland Mountains was shown with great success at the Ferargil Galleries, his principal dealer there. A reviewer wrote: “Possibly no finer record of the mountaineers has appeared than Mr. Ashe has created. . . . They are drawn as a skilled photographer might catch them and placed in settings chosen by an eye trained to harmonious color and well-proportioned design.”
Many of Ashe’s paintings depicted the life of the working man in manufacturing and labor. Often the subject matter centered on industry jobs like steel-making, glass blowing, and oil drilling. In 1938, a series of his three paintings were commissioned for the Steidle Building of the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences at Pennsylvania State University, in University Park. These images portrayed the three major areas of business in Pennsylvania: steel, coal, and petroleum. Ashe was also known for his watercolors of the Gibson Girl, the 1900 “fashion ideal” for women. Besides paintings, he also drew posters for World War I. One poster depicted a soldier throwing a grenade. It read, “Lend the way they fight, buy bonds to your utmost.”
During this period, he also taught at the Art Students League and at William Merritt Chase’s New York Art School, where he met and befriended Robert Henri. In 1905, Ashe moved to Westport, Connecticut and, together with George Hand Wright, was a founder of the art colony that developed there. He was also instrumental in the establishment of the Silvermine Guild in Norwalk. Active in several arts organizations, including the New York Watercolor Club and Society of Independent Artists, Ashe was one of the first members of the Society of Illustrators, having joined in the first month of the club’s founding in 1901. Ashe taught illustration at the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh from 1920 until 1939, eventually becoming head of the Department of Painting and Design. During off hours, he applied himself to genre scenes of the local steel industry, creating a number of expressive, nearly hallucinatory images of the workmen and their powerful machinery.