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David Hicks Overmyer

Artist. Born: April 5, 1889, Topeka, Kansas. Married: Grace Woodward, May 21, 1921. Died: March 27, 1973, Topeka, Kansas.

David Hicks Overmyer was born to David and Alice (Hicks) Overmyer in Topeka on April 5, 1889. Overmyer grew up in Topeka an began his work as an artist studying with Topekans Albert Reid and George Stone.

Ovrmyer attended the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts and studied with the Art Students' League in New York. In 1934, as part of the Works Progress Administration, Overmyer painted murals in the great room at Kansas State University. He made precision drawings and illustrations for use in pilot handbooks for Boeing Aircraft in Seattle, Washington, and Douglas Aircraft in Los Angeles, California, during World War II.

The artist used bright color combinations with simplified and geometrical imagery in a style reminiscent of the Art Deco period. He earned a reputation for his portraits, which featured many prominent Kansans. Many of his murals and portraits were placed on public display in Kansas including Bourbon County Courthouse, Kansas State Capitol, Kansas State Fairgrounds, Kansas State University, Norton County Courthouse, Pittsburg State University, Topeka High School, and the University of Kansas Medical Center. Overmyer was also a commercial artist who worked for firms in Kansas City, Wichita, and Tulsa, Oklahoma. 

He was hired by the Kansas Legislature to paint murals on the first floor rotunda of the Kansas State Capitol in Topeka. The eight scenes were to complement murals on the second floor by John Steuart Curry and tell the story of Kansas history. Overmyer began work on the murals in 1951 and titled them: The Coming of the Spaniards, Battle of Arikaree, Battle of Mine Creek, Building a Sod House, Lewis and Clark in Kansas, Westward Ho, Arrival of the Railroad, and Chisholm Trail.  He completed the murals in 1953.

Overmyer died in Topeka on March 27, 1973.

Entry: Overmyer, David Hicks

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: July 2010

Date Modified: June 2021

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.