Marian Spore Bush whose full name was Marian Flora May Spore Bush (1878-1946) was born in Bay City, Michigan. She was well educated and after graduating from the University of Michigan in 1899 became the first female dentist in Bay County. In 1919, her mother died and without any previous inclination towards art, Marian abandoned her successful dental practice and began to paint. 

Shortly after she moved to New York where Marian astonished artists and puzzled scientists with the assertion that spirits guided her when she painted pictures. She exhibited her work and became the talk of many society circles. She referred to the spirits as ‘these people’ or ‘they’ and claimed they told her what paints to buy, how to mix colours and how to apply the paint to the canvas. She developed a distinctive style where she would paint rapidly fruits, flowers, temples, ships, birds and mountains. Her noticeable impasto technique was often over half an inch in depth. After her death a book was published by her family about Marian’s spiritual journey – it was given the simple title: They.

Works by Marian Spore Bush can be found in the Henry Boxer Collection and in the Gallery of Everything where her work was recently exhibited as part of their Medium’s Medium exhibition at the Frieze Art Fair in 2019. More mediumistic artists like Marian can be found on our artists page.