Partner Philip Johnson

Queer Places:
9708 Willard Ave, Cleveland, OH 44102
751 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10017
Prospect Hill Cemetery Nantucket, Nantucket County, Massachusetts, USA

John Alden "Jon" Stroup (February 16, 1917 - May 28, 2006) spent most of his adult life as a magazine editor, first at Town & Country, then at House and Garden. Aside from Saturday morning classes at the Cleveland School of Art, Stroup was a self-taught artist. He began to draw only after moving to Nantucket. Working initially in felt-tipped pen, Stroup depicted the flat Nantucket landscape, but turned to watercolor after his first exhibition. Stroup began working in oil in 1976. He exhibited at the Main Street Gallery.

John Alden Stroup was born in Cleveland, Ohio. He was educated in the Cleveland public schools, where he was exposed to the modernist movement, and acquired a lifelong love of painting. During the late 1940s and 1950s while in New York, he worked as art editor for Town & Country magazine, at a time when it was evolving from a purely social publication into an art and literary forum. At this time he was friends with Donald Windham.

In the early months of 1945, at a vernissage, Philip Johnson had his first encounter with Jon Stroup. It was a meeting of sudden impact for both men, and within several weeks they were living together in Johnson's place, known to all his friends as Hidden House. Johnson's sister, Theodate, who was living with him, had given the name to the little house at 751 Third Avenue that stood behind the row of apartment buildings fronting the street. As early as 1939 Johnson had rented it.

In 1950 John Hohnsbeen met Philip Johnson. Johnson, whom Hohnsbeen found "terrifically handsome,"' confirmed the force of their initial attraction, not to mention the eventual importance of Hohnsbeen in his life. Within a few weeks of their first night together, the two of them met with Jon Stroup for dinner, after which Philip advised Stroup that their liaison, by then five years old, was over. The scene, according to Hohnsbeen, was "terrible," but "Philip and I loved each other," and there was no turning away from that. Hohnsbeen added that he canceled a relationship he had at the time with the writer Christopher Isherwood. He promptly moved in with Johnson and Theodate at Hidden House.

Following his experience as an art editor very much a part of the New York scene, Stroup retired to Nantucket in the 1970s and began painting casually. The artist said of his own work: “It sometimes strikes me as odd that I paint the way I do, for I would have thought, considering my predilection for modernism, that I would become more abstract. However, I think that a sense of structure—imbibed from Piero della Francesca, Poussin, Motherwell, and Franz Kline—is evident in much of my work.”

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