Anna Catherine Wiley, artist, was a UT student from
1895 to 1897. She studied at the Art Student League in 1904 under Frank Demond and the New York School of Art in 1904–5. She served on the faculty of the Related Arts Department (in the College of Home Economics) as instructor of freehand drawing (1905–17) and as assistant professor (1918–19). Her drawings enlivened the yearbooks of the period.
Her paintings have been exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the National Academy of Design, and the Cincinnati Museum of Art, as well as in local museums. The Metropolitan Museum of Art owns a 1914 painting, which the museum entitles Willow Pond but which was locally exhibited as Two Girls by the River. She won a gold medal for best Tennessee artist in Nashville at the Centennial Exposition in 1897 and a cash award for best Southern artist at the Cotton States Exhibition in Atlanta in 1895.
Wiley’s personal scrapbook, blue ribbons, and awards are housed at the Calvin H. McClung Historical Collection of the Knox County Library, which also has 37 of her paintings. Wiley’s sister, Eleanor, was also an artist, predominantly of portraits. (Eleanor Wiley painted the portrait of Dr. James D. Hoskins commissioned by the university for the naming of the Hoskins Library.) Wiley’s brother Edwin was UT’s librarian.
Although she had received major recognition, she was twice rejected for membership by the National Academy of Design. In 1926, at the age of 47, she was hospitalized near Philadelphia, suffering, it was said, from a mental breakdown. Following that hospitalization, she lived the remaining 32 years of her life in a mental hospital and never painted again.