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November 22, 1929 - February  24, 2016

Born in Cleveland, Tennessee, as a child, Billie Nipper spent her summers on her uncle’s farm. It was there that her appreciation of nature and animals began. The rural life, the quiet beauty of the foothills, and the gentle music of a mountain stream that she absorbed there are translated today on her canvases.

     Mrs. Nipper, who was self-taught and only did original work, won recognition and awards of merit for both her nostalgic scenes and her portraiture of the Tennessee Walking Horse. Her paintings hang in private collections in each of the United States, throughout Canada, England and Central America. Her works have been displayed in numerous fine art galleries and she was among a select few to appear as a featured artist in the Fine Arts Pavilion of the 1982 World’s Fair, Knoxville TN.

      Reproductions of Mrs. Nipper’s artwork have been used on state, national and international magazines and limited edition prints of her paintings hang in galleries across the nation. Several fine furniture retailers market her prints, which have been featured on a music album, a delicate music box, lamps, handbags or more! A series of World Grand Champion Tennessee Walking Horses was produced on delicate Gorham fine china by the Reagan Galleries of Gatlinburg TN, who also commissioned her to paint a World Champion Quarter Horse for a collection of plates. In 1978, the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration marked its 40th anniversary with a commemorative Gorham plate featuring a Nipper portrait of Strolling Jim, the show’s first grand champion.

    Mrs. Nipper worked diligently to promote art and its appreciation in her hometown of Cleveland, where she lived throughout her life. Under her leadership as arts chairman of Cleveland Creative Guild, the city began to host two major art shows annually - a spring show held at the Cleveland Mall, open to all artists, and an outdoor fall show held annually the first full weekend of October at the Red Clay State Park. In tribute to Mrs. Nipper and recognition of her efforts the fall show was fondly called the Nillie Bipper Art Festival, an affectionate, intentional reversal of the first letters of her name.

     A perfectionist, this artist, like so many others, was seldom completely satisfied with her work. Mrs. Nipper’s integrity as a person was inextricably interwoven with her integrity as an artist.  For her, that was the essential quality any artist must have to forge their talent into one that is both satisfying and permanent. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------   

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