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 Malcolm (Charles Malcolm) Fraser  (1868 - 1949)



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Lived/Active: New York / Canada/United Kingdom      Known for: illustration, landscape, figure and genre painting

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Ad Code: 4
Malcolm Fraser
from Auction House Records.
Sheep in the snow at sunset
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following is submitted by A. J. Devies, Webmaster, Ormond Memorial Art Museum and Gardens in Ormond Beach, Florida. The source is, web-site of the Ormond Museum which is the repository of works by Malcolm Fraser.

Malcolm Fraser, artist and illustrator, was a native of Montreal, Canada, born April 19,1868 to William Lewis and Sarah H. (Adams) Fraser. Although a birth year of 1869 has been generally reported for Malcolm Fraser, Marie Fraser of the Clan Fraser Society of Canada writes "..."Malcolm Fraser was born 19th April 1868 and baptized 2nd September in the Montreal East Methodist Church.

William Lewis Fraser (1841-1905), father of the artist, was a painter, sculptor, art dealer, and musician who began his career in England and settled in New York City. For forty years he was art manager of the "Century Magazine", was the editor of the "Century Dictionary" and was president of the Salmagundi Club in 1896. While still an English subject, he gave painting lessons to Queen Victoria's daughter, Princess Louise. He had returned for a time to his native country, and his young son, Malcolm Fraser, was with him. One day when the little boy was playing in the garden at Windsor with the Earl of Bathhurst's son, Queen Victoria came along in her pony carriage. After speaking to the Earl of Bathhurst's son, Her Majesty turned to Young Malcolm and said: "And whose little boy are you?" He replied: "I am Lord Rougemont's son." Queen: "Oh yes, the artist who is giving my daughter painting lessons. And what are you going to be when you grow up?" Malcolm: "I am going to be an artist." Queen: "That's right, never be a queen. It is a thankless task."

In the United States, Malcolm Fraser settled in New York City with his family and attended public schools there and then entered the College of the City of New York which he attended for two years. Then he enrolled at the Art Students League. He studied under Carroll Beckwith and with Gotham Art Students under Walter Shirlaw. In 1888 he sailed for Paris to complete his education at the Sorbonne, and with study at the Academie Julien under Boulanger, Lefèbvre and Benjamin Constant, and at the Beaux Arts with Jean Leon Gerome.

Malcolm Fraser had first come to public attention as an artist when at the age of eighteen he exhibited with the Black and White Club at the Salmagundi Club galleries in New York. The following year he exhibited at the Society of American Artists' exhibition, and this exhibition record meant he began his career with substantial work when he set out for Paris to continue his art studies.

Following are some of the highlights of his career:

In 1892 he painted two six-foot windows for St. Luke's Episcopal Church in the Rue Notre Dame in Paris.

In 1895 he graduated from the Sorbonne in Paris, and in the same year was awarded the title of Professor of Fine Arts by the City of Paris. Also in that year, he was sent by the London "Times" to Egypt to make drawings for an archeological expedition to that country. He also made drawings for the Boulak Museum in Cairo, and was associated with Sir Flinders Petri. Also in 1895, Mr. Fraser received a degree from the University of Heidelberg in Germany. Although just past his twenty-sixth birthday, he had the honor, on his return to England, of make drawings at the home of Alfred Lord Tennyson, with the poet and his place of residence as subjects.

He was associated with many of the famous personages of his period: Whistler, Monet, Corot, Sargent, the Innesses (father and son), Charcot, Petri, Rodin; Sir Henry Irving, Ellen Terry, Sarah Bernhardt and G. B. Shaw; Helen Keller and Ignace Jan Paderewski. Portraits executed by Mr. Fraser at this time included two of Queen Wilhelmina of Holland and others of the Barons Rothschild, a cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church, and other prominent figures. He also executed murals for many private homes.

In 1897, after returning to this country, Mr. Fraser became a member of the Salmagundi Club in New York, and began his career as an illustrator which during succeeding years made his name well known among readers of such magazines as the Ladies' Home Journal, Leslie's, St. Nicholas, Cosmopolitan, Harper's Century and other foremost periodicals of the time.

He illustrated a number of fiction works in both the short-story and novel forms. Among these were "Black Beauty," F. Hopkinson Smith's "Caleb West," and Winston Churchill's "Richard Carvel," as well as the stories of Bret Harte.

In 1908 he exhibited a series of seventeen symbolic paintings at Clausen's Galleries in New York; and between 1910 and 1914 made a complete series of biblical illustrations for Sunday schools for the Providence Lithograph Company of Providence, Rhode Island. In 1917 he exhibited sixteen symbolic paintings at the Boss Art Gallery in New York, and the same year donated three large paintings, with poster rights, to the National Red Cross in Washington, D.C.

Mr. Fraser volunteered for service in World War I in 1917. He joined the French regiment known as the "Blue Devils." He later served as captain on the front lines, as zone commander with the American Red Cross, American Expeditionary Forces.

In 1919 he resumed his career in America as painter, teacher and lecturer on art. From that time, he had an uninterrupted career. At various times he was identified with the advertising departments of the Vacuum Oil Company, the Standard Oil Company, and the staffs of the magazines noted above. He produced work for the Providence Lithograph Company.

In his earlier career, he had also contracted with Bellevue Hospital to execute a series of surgical drawings. Malcolm Fraser was voted an honorary member of the International Mark Twain Society for his contribution to American Art; and he was also an honorary member of the Orlando Art Association. He has been included in "Who's Who in America" since 1901.

Two major accomplishments later in his career were his donation of a large memorial altar piece to St. Luke's Episcopal Cathedral in Orlando in 1945; and his donation of fifty-six symbolic paintings to the City of Ormond Beach, Florida, in 1946. The Miami "News" of November 30, 1947 states that "This $200,000 Art Gallery is the first war memorial to be completed in Florida." This series of paintings, the central theme of which is: "Spirit is life's only significant reality," was presented by the artist as a war memorial to those who served in World Wars I and II. The citizens of Ormond erected a building to house this gift, and it was known as the Ormond War Memorial Art Gallery.

Himself a veteran, Mr. Fraser had been wounded five times at the front from explosions, trench knife, shrapnel and gas. As evidence of his own extensive military record, he was awarded the following decorations: The Verdun Medal, Legion of Honor, Croix de Guerre, Cross of Malta, Jerusalem Cross, Silver Star of Belgium, The Cross of Joan of Arc, and the ribbon of the French Hospital Service with three stars. He was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Alsace Lorraine Society. He had received the Congressional Medal of Honor for Life Saving by a special act of Congress in 1884.

In his religious faith, Malcolm Fraser was an Episcopalian. He demonstrated great interest and skill in a variety of crafts and outdoor sports. He was an expert yachtsman and a lover of boats.

Malcolm Fraser was twice married. He first married Katherine E. Church, at Orange, New Jersey, on June 10, 1897. She was the daughter of E. F. Church, president of the wholesale woolen firm of K F. Church and Company, New York. Katherine (Church) Fraser died January 6, 1930. Mr. Fraser then married sculptress Mary Austin Aldrich in New York, New York, on February 14, 1933.

Malcolm Fraser was the father of one daughter, Phyllis, who married Frank A. Champlain at Brookhaven, Long Island, New York.

The celebrated artist and illustrator died at his home in Brookhaven on June 12, 1949. He was buried with military honors.

"Encyclopedia of Biography", edited by C. S. Nicholls. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1997. Originally published: Oxford: Helicon Pub., 1996. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN: 97012316. Nicholls, C. S. (Christine Stephanie)

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