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 Francis Chapin  (1899 - 1965)

About: Francis Chapin
 

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Lived/Active: Illinois/Michigan/Ohio      Known for: urban scene and landscape painting, prints, teaching

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BIOGRAPHY for Francis Chapin
Facts/Data
Birth
1899 (Bristolville, Ohio)
 
Death
1965 (Chicago, Illinois)

Lived/Active
Illinois/Michigan/Ohio

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urban scene and landscape painting, prints, teaching

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Dubbed the Dean of Chicago Painters in the 1930s, 40s and 50s, Francis Chapin painted images of people he met in the Old Town neighborhood where he lived as well as landscape and figure subjects from his travels to Mexico, Europe and Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts.  In those days, it was not unusual to see Chapin with his easel set up on a street corner.  He was also a lithographer and art teacher.

Chapin was born in Bristolville, Ohio.  He earned a Bachelor of Science Degree from Washington & Jefferson College and attended the Art Institute of Chicago on a Bryan Lathrop Fellowship. 

He was a member of the National Academy of Design and exhibited there as well as the Pennsylvania Academy, Art Institute of Chicago, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Salon d'Automne in Paris.

From 1929 to 1946, he was a teacher at the Chicago Art Institute, and from 1941 to 1946 directed their Summer School.  He also taught at the John Herron Art Institute at the Indianapolis Art Museum and the University of Georgia.

In Chicago, Ivan Albright was one of his best friends, and upon the death of Chapin, Albright commented: "He was especially deft in his use of color and in his ability to reach the essence of his subject with a few seemingly casual lines . . . his finished paintings have such a quality of freshness and spontaneity." (Kennedy 100)

Sources:
Elizabeth Kennedy, Chicago Modern 1893-1945
Peter Hasting Falk, Editor, Who Was Who in American Art

Biography from Richard Norton Gallery:
Francis Chapin, affectionately called the “Dean of Chicago Painters” by his colleagues, was one of the city’s most popular and celebrated painters in his day. Born at the dawn of the 20th Century in Bristolville, Ohio, Chapin graduated from Washington & Jefferson College near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania before enrolling at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1922.  He would set down deep roots at the Art Institute of Chicago, exhibiting there over 31 times between 1926 and 1951.

In 1927 Chapin won the prestigious Bryan Lathrop Fellowship from the Art Institute – a prize that funded the artist’s yearlong study trip to Europe.  Upon his return to the United States, Chapin decided to remain in Chicago, noting the freedom Chicago artists had in developing independently of the pressure to conform to pre-existing molds (as was experienced by artists in New York, for example).

Chapin became a popular instructor at the Art Institute, teaching there from 1929 to 1947, and at the Art Institute’s summer art school in Saugatuck, Michigan (now called Oxbow) between 1934 – 1938 (he was the director of the school from 1941-1945). 

Chapin’s contemporaries among Chicago’s artists included such luminaries as Ivan Le Lorraine Albright, Edgar Miller, William S. Schwartz and Aaron Bohrod among others.

A prolific painter, Chapin produced numerous works while traveling in Mexico, France, Spain, Saugatuck, and Martha’s Vineyard, where he frequently spent summers and taught at the Old Sculpin Gallery there.

Chapin was best recognized for his dynamic and vibrant images of Chicago during the 1930s and 40s.  Chapin was a resident of the Old Town neighborhood where he lived and kept his studio on Menomonee Street for many years.  Described as a “colorful figure, nearly 6 feet 6 inches tall, and thin, and usually wearing tweeds”, it is easy to imagine Chapin at work observing the busy street life of the city.

In addition to his many exhibitions at the Art Institute of Chicago, Chapin’s work was shown during his lifetime at such institutions as the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia; the Corcoran Gallery, Washington, D.C.; the National Academy of Design, New York; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York and the Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, among others.

Francis Chapin’s paintings are represented in the collections the Art Institute of Chicago; the Friedman Collection, Chicago; the Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown; the Denver Art Museum; the Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse; the North Museum of Art, West Palm Beach; the Telfair Museum of Art, Savannah and the Brooklyn Museum of Art, among others.

February 14, 1899 Born in Bristolville, Ohio.

1921 Earns a Bachelor of Science degree at Washington and Jefferson College, Washington, PA.

1922-1925 Studied at the Art Institute of Chicago.

1925-1928 Post-graduate study at the Art Institute of Chicago.

1926-1951 Regular contributor to Art Institute of Chicago annual exhibitions, with 129 individual entries.

1928 Won the Byron Lathrop Traveling Scholarship and traveled to France to paint.

1928-1929 Returned to Chicago and had notable one-man shows at The Art Institute of Chicago and Carson Pirie Scott and Company, Chicago, IL.

1929-1947 Taught at the Art Institute of Chicago.

1929-1958 Contributor of Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art annual exhibitions.

1930 Exhibited at Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

1930 Won the Hallgarten Prize at the National Academy of Design, New York, NY.

1932 Married Hildur Anderson.

1932-1933 Approached by Grant Wood to teach at the Stone City Art Colony, Stone City, IA. Taught lithography for the two summers of the art colony’s existence.

1933 Wins the Frank Logan Prize and Medal at the Art Institute of Chicago, 37th Annual Exhibition of Artists of Chicago and Vicinity.

1933 Daughter Nan is born.

1933-1934 Exhibited his works at the Century of Progress Exhibition, Chicago, IL.

1934-1938 Taught at the Art Institute Summer School at Ox- Bow, Saugatuck, MI.

1935 Solo Exhibition, Art Institute of Chicago, July 25-Oct. 13, 1925

1936 Daughter Christine is born.

1938, 1958 Artist-In-Residence, The John Herron Art Institute, Indianapolis, IN

1939 Won the Sesnan Medal at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA.

1940 Exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY.

1941-1946 Director of the Art Institute Summer School, Ox-Bow, Saugatuck,
MI

1946 Wife, Hilder Anderson Chapin dies.

1948 Chapin marries artist Vivian Kinsley.

1951-1953 Artist-in-Residence University of Georgia, Athens, GA.

1953 Elected Academician of the National Academy of Design, New York, NY.

1953 Son Todd is born.

1954 Artist-in-Residence, The Atlanta Art Institute, Atlanta, GA.

1954 Received honorary doctorate degree from Washington and Jefferson College, Washington, PA.

February 23, 1965 Francis Chapin dies in Chicago, IL


Biography from Valley House Gallery & Sculpture Garden:
Born in Bristolville, Ohio. February 14, 1899

1921
Earns a Bachelor of Science degree at Washington and Jefferson College, Washington, PA.

1922-1925
Studied at the Art Institute of Chicago.

1925-1928
Post-graduate study at the Art Institute of Chicago.

1926-1951
Regular contributor to Art Institute of Chicago annual exhibitions, with 129 individual entries.

1928
Won the Byron Lathrop Traveling Scholarship and traveled to France to paint.

1928-1929
Returned to Chicago and had notable one-man shows at The Art Institute of Chicago and Carson Pirie Scott and Company, Chicago, IL.

1929-1947
Taught at the Art Institute of Chicago.

1929-1958
Contributor of Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art annual exhibitions.

1930
Exhibited at Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

1930
Won the Hallgarten Prize at the National Academy of Design, New York, NY.

1932-1933
Approached by Grant Wood to teach at the Stone City Art Colony, Stone City, IA. Taught lithography for the two summers of the art colony’s existence.

1933
Wins the Frank Logan Prize and Medal at the Art Institute of Chicago, 37th Annual Exhibition of Artists of Chicago and Vicinity.

1933-1934
Exhibited his works at the Century of Progress Exhibition, Chicago, IL.

1934-1938
Taught at the Art Institute Summer School at Ox- Bow, Saugatuck, MI.

1935
Solo Exhibition, Art Institute of Chicago, July 25-Oct. 13, 1925

1938, 1958
Artist-In-Residence, The John Herron Art Institute, Indianapolis, IN

1939
Won the Sesnan Medal at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA.

1940
Exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY.

1941-1946
Director of the Art Institute Summer School, Ox-Bow, Saugatuck, MI

1951-1953
Artist-in-Residence University of Georgia, Athens, GA.

1953
Elected Academician of the National Academy of Design, New York, NY.

1954
Artist-in-Residence, The Atlanta Art Institute, Atlanta, GA.

1954
Received honorary doctorate degree from Washington and Jefferson College, Washington, PA.

Francis Chapin dies in Chicago, IL, February 23, 1965

Group Exhibitions:

2011 Fresh & Salty (a Valley House Gallery group exhibition), Fort Worth Community Arts Center, Fort Worth, Texas

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