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 Edgar Forkner  (1867 - 1945)

About: Edgar Forkner


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Lived/Active: Illinois/Washington/Indiana      Known for: landscape, harbor views, still life

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BIOGRAPHY for Edgar Forkner
1867 (Richmond, Indiana)
1945 (Seattle, Washington)


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landscape, harbor views, still life

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following was submitted by Cathy Bass:

Edgar Forkner lived in Richmond many years, becoming a member of the local artists' group there. He studied for several years in the Art Student's league, New York City, under Irving Wiles, who was one of the foremost painters at that time, being a famous portrait painter. Mr. Forkner was a monitor in Mr. Wiles's class for two years.

He also studied under Charles Beckwith and Frank DuMond; later taught in the Auditorium tower, Chicago, for several years.  He then went to Seattle, Washington, where the sketching appealed to him, making yearly visits to Chicago for several months.

Awards: He received awards almost every year.  In 1943 he received first prize in Flowers at Hoosier Salon, which that year had moved from Chicago to Indianapolis.  His picture was sold before it hung in the show. Three flower paintings at Philadelphia received honorable mention.

Mr. Forkner painted principally boats or flowers.  He won awards at Northwest exhibits held at the Art Museum in Seattle, where he held a one-man exhibit for six weeks in the Museums largest gallery.  Three pictures were purchased by Dr. Richard E Fuller, Director for the Museum's permanent collection, in May-June, 1945.

A large flower painting was chosen by jury, one of eight paintings from Hoosier Salon for the Chicago World's Fair, 1933.  Two large boat paintings were shown at the Pennsylvania Academy in 1932.

A letter written by Daniel Catton Rich, Director of Fine Arts of the Chicago Art Institute, to an inquirer states: "Edgar Forkner exhibited three years in our international water color show.  He is represented in our permanent Water Color collection.  He has won many prizes for his work and would, I believe, be considered a distinguished artist in this medium." Letter signed July 14,1943

When my grandmother passed away some time ago I received two pictures by Edgar Forkner, a gift from Mrs. Honeywell of Indiana. They are both harbour scenes. On the back of the larger picture is a typed note:

b.Richmond, Ind., July 31, 1867/ d.Seattle, Wash., July 6 1945

Biography from Richmond Art Museum:
Water-colorist, Edgar Forkner was born in 1867 in Richmond, Indiana. Equally adept at painting floral still-lives and harbor scenes, Forkner exhibited over twenty years in the Hoosier Salon Exhibition winning numerous awards for best watercolor.  He received his training at the Art Student League in New York studying with J. Carroll Beckwith, Irving Wiles, William Merritt Chase and Frank Vincent Dumond.

An early member of the “Richmond Group”, Forkner worked with John Bundy and others to help establish the Art Association of Richmond.  After a few years in Richmond, he traveled to Chicago where he taught watercolor in Auditorium Tower studios.  Later he lived in Seattle, Washington becoming active in the Seattle art colony painting harbor scenes along the Pacific coast.

His works are in the permanent collection of the Richmond Art Museum, Richmond, Indiana; Seattle Art Museum and the Chicago Art Institute.  His Hoosier Salon award winner, "Old Vase of Flowers", was exhibited in the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair.

In appreciation of his artistic contributions, The Seattle Art Museum, held a tribute in memory of Edgar Forkner on July 14, 1945 over the radio.  Considered a pioneer painter in two art colonies, Mr. Forkner contributed greatly to the artistic legacy and heritage of American regional art.

Submitted by
Shaun Dingwerth
Executive Director
Richmond Art Museum

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