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Jonathan Fairbanks

 (born 1933)
Jonathan Leo Fairbanks is active/lives in Massachusetts, Utah, Michigan.  Jonathan Fairbanks is known for landscape, portrait, botanical, mural.

Jonathan Fairbanks

Biography from the Archives of askART

Biography photo for Jonathan Fairbanks
2006 Recipient of the 10th annual Iris Award for outstanding Contributions to the Decorative Arts from the Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, Design and Culture.

The following information was submitted by the artist in April of 2003:

A landscape painter and muralist in the Boston area, Jonathan Fairbanks, in 1971, founded the Department of American Decorative Arts and Sculpture at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.  From that time until 1999 when the Department was merged with another department, Fairbanks was full Curator.  Subsequently he became the Katharine Lane Weems Lane Curator of American Decorative Arts and Sculpture, Emeritus, at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston.

He was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the sixth son of sculptor Avard T. Fairbanks, and earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from the University of Utah in 1953.  He was then in the US Navy for two years serving with Commander Cruiser Division Four, Atlantic Fleet.  Between 1955 and 1957, he attended the University of Pennsylvania and in a program coordinated with the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts earned his M.F.A. in mural painting.  He was a student of muralist George Harding.

Fairbanks has painted murals at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia and in a church in West Philadelphia.  He became a fellow at Winterthur Museum where he received an MA degree in American Cultural History through the University of Delaware.  In 1961, he began employment at Winterthur as a Curatorial Assistant and then became Associate Curator before leaving for Boston in 1971 to found the Department of American Decorative Arts.

Fairbanks has written books on colonial furniture. In May, 1999, North Point Gallery in San Francisco had a special exhibition of his work. The following summer, the Tivoli Gallery of Salt Lake City, Utah held an exhibition, and in February, 2000, the Crane Collection Gallery in Wellesley, Massachusetts sponsored an exhibition of his work.
Abbreviated from Jonathan Leo Fairbanks, Westwood, MA

EDUCATION- degrees earned
M.A., American Cultural History; U. of Del. and the Winterthur Museum Program, 1961
M.F.A., Painting, U. of Penn and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 1957
B.F.A., Studio Art, University of Utah, 1953

"John Notman: Church Architect, 1810-1865," Winterthur Thesis, 1961

Instituto de Pathologia del Libro, Rome, 1968
Winterthur Fellow, Delaware, 1959-1961
Teaching Fellow, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, 1955-1957

Editor at Large, The Catalogue of Antiques and Fine Art, 2002
The Katharine Lane Weems Curator of American Decorative Arts and Sculpture, Emeritus, MFA, Boston
Sr. Vice President, Antiques America.Com , 1999-2001
Katharine Lane Weems Curator of American Decorative Arts and Sculpture, MFA, Boston, 1970-1999
Curatorial Assistant to Associate Curator, The Winterthur Museum, Delaware, 1961-1970

Research Associate, Art History, Boston University, 1999-2001
Adjunct Professor, American and New England Studies, Boston Univ., 1971-1982
Lecturer, Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, Deer Isle, ME, 1965,1967,1981
Adjunct Professor, American Art, Wellesley College, 1981
Lecturer, Art History Dept., University of Delaware, 1968-1969
Lecturer and Symposium Chairman, Houston Baptist College Preservation Conferences 1966-1969
Lecturer, Art and Art History, Brigham Young University (extension division) 1957-1959

"Paul Revere and 1768: His Portrait and the Liberty Bowl," New England Silver & Silversmithing, 1620-1815. Boston, The Colonial Society, 2001.
"America's Measure of Mankind: Proportions and Harmonics," Smithsonian Studies in American Art, Winter, 1988.
Introduction to Paul Revere-- Artisan, Businessman, and Patriot: The Man Behind the Myth. Boston, 1988.
Preface and contributions to catalogue and exhibition: "The Art that is Life," The Arts and Crafts Movement in America, 1875-1920, MFA, Boston, 1987.
"Crafts and American Museums," in The Eloquent Object, Tulsa,1987.
"Fakes and Fakers," The Walpole Society Notebook, 1986
Introduction and contributions to: American Figurative Sculpture in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston,1986.
Introduction to Arnold Friberg, The Passion of a Modern Master, Flagstaff, 1985.
"Craft Processes and Images: Visual Sources for the Study of the Craftsman," The Craftsman in Early America, N.Y., 1984.
"Contemporary American Ceramics: Of Patterns on Earth," in Directions in Contemporary Ceramics, MFA, Boston, 1984.
"The Great Platte River Trail in 1853: The Drawings and Sketches of Frederick Piercy," Prints of the American West, Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, 1983.
American Furniture, 1620 to the Present., with Elizabeth Bidwell Bates, New York, 1981.
Introduction and contributions to: New England Begins: The Seventeenth Century, Boston, 1982.
Preface and contributions to: Paul Revere's Boston, 1975.
Introduction and contributions to: Frontier America: The Far West, l975.
Forward with Walter Muir Whitehill and Brock W. Jobe, Boston Furniture of the Eighteenth -Century, Boston, The Colonial Society, 1974.
"American Antiques in the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Charles L. Bybee," Antiques, 1967 &1968.
"The House of Thomas Shipley, Miller at the Tide on the Brandywine Creek," Winterthur, Portfolio II, 1964.
"The Architectural Development of Winterthur House," Winterthur, Portfolio I, 1964.

Fellow, The Pilgrim Society
Fellow, The American Institute for Conservation
Organizer, The North American Prints Conferences (annually since 1970)
Member, The Walpole Society
Fellow, American Crafts Council (Hon.)
Board Member, The Paul Revere House
Board Member, The Shirley/Eustis House
Board Member, The Fairbanks House
President, The Decorative Arts Trust
Member, The Massachusetts Historical Society
Member, The Colonial Society of Massachusetts
Board Member, The Wayside Inn
Member, The American Antiquarian Society
Council Member, The Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities
Board Member, The Connick Foundation
Board Member, Haystack School of Crafts
Board Member, Society of Arts and Crafts
Board Member, The Studio Potter

Selected Honors and Awards

New England Video Award for Adult Public Programming
Victorian Society in America, New England Chapter, Award for Conservation
Robert G. Lord Award for Excellence in Historical Studies; the Emmanuel College, Boston
The Charles F. Montgomery Award, the Decorative Arts Society
The Urban Glass Award for Exceptional Museum Glass Exhibition
The Ellen Banning Ayer Award for Contributions to Arts and Culture
Lifetime Achievement Medal from the Society of Arts and Crafts, Boston
New England Chapter, Victorian Society in America for Outstanding Contributions to the Field

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About  Jonathan Fairbanks

Born:  1933 - Ann Arbor, Michigan
Known for:  landscape, portrait, botanical, mural