(1903 - 2000)
Walter Graham was active/lived in Washington, Illinois. Walter Graham is known for mural, landscape, wildlife, cowboy.
Biography from the Archives of askART
The following, sent by Barbara Harris, is from the artist's obituary, published May 10, 2000, in the Wenatchee World newspaper:
Biography from the Archives of askART
Walter Graham, 96, resident artist of the Wenatchee Valley for 50 years, passed away May 5, 2000. Walter was born Nov. 17, 1903 in Greenup, IL to Lige and Florence Graham.
He tried his hand at teaching for a couple of years and decided that he wanted to pursue a career in art. The teaching experience, however, proved invaluable as Walter remained a lifelong teacher with art students up until his passing.
He left the rural farming town in 1922 and enrolled in the Art Institute of Chicago. He studied there for six years and then entered into collaboration with Morice Nugent to form Nugent-Graham Studios of Chicago where they prospered throughout the 1930s and 1940s.
Walter married Celeste Heldenburg and they had one son, David Graham.
Walter enjoyed traveling and after visiting his sister, Clair McCaskey in Wenatchee, he sold his business in Chicago and moved to Wenatchee in 1950 with his half-brother, Paul and his son, David. On May 5, 1952, Walter married Alma L. "Midge" Raber whom he had known in Chicago and the couple began their 43-year alliance.
As an artist, Walter was somewhat of an oddity in Wenatchee, but with his keen business sense and immense creative talent, he prospered in this beautiful valley. He worked as an illustrator for Street & Smith Publishers and completed commissions for Western Story, Western Life, Appaloosa News and other magazines.
Major commercial artworks that Walter accomplished can be viewed at Rocky Reach Dam where his mural "Horsepower" adorns the reception area and numerous paintings depict history of this area. Thirty-one Seattle First National Bank buildings include Graham paintings, sculptures, murals or mosaics. Walter completed two murals at Pangborn Airport and the Pangborn monument in Fancher Heights, along with a large mural for the Washington State Apple Commission and murals in North Central Washington Museum.
Commissioned paintings also include a series of historical California ranching paintings for the California Beef Commission, a series of paintings and drawings for the Montana Cattle Association, Lincoln Federal Savings Bank of Washington and the head offices of Morris Knutson in Boise, ID. He has paintings and sculptures on seven ships in the Alaskan Ferry Line and the ocean liner Polar Star. His paintings have been shown on television and motion picture films, "Exploration Northwest" and "Chief Joseph's War Trail."
His memberships and exhibitions cross the continent from Chicago to New York, from Ohio to Montana, from Indiana to Washington. He was a Charter Member of the Washington State Art Commission, received awards from Seattle Art Directors Society, Palette & Chisel Academy in Chicago, Bronze medal and Artist of the Year Award from Allied Arts Council of North Central Washington in two separate years. This past year, 1999, was a very special one as Walter gifted many paintings for permanent display to the Chelan County Historical Society and Pioneer Village where he most recently was chosen and honored to be a recipient of the Washington State Governor's Art Award of 1999.
Walter will be sadly missed but will be remembered in the legacy of beauty he has left behind for all to enjoy.
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The following was submitted by Cindy Coy-Ginsbury, whose grandfather was a friend of the artist:
His work has been exhibited at the Chicago Art Institute, Palette & Chisel Academy, Chicago, Oak Park Art League, International Water Color Exhibition, New York, Swope Museum, Terre Haute, Indiana, Maryhill Museum, Washington, Gallery 76, Wenatchee, Columbus Gallery of Fine Art, Columbus, Ohio, The Frye Museum , Seattle, Montana State Historical Society, Helena, and the Russell Museum, Great Falls. His work is also on display in many public buildings and galleries throughout the West.
The Palette & Chisel Club awarded Graham the Gold Medal; in addition, Graham won First Prize three times at the Chicago Galeries, won First Prize at the Oak Park Art League, Honorable Mention by Chicago Painters & Sculptors, and Honorable Mention by the Seattle Art Directors Club."
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