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 Curtis Wray Besinger  (1914 - 1999)

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Lived/Active: Wisconsin/Kansas/Missouri      Known for: architecture, painting, teaching

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born Stanberry, Missouri, June 12, 1914 and died Lawrence, December 12, 1999, Curtis Besinger was an architect and painter.  He earned a BS degree in architecture at the University of Kansas, Lawrence in 1939.  He worked with Joseph Radotinsky and other architects in Kansas City and then joined Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin Fellowship in 1939.

As a Junior Apprentice, he worked on construction projects, participated in musical programs, directed the chorus, and assisted in the drafting room.  During World War II, as a conscientious objector, he spent three years working on federal reclamation, wildlife and forestry-service projects in the Midwest and West in lieu of military service.

Returning to Taliesin in 1946 as a Senior Apprentice, he worked on 37 projects.  After 16 years as a Taliesin Fellow, he left the Fellowship in 1955.  He was technical editor of House Beautiful in 1956-57 and architectural consultant in 1957-65.  He also had an architectural practice, partly in association with Fritz (Fredric) and Fabi Benedict in Aspen, CO.

Besinger joined the architecture faculty at the University of Kansas in 1955, and taught for 29 years before retiring in 1985.  He authored Working with Mr. Wright: What It Was Like (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,1997). 

Besinger's papers are available in the Spencer Research Library at the University of Kansas.
Susan Craig, "Biographical Dictionary of Kansas Artists (active before 1945)"
Topeka Cap & Topeka J (Topeka Capital, Topeka J (aka Topeka J) newspapers?usually reports of the Kansas Artists Exhibition 1st= Topeka Cap Nov. 11, 1925 9th= Topeka J Nov. 11, 1933 2nd= Topeka Cap Nov. 10, 1926 10th= Topeka J Nov. 10, 1934 3rd= Topeka J Nov. 19, 1927 11th= Topeka J Jan. 7, 1936 4th= Topeka J Nov. 3, 1928 12th= Topeka J Nov. 11 & 14, 1936 5th= Topeka J Nov. 2, 1929 14th= Topeka J Jan. 22, 1938 6th= Topeka J Oct. 18 & Nov. 1, 1930 15th= Topeka J Mar. 10, 1939 7th= Topeka J Oct. 24, 1931 16th= Topeka J Feb. 2 & 10, 1940 8th= Topeka J Oct. 22, 1932 17th= Topeka J Mar. 8 & 17, 1941) (Jan. 7, 1936); Midwestern Artists? Exhibition (Kansas City: Kansas City Art Institute, 1920-1942 Mines, Cynthia. For the Sake of Art: The Story of an Art Movement in Kansas. s.l. Mines, 1979.) 1937-38; KU Archives File (Faculty & Staff at the University of Kansas, card catalog file located in the Spencer Research Library) (Faculty & Staff at the University of Kansas, card catalog file located in the Spencer Research Library)
This and over 1,750 other biographies can be found in Biographical Dictionary of Kansas Artists (active before 1945) compiled by Susan V. Craig, Art & Architecture Librarian at University of Kansas.

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