Richard Ruh Epperly (1891-1973)
Richard Epperly, son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Epperly, was born March 21, 1891 in Tallula, Illinois, a small town just north west of Springfield. He attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago from 1911 to 1914, graduating with honors. Epperly entered military service in 1918, spending the next few years in Liverpool, England and France. Upon his return home, he worked for a number of years as a commercial artist in Chicago until 1929, when he sought further artistic study in Paris with Andre Lhote (1885-1962) and Andre Marchand (1877-1951).
He settled in Oak Park, Illinois in 1941. Having joined the Oak Park Art League in 1937, Epperly eventually served on the league’s board, taught art there, and in 1973, the year of his death, the artist was awarded the group’s President’s Award.
The artist participated in numerous one-man and two-man shows and group exhibitions beginning in 1938. Today he is represented in many private collections as well as the Springfield Art Association (Illinois), the Union League Club of Chicago, the Chicago Athletic Club and the Rotary Club of Australia.
Richard Epperly, an accomplished artist in many area’s, gained his greatest recognition as a portrait painter. Among his commissions were a portrait of Pope John XXIII and the family of former Ambassador Carlos Romulo in the Philippines. He painted in the U.S. from coast to coast, including Chicago and New York City; also in Mexico and in Europe.
The artist had a great love of the beauty of nature. This was reflected in his canvases which also show great versatility in his portraits, still life’s, landscapes and seascapes.
Biographical information excerpted from his obituary, a biography on the reverse of one of his paintings, information from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Illinois Historical Art Project.
Compiled and submitted by Edward P. Bentley, researcher from Lansing, Michigan.