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 Frederick Knecht Detwiller  (1882 - 1953)

About: Frederick Knecht Detwiller
 

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Lived/Active: New York/Maine      Known for: rural and urban scene painting, printmaking

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Frederick Knecht Detweiller is primarily known as Frederick Knecht Detwiller

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Frederick Knecht Detwiller
An example of work by Frederick Knecht Detweiller
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
A painter of rural and urban scenes, in watercolor and oil, Frederick Detwiller had studios in New York City; New Harbor, Maine and Easton, Pennsylvania. Early in his adult life he practiced law in New York City, at the wish of his parents, but following his talents and inclinations, he enrolled at Columbia University to study art and architecture.

In 1910, he went to Paris, where Victor Lalou, who was President of the Paris Salon, advised him to focus exclusively on painting. Detwiller enrolled at the Ecole des Beaux Arts* from 1910 to 1911, and returning to Paris in 1914, enrolled at the Academie Colorossi*.  He also attended the Instituti de Belli Arti in Florence and then traveled around the world to study the art of other civilizations.

The outbreak of World War I caused him to return to the United States in 1914. He began a two-year study at the Art Students League in New York and established his studio in the Carnegie Hall Building. He painted many views of the city, which are considered to be among the best examples of his painting. He regarded New York "as a gigantic moving force propelled by the action of many minds". (Oldach) He was not interested in pretty pictures but in the underlying realities that produced both beauty and ugliness.

Detwiller also painted rural landscapes, many with old structures, including in Maine, New Jersey, Alaska, Mexico and Pennsylvania.  In 1938, he was in British Columbia as a guest artist of the Canadian Pacific Railroad Company to depict the geography and the culture of the Nimpkesh Indians.

Detwiller was a teacher, involving himself in a System of Graphic Art Education of lectures and exhibitions with the goal of elevating the status of art in America to the degree he perceived in Europe. He was a member of numerous associations including the National Academy of Design*, the Brooklyn Watercolor Club, the Society of Independent Artists*, and the Paris Art Association. He served as the President of the Allied Artists of America* from 1943 to 1945.

He co-authored Prominent Americans of Swiss Origin (1932), and was author of The Story of a Statue in 1943. Illustration work included The Print Connoisseur and other art publications. From 1948 until his death in 1953, he was resident artist at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania.

Sources:

Dorothy M. Oldach, "Frederick Knecht Detwiller", Number Four of a Series of Folders on Contemporary Art of the Brooklyn Globe Crayon Company, Courtesy of Sidney Hamper, President of the Vanderpoel Art Association.

David Dearinger, Editor, Paintings and Sculpture in the Collection of the National Academy of Design

Peter Hastings Falk, Editor, Who Was Who in American Art

* For more in-depth information about these terms and others, see AskART.com Glossary http://www.askart.com/AskART/lists/Art_Definition.aspx


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