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 Charles Shepard Chapman  (1879 - 1962)

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Lived/Active: New Jersey/New York      Known for: illustration, landscape and genre painting

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Charles Shepard Chapman
An example of work by Charles Shepard Chapman
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Morristown, New York, Charles Chapman was a noted teacher, painter, and illustrator who, although he often claimed he was self-taught, was educated at Pratt Institute*, and in 1899 at William Merritt Chase's New York School of Art* in New York City.  He was highly influenced by the famed western artist Frederic Remington.  One of his techniques he described was painting with "Water-Oils", where he floated oil paint on water on paper, and then laid paper over the floating design, which left an abstract affect. 

He became an instructor at the Art Students League* in New York and was also a book illustrator.   With Harvey Dunn, he opened a school of illustration in Leonia, New Jersey, and shared a studio there with artist Howard McCormick.  In 1901, he met Remington.

Chapman specialized in landscapes, and although he spent most of his life in the East, he traveled extensively in the West, especially Wyoming and Arizona where a frequent subject was the Grand Canyon.  In 1938, he spent a month at the Canyon and also painted ranch landscapes and in the Snowy Range of Wyoming.

To prepare himself to do forest paintings, he worked in a lumber camp 90 miles north of Ottawa, Canada, and in 1923, made a trip to the Redwoods in California.

In the 1930s, he was commissioned by the Museum of Natural History in New York to paint a thirty-by-thirty-foot mural of the Grand Canyon as a background for the Puma group exhibit.  He camped for several weeks at the rim of the Canyon while he worked on this project.

In 1941, he taught during the summer at the University of Wyoming, and later he and his wife rented a cabin at Jackson, Wyoming.  He also painted murals for the American Museum of Natural History and a West Virginia Post Office.

His wife Ada, to whom he was married more than fifty years, wrote in 1964 a biography of his life.  He was a member of the Salmagundi Club* and won all its major prizes and was also a member of the National Academy of Design, winning exhibition prizes in 1917, 1921 and 1924.  His painting, In The Deep Woods is at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Sources include:
Walt Reed, The Illustrator in America, 1860-2000
Doris Dawdy, Artists of the American West, Vol. III

* For more in-depth information about these terms and others, see Glossary

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following is from Neysa A. Westman, who as a young child, knew the artist:

My mother lived with Charles S. Chapman and his wife, Ada, from 1934 to 1944. Although she is not related to them, they treated her as a daughter, as they had no children.  The Chapmans and my mother's family were good friends.

After reading your entries on Charles S. Chapman, my 85 year-old mother wanted me to e-mail you to correct some things.  She is sure of these facts.

Charles Chapman was educated at Ogdensburg High School in Ogdensburg, NY.  After high school he attended Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY and when funds were not available for him to continue, he then attended William Merritt Chase's Art School (Chase School of Art).  In 1902 Chapman went into the Canadian woods to paint the trees and snow.  As his job there was a culler, a measurer of logs, he painted when he wasn't working.  He documented this year, which we have the diary of.  He stayed at the following places: Notre Dame Du laus, Iroquois Farm, Buckingham, Thurso.

Charles Chapman did meet Frederick Remington but did not spend several weeks with him in Bermuda. Chapman did however, go to the U.S. Virgin Islands. My mother has pictures.

In the late 1930s early 1940s Chapman painted the mural for the Museum of Natural History. We know these dates because my mother was with him when he did this.

When Chapman went to the rim of the Canyon for several weeks, his wife was not with him. She was with my mother.

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at

Charles Chapman is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
San Francisco Panama-Pacific Exhibition 1915
Painters of Grand Canyon

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