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 Gustave A. Brand  (1862 - 1944)

About: Gustave A. Brand


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Lived/Active: Illinois / Germany      Known for: mural painting, public building decoration

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Gustave Brand was born in Germany in 1862. The talent for painting and drawing shown very early in life brought him to the attention of the Duke of Mecklenburg who secured for him scholarships to the Academies of Berlin, Munich and Duesseldorf. His interests were in portraiture until he became fascinated with mural painting. Later he was engaged on great heroic paintings for the National Armory at Berlin.

In 1887-88, Gustave Brand was engaged with one of his former teachers to paint the historic scenes of the great panorama, The Battle of Gettysburg.' The great picture was brought to Chicago in 1890 and exhibited in a circular building at Seventh and Wabash Avenue. The German Government decided to be a prominent exhibitor at the World's Columbian Exposition* of 1893 in Chicago, and it was Gustave Brand who won the coveted opportunity to design the interior and execute the murals for the German Building.  He then came to Chicago and as he said, "I erected my tent in Jackson Park, in a new city, in a new country which soon became my city and my country, beloved and revered."

During his forty-eight years in Chicago, Gustave Brand has taken an active interest in civic affairs. He has been a booster, and an ardent believer in the future greatness of his chosen city. In 1931, he installed in Washington, D.C. the great French panorama*, Pantheon de la Guerre, which the French Government had sent to the United States for exhibition purposes. In 1933, he brought this great picture of the World War to the Century of Progress* in Chicago. He later superintended its installation in San Francisco, and its return to France. From 1935 to 1939 he was City Treasurer, and filled his office with conscientious honesty and ability.

Hundreds of murals have gone out of his studio - for banks, public and fraternal buildings, churches, and theaters. Among these many murals, special mention should be made of the murals in the Boston Library, those in the Auditorium Theater in Chicago and his Lincoln Picture in Judge John Lupe's Courtroom. Mrs. Brand loves to tell how each and every one of his works has been produced with same meticulous care, whether it was a bouquet of meadow flowers or a huge historic panorama - and how enthusiastic each project made him to go on, and on.

Mr. Brand, at seventy-eight, still takes an energetic interest in Chicago's civic affairs, for, he says, "I am eternally grateful to Chicago, my adopted City." He is a moving spirit in the Germania Club and the Chicago Singverein for the promotion of German Culture and German music. He continues to paint, and keeps up a lively participation in school and club activities. It was this phase of his many-sided life which induced him to become our guide and mentor. His help was immeasurable and the inspiration of his presence, inestimable, and as Milton would say, "His golden days were fruitful of golden deeds."

Submitted by Gene Meier

Reprinted from "Our Library Murals: Carl Schurz High School", June 11, 1940. Washburne Trade School Press.

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These Notes from AskART represent the beginning of a possible future biography for this artist. Please click here if you wish to help in its development:
A mural painter and decorator of churches and other buildings, he was Chairman of the Chicago Art Commission in the mid 1930s, and he was active with the Colombian Exposition in Chicago in 1893.  He had studied in Germany.

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

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