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 Franklin C. Courter  (1854 - 1947)

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Lived/Active: Michigan/New Jersey      Known for: portrait and landscape painting

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Ad Code: 4
Franklin C Courter
from Auction House Records.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN,
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
An artist who specialized in portraits and landscapes, Franklin C. Courter was born in Caldwell Township, later incorporated as Cedar Grove, Essex County, New Jersey, on July 20, 1854.  He was the second son of Henry and Alice (Bowden) Courter.  The first fourteen years of his life were passed on the farm where he was born.  In 1868, four years after his mother’s death, the family, consisting of five boys and their father, moved to Greenville, Michigan.  Courter worked for several years in the office of the Register of Deeds at Stanton, Michigan, and also taught in the local public school for two terms.  In 1873, Courter enrolled at the Albion Preparatory School of Albion College where, in addition to his regular studies, he devoted time to art under H.A. Mills, who later became head of the art department of De Pauw University.

The artist married Minnie A. Foote of Battle Creek, Michigan, in September of 1877 and settled there a short time later.  He was appointed Professor of Drawing and Painting in Albion College in 1888, and between 1891 and 1894 was head of the art department.  He left the academic world in 1896 to accept a position as art director for the Austin Manufacturing Company in Harvey, Illinois, where he remained for three years.  Courter then returned to his boyhood home in New Jersey where he spent the remainder of his life.

Portraits by Courter include numerous studies of Abraham Lincoln and also two of 'Sojourner Truth'; one, “Abraham Lincoln with Sojourner Truth,” was exhibited in the Michigan Building at the World’s Columbian exposition of 1893 in Chicago.  The artist also did several of Dr. W.K. Kellogg of the Kellogg Foundation of Battle creek, Michigan. 

Courter was a member of the American Academy and also devoted himself to collecting anything to do with Lincoln, including photos and life and death masks.  He was always available to give talks on this favorite subject.

During his days as instructor for Albion College, Courter had some remarkable pupils, including Glen Newall, noted for his Liberty Bond posters, and Lynn Bogue Hunt, who later became a famous wild life illustrator.  

Hale and hearty into old age, Franklin C. Courter died on Christmas Day, 1947.


Submitted February 2007 by Edward Bentley, Art Collector and Researcher from Lansing, Michigan.

Sources include:
"Albion and Lincoln", Albion College Bulletin, February, 1941
“Franklin C. Courter,” Early Michigan Paintings, Michigan State University exhibition catalog, 1976
“Courter, Franklin C.”  The National Cyclopedia of American Biography, 1907, p.475
“Mainly About Folks,” Battle Creek Enquirer and Evening News, April 21, 1940, p.8
“Frank Courter, Former Resident, Artist, Dies,” Obituary, Battle Creek Enquirer and Evening News, January 6, 1948


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