The following was written and compiled by Jean Ershler Schatz, artist and researcher from Laguna Woods, California:
James Chapin was born in West Orange, New York. He was a pupil of the Antwerp Royal Academy and the Society of Independent Painters of America. Not American but post-Impressionist French were the canvases of agile, sensitive James Chapin up to 1924. Cezanne was his idol. That year he left Greenwich Village, took a walking trip in the hills of northern New Jersey. There he found a two-room cabin, decided it would be a quiet place to paint. He rented it for $4 a month from the Marvins, a tight-fisted, hard-working farm family.
Soon Chapin got so absorbed in spare, taciturn, unschooled Emmet, George and Ella Marvin that he stopped painting cubist arrangements of rocks, scaffolding and apple trees, became instead a limner of the United States scene long before it became the popular thing. For five years he sketched them plowing, planting potatoes, etc. meanwhile helping them with the farm chores, which helped gain their confidence in him. The paintings that resulted are strong, bleak and solid as the Jersey hills.
In 1929 he returned to Manhattan, where he painted many other phases of life in the United States. He also devoted one day a week to teaching at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia. In the summer he was associated with Millard Sheets in teaching in the Fine Arts Department of Claremont College in California. He died in 1975.
An Evening in the Studio of James Chapin, American Artist Magazine, May 1941