|This biography from the Archives of AskART:|
|John H. Drury, a noted early Chicago artist who was for many years in
the forefront of Illinois art, was born in Washington, D.C., on June
30, 1816. He was the first of seven children born to Samuel and
Mary (Nolan) Drury. His father was, for many years, a justice of
the peace in high standing. After being educated in the district
schools of his native city, John Drury went into the dry goods
business, and then for several years was in the Post Office Department
At an early age, he displayed a strong artistic talent and was never
without his pencil or brush. His first regular lessons were taken from
Thomas Doughty, at that time one of the best-known landscape artists in
the country. In July of 1857, Drury was issued his passport and
left America for study in Europe. He finally settled in Paris
where he received instruction under Thomas Couture for three
years. Returning to his native land in 1860, the artist spent
time in New York and Washington where he was a member of the Washington
Art Association. Soon after the outbreak of the Civil War the
artist moved his home - he had married Mary C. Donelan of Boston in
1845 - to Chicago where he opened his studio in the Crosby Opera House.
In January of 1871, with the completion of the new Academy of Design
building, Drury was appointed Professor of Drawing and Painting and
given studio #10 on the fourth floor facing Adams Street. While
many of his paintings were lost in the Great Chicago Fire in October of
that same year, the artist continued to work at his profession, doing
excellent work in cattle and pastoral scenes and figure painting.
Drury exhibited numerous times in the Art Hall of the Inter-State
Industrial Building in Chicago, showing nine paintings between 1875 and
1885. Designed primarily for the exhibition of industrial and
agricultural goods, the Exposition had exhibitions of painting, drawing
and sculpture throughout the years of its existence, 1873 – 1891.
The artist returned to Washington, D.C. often and settled in the city
again permanently in 1905. He died there on March 19, 1914.
Submitted October 2005 by Edward S. Bentley, Researcher from Lansing, Michigan.
History of Chicago, 1885, by A.T. Andreas
“The Chicago Academy of Design,” The Art Review, January, 1871, pp. 14-15
The Artists of Washington, D.C., Virgil E. McMahan, 1995
Miss Kathleen Bowen, genealogy of the Drury family
Correspondence between Mr. Consentino of the National Museum of
American Art and Mr. J. Zywicki, Curator of Paintings and Sculpture at
the Chicago Historical Society
The artist's death certificate.
The Chicago Historical Society has a beautiful work by Drury titled: Rocky Mountain Scenery.
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