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 William Edwin Henning  (1911 - 1996)

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Lived/Active: Iowa/California      Known for: mural-rural scene, illustrator, cartoon

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William Edwin Henning
An example of work by William Edwin Henning
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, William E Henning became a noted muralist in his region during the 1930s. He was also a writer of short stories and did cartoons and illustrations. From 1932 to 1933, he studied at The Stone City Art Colony and School with Adrian Dornbush and David McCosh. The next year, he received a WPA (Works Progress Administration) commission for a mural at Harrison Elementary School in Cedar Rapids. He named the piece "Transportation," and in design and color was advised by Stone City painter and regionalist, Grant Wood.

In 1937, Henning went to Washington DC briefly as a U.S. State Department appointee and then returned to Cedar Rapids where he worked as administrative assistant for his father at the Cedar Rapids Business College and also taught shorthand. During this time, he received the commission for a WPA mural at the Manchester, Iowa post office, a project he titled "Iowa Farm Life" and completed in 1939.

After that, he focused on short-story writing, art reviews and novels. His writing was published in the "Ladies Home Journal" and novels were titled "The Heller (Scribners, 1947), and "The Haycott Album: A Novel" (J.B. Lippincott) 1956.

Henning's father was a professional in the penmanship industry and had spent many years gathering an extensive collection of handwriting samples from across the globe. Using some of these samples, Henning wrote after his father's death a book dedicated to him titled "An Elegant Hand: The Golden Age of American Penmanship and Calligraphy" (2002), which charts famous artists known for their calligraphy.

Henning also did cartoons and illustrations.

Exhibition venues included the Iowa Art Salon (1931-35); Midwestern Exhibition, Kansas City (1935); the All Iowa Exhibit (Chicago), 1937; Cincinnati Museum of Fine Arts; the Annual Exhibit of American Paintings, Art Institute of Chicago; Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts; and other galleries.

In the early 1970s, Hennings moved to Washington state to pursue his love of outdoor activities including photography. Then he moved to Riverside, California, where he died in 1996.

Peter Falk, "Who Was Who in American Art"

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