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Purple Mountains-Animals Grazing
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|This biography from the Archives of AskART:|
|The following is based on information provided by the artist's
granddaughter, Rebecca Krehbiel Ryan and her husband Donald Ryan, who
have a web site for the artist: www.krehbielart.com|
muralist, and teacher, Albert Krehbiel was highly regarded during his
lifetime but after his death until recently, his reputation lapsed into
near obscurity because he never sold his paintings and stored most of
them in his barn/studio in Park Ridge, Illinois. However, family
members have resurrected the distinction and admiration held for him
during his lifetime. He was an instructor for thirty-nine years at the
Art Institute of Chicago, a Professor at the Armour Institute beginning
1913 until shortly before his death, and a teacher in the architectural
department of the Illinois Institute of Technology. He was also one of
the early eastern artists into New Mexico.
Noted for his
inspired use of color, Krehbiel painted many plein-air landscapes near
his home, in Saugatuck, Michigan, and beginning in the 1920s in New
Mexico. His style began as traditional academic and moved from
impressionism to abstraction.
He was a quiet, unassuming man,
who avoided self promotion. He refused to sell his paintings but did
give them away to family members for special occasions. His
daughter-in-law, Rebecca F. Krehbiel, married to his son, Evans, and her
daughter, Rebecca, have been key persons in the public's rediscovery of
this artist's work.
Albert Krehbiel was born in Denmark, Iowa, and
reared in Newton, Kansas where his father was a buggy maker. In 1895,
he graduated from Bethel College, which his father, John J. Krehbiel,
had co-founded and where the young man studied black-smithing. But
Albert only wanted to paint and draw cartoons, much to the disapproval
of his father.
At the urging of a representative (family legend
is that it was William French, Director of the Chicago Art Institute
who had seen Krehbiel's work in Newton), the young man enrolled at the
Art Institute of Chicago on money his less-than-enthusiastic father
loaned him. In 1903, Krehbiel went to Paris on a traveling scholarship
and was a student of history painter and muralist John Paul Laurens at
the Academy Julian. Laurens espoused strong colors and sharp
perspective in his mural painting, and this approach had a special
influence on Krehbiel who, early in his career, had been influenced by
the somber tones and realism of the French, Spanish, and Dutch Old
Masters. At the Academy, Krehbiel won four gold medals, the largest
number ever awarded an American. He also did a walking/sketching tour
of Spain and was especially taken with the works of Velasquez.
1906, he returned from Paris and married Dulah Marie Evans, a student
at the Institute and an established commercial artist in Chicago.
the Illinois state Supreme Court Building in Springfield, he, having
been chosen by a unanimous decision of the selection committee,
executed thirteen murals, Allegories of Justice. The work was a
blending of Midwestern themes with the European tradition of mural
painting. In 1983, Lizabeth Wilson wrote a paper titled Allegories of
Justice: The Krehbiel Murals in the Supreme Court. Presented at the
Tenth Meeting of the Midwest Art Historical Society in Iowa City in
1983, it is a source of excellent information about Krehbiel and the
creation of the murals.
Krehbiel and his wife built a home in
Park Ridge and bought the lot next door to build a studio to
accommodate the mural painting process. Dulah served as his research
assistant and model, often posing in Grecian gowns and robes that she
designed herself. To get large enough canvases, they imported them from
Paris, and he rigged up a system of pulleys and scaffolds for hanging
and rolling the canvasses. He spent much time on research and planning
his allegorical depictions, and the project took him four years, 1907
Of the final result, Lizabeth Wilson wrote: "Albert
Krehbiel was not only triumphant in incorporating the wishes of the
State, more importantly, he gave the People of Illinois noble and
dignified paintings, 'allegories of justice,' which were reflective of
the great European tradition of mural decoration, affectionate of the
Midwestern spirit and character and respectful of the American
His success with public art led to his commission for the murals in the Juvenile Court chambers of Chicago.
the summers of 1922 and 1923, Krehbiel painted in Santa Fe, New Mexico,
and it is likely that his wife, who had earlier visited New Mexico
pueblos, suggested these visits to her husband. However, he traveled
there alone and was given a studio as a visiting artist by the New
Mexico Museum in the historic Palace of the Governors. His studio was
next to that of Robert Henri, but Krehbiel was not a social being and
reportedly kept to himself and worked long hours. He painted
Southwestern subjects including horses and riders, native residents,
wagons, and mules as well as landscapes. In 1923, he entered four
paintings in the "Fiesta Exhibition" at the Museum of New Mexico in
Santa Fe. The first public exhibition of his Santa Fe works was held at
the Gerald Peters Gallery in Santa Fe, August and September 1996.
1926, he moved briefly to Saugatuck, Michigan where for six succeeding
years, he took over instruction of the landscape classes at the art
colony there. Saugatuck was a summer extension of the Art Institute of
He died in Evanston, Illinois, on June 29, 1945, the day of his retirement from the Art Institute.
exhibition venues include the Salon des Artists in France, the Art
Institute of Chicago, and the Union League Club. From the Art Institute
of Chicago, he received the Municipal Art League Prize for Landscape
and the Carr Prize. His private papers are microfilmed in the Archives
of American Art at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC., and
original papers are in the Ryerson and Burnham Libraries of The Art
Institute of Chicago.
The artist is referenced in: The Journal
of the Illinois State Historical Society, Spring 1984; in an article
titled "Albert Henry Krehbiel, 1873-1945, Early American Impressionist"
by Lizabeth Wilson, Carolyn Taitt, and Rebecca Krehbiel; and The
(Illinois) State Journal Register, Springfield, Illinois, 9/27/1980,
'The Court of A. Krehbiel, A niche in the landscape of Illinois art;"
"Archives of American Art," Smithsonian Institution, 1991; Archives of
American Art Journal, Midwest section by Betty Blum, V. 27, #3, 1987,
The Architectural Record; January 1908; "Mural Paintings and Bad Boys"
(Article on Krehbiel's Chicago Juvenile Court Murals on pages 77 and 78).
El Palacio; Vol. 5, No. 13; October 19, 1918: "Great City Bows to Sentiment";
Art and Architecture section. (Krehbiel on page 217).
El Palacio is published by the Museum of New Mexico and the School of
El Palacio; Vol. 5, No. 17; November 16, 1918; "High School Purchases
Painting"; Art and Architecture Section. (Krehbiel on page 277).
El Palacio; Vol. 8, No. 1-2; January 31, 1920; "Art Exhibit at El Paso";
Community Planning section. (Krehbiel on page 51).
El Palacio; Vol. 10, No. 3; January 22, 1921; "Exhibit of Chicago Artists";
Museums and Galleries section. (Krehbiel on page 6).
El Palacio, Vol. 15, No. 6, September 15, 1923; "Exhibition of Paintings by
Artists of New Mexico"; Fiesta Exhibition, Including The Eleventh Annual
Exhibit of Taos Society of Artists, September 3 to 17, 1923, Museum of New
Mexico, Santa Fe. (Krehbiel on page 98).
El Palacio, Vol. 20, No. 4, February 15, 1926; "Hennings Awarded Prize;" Artists and Exhibits section. (Krehbiel on page 89).
|Exhibition Record (Museums, Institutions and Awards): |
American Art Association, 1905; Salon des Artistes Francais, 1905; Museo Nacional de Pintura y Escultura, 1906; Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, 1923, 1928 & 1931; National Society of Mural Painters, 1925; thirty-two exhibitions at the Art Institute of Chicago between 1906-1939; 15th McPherson Exhibition (Catalogue of the Annual Art Exhibit. McPherson: McPherson High School Press, 1911-35) 1925; 17th McPherson Exhibition (Catalogue of the Annual Art Exhibit. McPherson: McPherson High School Press, 1911-35) 1927; Gerald Peters Gallery, 1996.
Cliff Dwellers; Chicago Painters and Sculptors; Mural Painters of New York; Chicago Galleries Association
|This biography from the Archives of AskART:|
|Born Denmark, IA, 1873; died Evanston, IL, June 29, 1945. Painter. Muralist Teacher. Family moved to Newton in 1879 where his father was a carriage and buggy maker. Krehbiel graduated from Bethel College, Newton in 1897, the Topeka School of Design and Painting, and the Art Institute of Chicago from 1897-1902. In 1903 he traveled to Europe to study at the Académie Julian with Jean Paul Laurens. Returned to Chicago in 1906 and began work on the thirteen murals commissioned for the Illinois state Supreme Court Building and to teach at the Art Institute for the next 39 years. He also taught at the Saugatuck Michigan School of Summer Painting, the Armour Institute, and at the Illinois Institute of Technology. Beginning in the 1920s, he regularly visited New Mexico and occupied a studio next to Robert Henri.|
Prix de Rome; Municipal League Prize for Landscape; Cahn Prize, 1922.
Murals in the Illinois Supreme Court Building; Art Institute of Chicago; De Young Museum; Block Art Museum; Amon Carter Museum; Dubuque Museum of Art; John Vanderpoel Art Association Snow;
Cliff Dwellers; Chicago Painters and Sculptors; Mural Painters of New York; Chicago Galleries Association
Susan Craig, "Biographical Dictionary of Kansas Artists (active before 1945)"
Sandzén archives; J. of the Illinois State Historical Society (Spring 1984); AskArt, "http://www.askart.com" www.askart.com , Accessed Dec. 16, 2005; Guinan, Robert. Krehbiel, Life and Works of an American Artist. (Washington, D.C.: Regnery Gateway, 1991); Whitney, Catherine. Albert Krehbiel: Santa Fe works. (Santa Fe, NM: Gerald Peters Gallery, 1996)
|This and over 1,750 other biographies can be found in Biographical Dictionary of Kansas Artists (active before 1945) compiled by Susan V. Craig, Art & Architecture Librarian at University of Kansas.|
|Biography from The Krehbiel Corporation:|
|Albert Henry Krehbiel, one of seven children, was born in Denmark, Iowa, in 1873 and moved with his family to Newton, Kansas, in 1879, where his father was a prominent Mennonite layman, prosperous carriage and buggy maker, and later a co-founder of Bethel College. Krehbiel graduated from Bethel College in Newton and studied for a year at the School of Design and Painting in Topeka, Kansas. In 1898, Art Institute of Chicago Director William Merchant Richardson French discovered Krehbiel's talents while on a lecture tour in Newton and encouraged him to further pursue a career in art by enrolling at The Art Institute. Heeding Mr. French's advice, he labored for the next four years at The Art Institute as a student and in the fifth year, as a drawing instructor. In 1902, Krehbiel was granted an American Traveling Scholarship by The Art Institute to study abroad. |
Arriving in Holland on July 23rd, 1903, Krehbiel landed in Paris at the end of September to study at the Academie Julian under muralist and history painter, Jean-Paul Laurens. In 1905, two of Krehbiel's neoclassical works were accepted for exhibition at the Exposition Annuelle des Beaux-Arts Salon at the Salon Des Artistes Francais (also known as the Paris Salon) 123rd exposition. Between winter sessions at the Academie Julian, Krehbiel spent his summers traveling throughout France and Holland (often with his friend and fellow artist, Joseph Raphael), sketching the local citizens in their daily routine of work and at rest. Krehbiel would reproduce many of the sketches as oils on canvas when back in Paris.
During his last year abroad, Krehbiel made a walking and painting tour of Spain and, upon receiving special permission from Museo Del Prado in Madrid, he created several studies first hand of works done by Diego Velazquez. (Nine of the studies were later shown at The Art Institute of Chicago's Exhibition of Artists' Copies of Old Masters in 1910). Throughout his three-year stay in Europe, Krehbiel won four gold medals at the Academie Julian (the only American ever to have done so) as well as the coveted Prix de Rome and other prizes and honors, including the awarded permanent placement of one of his works on the school's walls. Returning to the United States in 1906, Krehbiel rejoined the faculty of The Art Institute of Chicago at the urging of Mr. French. That same year, he married his Art Institute classmate, Dulah Marie Evans, also a highly talented artist.
While maintaining a full-time teaching schedule at The Art Institute in 1906, Krehbiel received the commission to design and paint the murals for the walls of the Juvenile Court Room in Chicago. In 1907, having completed the Juvenile Court murals, Krehbiel also entered works in the competition to design and paint the eleven wall and two ceiling murals for the Supreme and Appellate Court Rooms at the Illinois Supreme Court Building in Springfield, the state's capitol. A total of twenty-two designs were submitted from some of the best artists throughout the United States. The Jury of Awards was unanimous in granting the commission to Albert H. Krehbiel with his mural designs depicting the Origin, Function, and Continuity of Law using allegorical and mythological figures.
Reducing his teaching schedule to summer sessions only, Krehbiel and his wife spent several years on the research, preparation, and composition of the Illinois Supreme Court murals. They purchased a vacant lot next to their home in Park Ridge (a suburb north of Chicago), had a barn moved onto the property, and converted it into a studio. Large canvases were ordered from Paris and pulleys and scaffolds were constructed for the hanging and rolling of the canvases. Dulah created Grecian gowns and robes, posing in them so that the draping would appear authentic. When completed in 1911, the canvases were transported to Springfield and installed. Mr. W. Carby Zimmerman, architect of the Supreme Court Building, considered the work done by Krehbiel to be "an example of the best mural painting ever executed in the West."
Krehbiel returned to full time instruction at the Art Institute in 1911, teaching young students about the use of color, design, and space. In 1913, he also joined the faculty of the Armour Institute of Technology (later named the Illinois Institute of Technology) as an instructor of architectural drawing. It is here that Krehbiel later, in 1939, developed a close friendship with Armour Institute Director, fellow Cliff Dwellers member, and famous architect, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, who had arrived in Chicago from Germany the previous year. Speaking in German, at which Albert was fluent, they would frequently discuss their work over martinis at the Cliff Dwellers, with Ludwig puffing away at a cigar and Krehbiel smoking his pipe.
In 1918 and 1919, Krehbiel summered at an art colony in Santa Monica, California, with Dulah, Evans (their son and only child), and Dulah's sister, Mayetta, where he painted impressionistic high-keyed shoreline views while Dulah painted her son and sister in various settings. In the early 1920s, Krehbiel - again traveling with Dulah, Evans, and Mayetta - spent summers in Santa Fe, New Mexico, as an exhibiting member of the Santa Fe Art Colony. There, he produced many brightly hued pastels, watercolors, and oil paintings of the surrounding landscape and local culture in sun-drenched color and loose-forms. Krehbiel was wellknown and highly regarded as an artist in Santa Fe as well as in Chicago during these years -- so much so that the Museum of New Mexico provided him with a studio in the historic Palace of the Governors next door to his contemporary, famed Ashcan realist Robert Henri.
Krehbiel had associations and exhibitions with many other artists of the Santa Fe Art Colony and the Taos Society of Artists such as Victor Higgins, Earnest Blumenschein, John Sloan, Gustave Baumann, Raymond Johnson, and Stuart Davis. In 1926, Krehbiel helped pioneer the Chicago Art Institute Summer School of Painting (later named Ox-Bow School) in Saugatuck, Michigan, where he spent most of the balance of his summers teaching and painting. In 1934, he opened his own summer school of art there called the AK Studio. When able to free himself from his students in Saugatuck, Krehbiel painted many scenes overlooking the Kalamazoo River and the neighboring rolling hills using different mediums. He also had several occasions in the winters to visit and portray the area in its vast and billowing cover of snow. Throughout the years when at home in Illinois, Krehbiel painted continuously. From his historic Chicago street and river scenes and his rural and wooded presentations of Midwest forests and the hills and valleys of Galena to his synchromistic figure compositions, he painted incessantly and in all seasons without regard for the elements.
Albert Henry Krehbiel passed away suddenly on June 29, 1945, from a heart attack while preparing for a road trip with his son, Evans, to visit relatives in Kansas. His death occurred on the very day of his retirement from teaching at the Illinois Institute of Technology, although he had agreed to stay on at The Art Institute of Chicago for one more year.
During his prolific career, Krehbiel had his works shown in a multitude of exhibitions, including the American Art Association (Paris, 1905), Salon Des Artistes Francais (Paris, 1905), Museo Nacional de Pintura Y. Escultura (Madrid, 1906), the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (1923, 1928, and 1931), the Fiesta Exhibition of Paintings by Artists of New Mexico at the Museum of New Mexico in Santa Fe (1923), the First Exhibition of the National Society of Mural Painters at the Buffalo Fine Arts Academy Albright Art Gallery (Buffalo, New York, 1925), and a total of thirty-two exhibitions at The Art Institute of Chicago from 1906 through 1939. In addition to those previously mentioned, Krehbiel had exhibitions with many other notable artists of his day such as George Bellows (McPherson, Kansas, in 1918) and B.J.O. Nordfeldt, Marsden Hartley, and Sheldon Parsons (El Paso, Texas, in 1920).
Krehbiel was a member of the Cliff Dwellers, Chicago Painters and Sculptors, Mural Painters of New York, and the Chicago Galleries Association. In addition to his earlier awards for painting, he won the Clyde Carr Prize, the Martin B. Cahn Prize for Best Painting, the American Artists Exhibit of Landscapes Award, the Mrs. William H. Thompson Prize, and the Municipal Art League Prize for Landscapes. Many of Krehbiel's works are held in private collections throughout the world as well as in the collections of The Art Institute of Chicago, M.H. de Young Museum in San Francisco, Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, the John Vanderpoel Art Association in Chicago, Illinois, Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth, Texas, Dubuque Museum of Art in Dubuque, Iowa, and The Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway Company in Fort Worth, Texas. Krehbiel has work listed in the Smithsonian Institution Inventories of American Paintings and Sculpture and selected archival material on Krehbiel's career is available at the Smithsonian Institution Archives of American Art in Washington, D. C., as well as at The Art Institute of Chicago's Ryerson and Burnham Libraries and at fine art libraries throughout the country.
|Biography from Suttons Bay Galleries:|
|Suttons Bay Galleries has a wide selection of Krehbiel's works, obtained directly from the his estate. The artistic style of Albert Henry Krehbiel personifies the historical movements that took place in twentieth century art. His academic training took him from the Art Institute of Chicago to the Academie Julian in Paris, where he won four gold medals, a feat rarely accomplished by any artist from America. |
At the Academie Julian, Krehbiel was taught to study and imitate the achievements of the classical past. But at the same time during those early years of the twentieth century, Krehbiel also appreciated the contributions being made by the emerging modern movement then taking place around him in Paris, a revolutionary perspective of art that included Matisse, Roualt, Derain, Dufy and Picasso. Krehbiel in his art reconciled both schools creating a singular dynamic style that makes his art so exciting to view today.
Krehbiel taught at the Art Institute of Chicago and at the Saugatuck Michigan School of Summer Painting, where he became one of the leaders of that village's famed art community.
In addition to his works being being found in many corporate and private collections, he is also noted for the murals he painted for the ceiling panels at the Illinois Supreme Court Building in Springfield.
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