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 James Edwin McBurney  (1868 - 1955)

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Lived/Active: Illinois/California/Ohio      Known for: genre, mural, portrait, landscape

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James Edwin McBurney
An example of work by James Edwin McBurney
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
A painter, illustrator and muralist, James McBurney was born in Lore City, Ohio.  He studied in New York at the Pratt Institute and with John Twachtmann and Charles Davis, and in Philadelphia at the Drexel Institute and the Brandywine School of Art with Howard Pyle.  He then went to Paris where he enrolled in the Academies Colarossi and Castelucho.

From 1901 to 1913, he was in Los Angeles where he gave private lessons and taught at a local highschool.  One of his students was California artist Mable Alvarez.  He also conducted art classes at Laguna Beach, which along with other artists' summer classes helped develop the art colony at Laguna Beach.  He was also a muralist in the 1915 Pan American Exposition in San Francisco.

In 1919, he left California to teach briefly at the A.E.F. University in Beaune, France, and then went to Chicago, where he had an opportunity to paint murals.  Working there until his death on March 2, 1955, he founded an art school, was Art Director for the Chicago Art District and for the City Parks and Recreation, and was active in the WPA Mural projects that have been rediscovered and are being restored in recent years in Chicago.

In Chicago, his murals are in the Palmer Park Field House, Woodlawn National Bank, Parkside School, Wentworth School, Scott School, and Tilden Technical School. Murals are also at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and the State Agricultural Expo Building in Dubuque, Iowa.

Affiliations included the California Art Club and the Cliff Dwellers in Chicago.  He exhibited with the Pan-Pacific Exposition in 1915 in San Francisco.

Edan Hughes, Artists in California, 1786-1940
Peter Falk, Who Was Who in American Art
Treadway Toomey Galleries
Irvine Museum, Impressions of California: Early Currents in Art 1850-1930
Information and book references, courtesy Jesse A Gayer

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at

James McBurney is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
The California Art Club
San Francisco Panama-Pacific Exhibition 1915

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