Edgar Rupprecht (1889-1954)
The Chicago painter Edgar Rupprecht was born in 1889 in Zanesville, Ohio. Initially, he studied at the Art Institute of Chicago under Harry Wolcott, John Norton, and Karl Buehr. Rupprecht was also influenced by the ultra-conservative Kenyon Cox, who visited Chicago in the spring of 1911 to deliver the famous Scammon lectures. Cox also taught at the Art Institute, where he noticed that students were stressing expression over drawing and design. Thus Rupprecht would have had a taste of strict discipline under Cox, the master draftsman. Rupprecht won the Goodman Prize at the Art Institute in 1922 and the Holmes Prize in the following year. Perhaps Cox’s “Classic Point of View” was not what Rupprecht was looking for, because later in 1925 we find him in Munich at Hans Hoffmann’s Schule für Moderne Kunst (School for Modern Art) under Hofmann himself. Rupprecht must have been one of his favorite students since he became his assistant at The School for Modern Art’s summer sessions at Capri (1925-27) and Saint Tropez (1928-29). The school was closed in 1932 because of the Nazis’ hostility toward intellectuals and avant-garde artists.
Obviously, Rupprecht had a change of heart, for he did not continue down the modernist road. He abandoned his early cubistic works for a more realist-oriented art, though he maintained the practice of outlining forms and abstraction, to a degree. Some works recall Stuart Davis or Raoul Dufy in their spirited contours and the sense of free linear decoration. Rupprecht, however settled on a style that was closer to that Charles Burchfield and other American Scene painters, as he depicted workers in sheds and snapshot-like views of front lawns or cluttered garages with buildings arranged in traditional perspective. The titles of Rupprecht’s works exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago between 1916 and 1948 suggest recognizable (if not strictly realistic) images, such as The Inlet and Setting Sail. Perhaps he, like many others, conformed to the dictates of the Public Works of Art Project during the 1930s, when government officials advised artists to submit only realistic works. Rupprecht was a member of the Chicago Society of Artists and he worked for the Federal Arts Project Easel Division until 1936. In that year he contributed to the Artists of Chicago and Vicinity exhibition.
Who Was Who In American Art
Esther Sparks, A Biographical Dictionary of Painters and Sculptors in Illinois 1808-1945, Diss., Northwestern University, 1971, p. 583;
Louise Dunn Yochim, Role and Impact: The Chicago Society of Artists. Chicago: CSA, 1979;
George J. Mavigliano and Richard A. Lawson, The Federal Art Project in Illinois, 1935-1943. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press, 1989, p. 132.
Submitted by Michael Preston Worley, Ph.D., Art Historian, R.H. Love Galleries, Chicago