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 Gerrit Van Sinclair  (1890 - 1955)

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Lived/Active: Illinois/Wisconsin/Michigan      Known for: narrative genre, landscape and figure painting, teaching

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Garrett W. (Van) Sinclair is primarily known as Gerrit Van Sinclair

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Ad Code: 3
Gerrit Van Sinclair
from Auction House Records.
Evening at the Beach
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
A painter and teacher at the Layton School of Art in Milwaukee, Wisconsin from 1921 to the 1950s, Gerrit Van Sinclair was born in Grand Haven, Michigan.  He studied with John Vanderpoel at the Art Institute of Chicago, and exhibited widely including the National Academy of Design, Corcoran Gallery Biennials, and Carnegie Institute.

Source: Peter Falk, Who Was Who in American Art

Biography from Williams American Art Galleries:
Gerrit Van Sinclair was born in Grand Haven, Michigan in 1890.  He studied art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago from 1910 to 1915.  His best known teachers at the Art Institute were John Vanderpoel and John Norton.  In 1917 the artist enlisted in the Army Ambulance Corps and served in northern Italy and Austria.  Scenes from his experience abroad are recorded in his works of the early 1920s. 

Following the war, Sinclair settled in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he became a member of the faculty of the Layton School of Art upon the school’s founding in 1920.  He continued to teach at the Layton School and at the Oxbow Summer School of Art in Saugatuck, Michigan until his retirement in 1954.  Sinclair is recognized both as an important artist and teacher from the Great Lakes region.  During his lifetime Sinclair’s paintings were exhibited at the Salon d’Automne in Paris, the Whitney Museum in New York, the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh, the Art Institute of Chicago and in many other museums and galleries.  He received numerous prizes and commissions for his work including a W.P.A. mural commission for the Federal Building in Wassau, Wisconsin. 

His style is a blend of realism and Impressionism but is clearly modern in its abstract concern for composition and color.  Sinclair is best known for his regionalist paintings of rural and urban Wisconsin.  His farm scene entitled ”Spring in Wisconsin” was exhibited at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York.  Gerrit V. Sinclair died in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1955.

Art Institute of Chicago 1910 - 1915 with Vanderpoel, Walcott and Norton

Instructor of Art, Layton School of Art,  Milwaukee, 1920 - 1954
Instructor of Art, Oxbow Summer School of Art, Saugatuck, MI, 1950s   

Selected Solo Exhibitions:
Milch Galleries, New York; Irving Galleries, Milwaukee; Dorothy Bradley Gallery, Milwaukee; Layton School of Art, Milwaukee; Milwaukee Art Institute, Milwaukee; The Fine Art Galleries, University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

Selected Group Exhibitions:   
Salon d’Automne, Paris;  Milwaukee Art Institute; Salon Printemps, Paris; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D. C.; Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh; Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago;         
World’s Fair, New York, 1939      
National Academy of Design, New York   
Boston Museum, Boston
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, Philadelphia

Patrick & Beatrice Haggerty Museum, Marquette University               
Brooklyn Museum of Art  

Sources include:
Falk, Who Was Who in American Art
Hall, Gerrit V. Sinclair: Barbizon Ghosts in the Dairy State
Hall, Painters of the Great Lakes: Highlights from the Inlander Collection of Great Lakes Regional Painting
Hall, A Place in Time: the Inlander Collection of Great Lakes Regional Painting, 1913-1958
Hall and Glascock, Great Lakes Muse, American Scene Painting in the Upper Midwest 1910-1960
Opitz (ed.), Mantle Fielding’s Dictionary of American Painters, Sculptors, and Engravers
West Bend Art Museum,  Wisconsin Art History: Foundations of Art in Wisconsin
Becker, Art for the People:  The Rediscovery and Preservation of Progressive- and WPA-Era Murals in the Chicago Public Schools 1904-1943

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