The following information was written and submitted in November of 2006 by Jim Kieley:Ezra Winter was born in Michigan in 1886, and experienced a typical childhood while growing up in a small town atmosphere. After completing the required education at the area local schools he applied to Olivet College and was accepted. After graduation from Olivet, he made plans to attend The Chicago Academy of Fine Arts* (1908 while in his early twenties).
The curriculum at the Academy was somewhat rigid, and based on the Académique methods of the European Ateliers*. Like many other serious students, he spent long hours copying from plaster casts, and was required to make laborious studies that would superficially imitate the effects of light and shade. After satisfactory completion of the rigid curriculum prescribed, they would be allowed to matriculate to the life class.
Fortified with a good education, Winter traveled to Europe where he broadened his scope by observing and exploring a mélange of technical practices.
Winter entered the competition for the coveted Prix de Rome*. His entry was selected by the committee. As a successful candidate he was eligible to receive a stipend that sustained his tuition and living expenses for three years. The experience in Rome also allowed him to concentrate on the disciplines and techniques of mural painting.
Having traveled extensively, the artist made a decision to return to the United States. He set up a studio in New York City, where he produced some easel paintings of merit, but started focusing on a career dedicated to mural painting.
Most of his work was conceived and painted in the studio, and when finished, the made-to-scale works were installed in their respective locations. The canvas was secured to the designated surfaces by applying a thin coating of white lead to make the works adhere to the surface. This technique is known as Marouflage*. Usually the artist would personally supervise the workman during the installation.
Ezra Winter was extremely successful in his lifetime. He was unanimously elected to full membership of the American National Academy* (1924) He was an active member of the National Society of Mural Painters*.
Photos on record portray the artist as extremely handsome very confident and self assured. This artist could command as much as $100.000 for his historical dramas, which was considered an incredible sum in the economically though times of the 1930s.
His works were commissioned and displayed in some of the most prominent institutions throughout the country. Some great examples of Winter's beautiful murals can be found in New York City at The Cunard Building, Rockefeller Center, The Library of Congress Washington D.C.and also at the Strauss Building, Chicago Illinois.
He is most remembered for his landmark commission financed by the George Rogers Clark Memorial, Vincennes Indiana. The commission was awarded after his mural designs were unanimously chosen over his friend and competitor Eugene Francis Savage.
Winter resided in Falls Village, Connecticut for a good part of his active life. He died on April 7, 1949.
* For references for these terms and others, see AskART Glossary http://www.askart.com/AskART/lists/Art_Definition.aspx