The Stone City Art Colony and School 1932-1933
Francis Chapin

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Francis Chapin (1899-1965) - faculty

Born in Bristolville, Ohio, Francis Chapin received his undergraduate degree at Washington and Jefferson College [Pennsylvania] in 1921 and by 1922, was enrolled at the Art Institute of Chicago. He spent six years at the Institute and won the Bryan Lathrop Fellowship in his last year. With David McCosh, he spent 1928-29 painting in France and then returned to Chicago to study lithography with Bolton Brown at the Art Institute. He remained a permanent resident of Chicago and became known as the “Dean of Chicago Painters.” In 1929, he hosted his first pair of one-man shows.

The two exhibitions proved a resounding success. The later one, at the Carson, Pirie, Scott, and Company Gallery, charged high prices for his work, which sold easily. Chapin began teaching lithography at the Art Institute in 1929 and would continue there as faculty until 1945. When David McCosh accepted a faculty position at the University of Oregon, Eugene, he turned over his classes to Chapin, who directed the Art Institute’s summer school from 1941-1946.

In 1932, Chapin was approached by Grant Wood and accepted a faculty position at the Stone City Art Colony, where he taught lithography. He returned for the colony’s second year and then directed the Art Institute’s summer school in Saugatuck, Michigan (1934-1940). He would later teach art and be artist-in-residence at the University of Georgia (1951-53), the Atlanta Art Institute (1954), and the John Herron Art Institute in Indianapolis (1938, 1958).

Widely exhibited, Chapin’s notable showings occurred at the Art Institute of Chicago (1928, 1931, 1935, etc.); Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (1929-1958); Corcoran Gallery, Washington, D.C. (1930); Chicago Society of Artists (1935); 1939 World’s Fair (San Francisco); Museum of Modern Art, NYC (1941); and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Chapin’s works are held within permanent collections at the Art Institute of Chicago, Brooklyn Museum (NYC), Philadelphia Museum of Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art (NYC), Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Syracuse University, and other museums.

Among his many honors, Chapin was elected Academician of the National Academy of Design (1953) and was awarded an honorary doctorate from his undergraduate college in 1954. Chapin died in February 1965.


Online Resources for Francis Chapin:

AskArt.com. “Francis Chapin: Artist Summary.” Available: http://www.askart.com/theartist.asp?id=25182

Jane Haslem Gallery, Chapel Hill, NC. “Francis Chapin: Biography.” Available: http://www.artline.com/galleries/haslem/chapin/bio.html

Old Sculpin Gallery, Edgartown, MA. “Francis Chapin: Permanent Collection.” Available: http://www.marthasvineyardartassociation.org/francis_chapin.html

Francis Chapin - Photo provided courtesy of the Archives, Art Institute of Chicago.

Francis Chapin teaching. Photo courtesy of the Archives, Art Institute of Chicago.

Francis Chapin. Enlarged segment from the photo of Francis Chapin teaching. Photo provided courtesy of the Archives, Art Institute of Chicago.

Enlarged segment from the above photo.


When Tillage Begins: The Stone City Art Colony and School
Published online October 2003 by the
Busse Library,
Mount Mercy College
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
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©Busse Library 2003