Frank Fowler (1852 – 1910)

Frank Fowler (1852 - 1910)

Frank Fowler (1852 – 1910) American Medium: Oil on canvas Signed: lower right and dated 1876 Measures: 18×15 inches Farhat Art Museum Orientalist Collection

Frank Fowler was active/lived in New York, Connecticut / France, Italy. Frank Fowler is known for portrait painting, ceiling murals, decoration, writer and art critic.

Frank Fowler was an American figure and portrait painter, born in Brooklyn, New York. It appears he did not begin studying art until 1873, when he began two years in Florence, Italy as a student of Edwin White. Then for seven years, he studied under Carolus-Duran in Paris, and at the École des Beaux-Arts*.

Like so many of Duran’s students, Fowler worked on the ceiling fresco*, Apotheosis of Marie de Medici in the Luxembourg Palace. In 1878, he married artist Mary B. Odenheimer.

On his return to New York in 1879 he became a regular exhibitor at the annual exhibitions of the National Academy of Design*, continuing this participation until the end of his life. He devoted himself for a time to mural painting, his most important work being the decoration of ceiling panels for the ballroom at the Waldorf Hotel. This project was completed in 1893; however, the building exists no more, having been destroyed to provide a place where the Empire State Building could be erected. In 1893, work by Fowler was also exhibited in Chicago at the Columbian Exposition*.

Later in his career, Fowler painted chiefly portraits, including a number of public men. Some of his portraits have been kept at Albany, New York and elsewhere.

In the late 1890s, he resided in a home on at #16 The Enclosure, an artists’ colony in Nutley, New Jersey. He built a large studio on the back of that house, where he painted. The same studio was later owned by Michael Lenson, a well known New Jersey painter who was director of the mural division of the New Jersey WPA* in the 1930s. Earlier, the same home was owned by Frederic Dana Marsh, the illustrator. The house was the childhood home of Reginald Marsh, the distinguished American painter.

Frank Fowler wrote upon art topics for the magazines and several textbooks: Oil Painting (1885), Portrait and Figure Painting (1901) and Drawing In Charcoal And Crayon (1899).

David Dearinger, Paintings and Sculpture in the Collection of the National Academy of Design, 1826-1925

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