Paul Bough Travis Biography

Paul Bough Travis




Paul Bough Travis, painter, printmaker, and teacher, was born 2 January 1891 in Wellsville, Ohio and was raised on his family’s farm just outside of town. In 1913 he enrolled at the Cleveland School of Art (now the Cleveland Institute of Art), where he studied under Henry Keller and graduated in 1917 with a degree in illustration. At the onset of World War I, Travis enlisted in the army and was first trained as a machine gunner. Once his artistic talent was noted, he was transferred to do survey work and he remained in Le Mans, France for the remainder of the war.

Upon his discharge in 1920, Travis began a thirty-seven year career teaching at the Cleveland School. In 1928 he took a sabbatical and embarked on a journey from Cape Town to Cairo, funded by the Karamu Theater, the African Art Sponsors, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, and the Cleveland Museum of Art. He collected specimens for artistic research and filmed and painted the landscapes and people of the various regions. This eight-month long trip would greatly influence his ensuing work. In 1956, he began teaching at the Western Reserve University.

Travis was a member of the Archeological Institute America, the Cleveland Society for Aesthetics, and the Cleveland Museum of Modern Art, among others. His work became synonymous with the Cleveland School. Travis participated in the annual May Show at the Cleveland Museum of Art for fifty years and he was included in the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition in California. He also exhibited with the Ohio Watercolor Association and his work was included in exhibitions at the Butler Art Institute, the Carnegie Institute, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Cleveland Art Association. In 2001, the Cleveland Artists Foundation mounted a retrospective exhibition of his work. He is represented in the collections of the Akron Art Institute, the Boston Museum, the Butler Art Institute, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

Paul Bough Travis passed away on 23 November 1975 in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.