Edgar Britton Biography

Edgar Britton




Muralist, painter, and sculptor Edgar Britton was born on April 15, 1901 in Kearney, Nebraska. He studied at the University Iowa under Grant Wood from 1918 to 1920, and at the University of Kansas and with Karl Mattern and Albert Bloch from 1920 to 1924. He was primarily known for his murals, many of which were executed during the WPA program from the 1930s to the mid 1940s, serving as director of the mural division from 1940 to 1941. He was greatly inspired by the works of Mexican muralists of the time, such as Diego Rivera, Jose Orozco, and David Siquieros. After a tuberculosis diagnosis in 1941 he relocated to Colorado, where lived for the rest of his life. 

Britton was an instructor at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center from 1943 to 1950, as well as a painting instructor at the Fountain Valley School from 1942 to 1950. He retired from teaching to focus on his own work during the 1950s and '60s, exhibiting throughout the U.S. in group and solo shows, earning several awards for his work in painting. In 1967 he became a member of the Fine Arts Commission of Denver; he also served as president of Artists Equity in Colorado Springs. 

Exhibitions include: Art Institute of Chiacgo, 1933 - 1937; Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, 1939; the Denver Art Museum, 1943, 1944 (prize), 1948 (prize); Pasadena Al, 1946 (prize); Colo Springs Fine Arts Center 1945, 1946 (prize); University of Nebraska 1945; Colorado Springs FA Center, 1945, 1946 (prize), 1953, 1955; Corcoran Gal, 1947; Des Moines Art Center, 1949-50, 1952; solo and group shows, Fine Arts Center, Colorado Springs; Denver Chapter, Am. Inst. Architects, 1971 (award); Littledale Gallery, Littleton, CO, 1970s. 

His work is in the Art Institute of Chicago; Denver Art Museum; Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center; Pasadena Al; University of Nebraska; USPOs, East Moline, Decatur, IL; Waterloo, IA Public Library; Dept. Interior Bldg, Washington, D.C.; among others.

Edgar Britton died in April 1982 in Denver, Colorado. In 2001 the Colorado Fine Arts Center held a retrospective of Britton's work simultaneously with a smaller show at the Coburn Gallery at Colorado College. A book on the subject of Britton's figurative works titled The Erotic Art of Edgar Britton was published the following year, its release date set in tandem with the exhibit The Lyrical Line: Edgar Britton's Passion for the Human Figure.