John Carroll Biography

John Carroll




Painter and printmaker John Wesley Carroll was born August 14, 1892, on a train bound for San Francisco in Wichita, Kansas, as his parents moved from Virginia. In San Francisco he attended the Mark Hopkins Art Academy from 1902 to 1906, followed by engineering studies at the University of California, Berkeley from 1913 to 1915. That same year he traveled to Cincinnati, Ohio for further art studies and a brief mentorship with Frank Duveneck. He served in World War I in the Navy, and after his tour he moved first to Macon, Georgia, and then to New York, where he took a position as a stained-glass artist for Tiffany Studios in Manhattan. He soon became a member of the Woodstock artists' colony. 

Carroll began exhibiting throughout the U.S. in the 1920s, including at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Arts where gained particular acclaim after winning a purchase prize in 1922. He traveled to Europe to study in 1924, and, in 1927, was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship to return to Europe again. On his return he became a teacher at the Art Students League, followed by appointment as the head of the art department at the Arts and Crafts Society in Detroit. He remained in Detroit for over a decade, working through the Depression and taking a commission from the Federal Art Project to paint frescoes for the Detroit Institute of Arts. 

Early inspiration dreived from Cezanne, George Bellows, and Andrew Dashburg lent the artist a place in the Modernist and Ash Can circles of the East Coast. However, in the late 1930s his style made a sudden change, and he began to develop the works he was best known for: ethereal portraits, primarily of women with mysterious expressions. When the Second World War commenced, he took a hiatus from art, moving to East Chatham, New York, startting a cattle farm to support the war effort. In 1944 he returned to his post at the Art Students League and began painting again, eventually opening his own studio in 1951. Not long after, his studio burned down, taking with it hundreds of works. Undeterred, he continued to create until very near his death in Albany, New York, on November 7, 1959.

National Academy of Design

San Francisco Art Association, 1916
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, 1922 (Purchase prize), 1924
Painters and Sculptors of Los Angeles, 1926-27
Art Insitute of Chicago, 1927
California Printmakers' Society, 1929 (award)
Detroit Institute of Arts, 1935

Whitney Museum
Detroit Institute of Arts
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Newark Museum
Toledo Museum
Herron Museum
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts