Francis Chapin Biography

Francis Chapin




Painter and printmaker Francis W. Chapin was born in Bristolville, Ohio, in 1899. He graduated from Washington & Jefferson College in Pennsylvania and enrolled the following year at the Art Institute of Chicago. He graduated with his MFA in 1928 and was awarded the Bryan Lathrop Fellowship, allowing him to take a year's study abroad in Europe. On his return he took a position as an instructor at the Institute and continued to establish his personal reputation as a painter and lithographer. He would soon be dubbed "the Dean of Chiacgo Painters" by friends and colleagues. 

Chapin was especially known for his depictions of urban Chicago scenes and saturated, modernist landscapes. He was the artist-in-residence at the Old Sculpin Gallery in Martha's Vineyard for several years in the later half of his career, establishing himself as a noted East Coast watercolorist. He participated in his first solo exhibition in 1929 at the Art Institute and would go on to show frequently, with exhibitions at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C., among others. He taught lithography for two summers at the Stone City Art Colony (1932, 1933) and from 1934 to 1938 he taught at Intitute's summer program in Saugatuck, Michigan; there, he later served as director of the program from 1941 to 1945. In 1951 he was elected an associate member of the National Academy of Design; he became a full member in 1953. Chapin died in 1965.

Works by Chapin can be found in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts; the Brooklyn Museum; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Metropolitan Museum of Art; and Syracuse University, among others.