Louis Oscar Griffith Biography

Louis Oscar Griffith




Painter and printmaker Louis Oscar Griffith was born in Newcastle, Indiana, on October 10, 1875. His family relocated to Dallas, Texas when he was a child and when he was of age he took a job as a hotel clerk, enabling him to afford painting and drawing lessons at the Frank Reaugh studio. Reaugh's students traveled throughout West Texas on sketching trips, and Reaugh would remain Griffith's mentor for several dacades. In 1893 Griffith studied for a time at the St. Louis School and Museum of Fine Arts (now the Saint Louis Art Museum) before moving to Chicago and enrolling in courses at the Art Institute, working as a commercial artist to support himself. Two years into his time in Chicago, he found employment at the Barnes-Crosby Engraving Company, introducing him to engraving and inspiring him to pursue printmaking.

After a few months in New York in 1902 he participated in his first major exhibition, debuting paintings at the Art Institute's 16th Annual Art Exhibition. He joined the famed Palette and Chisel Club, traveling with his cohorts to the artists' colony in Brown County, Indiana, and continuing to travel to Texas on study trips with Reaugh. In 1908 he went abroad to learn new color intaglio techniques and to paint, and after returning to the States his work was featured in the Chicago Journal (February 2, 1909). In 1910 Griffith became a charter member of the newly founded Chicago Society of Etchers, and his reputation as a printmaker grew steadily, earning him a bronze medal at the major 1915 Panama Pacific International Exhibition. After nearly two decades of regular sketching trips to Brown County, he moved there with his wife Carolyn and son in 1922.

Griffith remained in Brown County for the rest of his life, but continued to establish a name for himself in Dallas, as well, and is today today considered a regional artist by the Texas city. He continued to paint and exhibit until his last decade, and died in Franklin, Indiana, on November 13, 1956. 

Exhibitions (alphabetic): 
A Century of Progress, Court of States, Indiana, 1933
Assoc. of Chicago Painters & Sculptors, 1927
Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago Society of Etchers, 1911, 1915, 1925
Art Inst.of Chi., Art Students League, 1902, 1903
Art Inst. of Chi., Palette and Chisel Club, 1915 (solo), 1916
Canadian National Exposition (n/d)
Chicago Galleries Assn., 1930 (solo)
Florence International Print Show (ca. 1908)
Hoosier Salon, 1925 - 1949, 1951, 1954 - 1957
Hoosier Gallery, 1934 (solo)
Indiana Society of Printmakers, 1937
Indianapolis Art Club (n/d)
Library of Congress, National Exhibition of Prints, 1943
Marshall Field & Company Galleries, 1943 (solo)
National Academy of Design, 1943
National Gallery of Art, 1945
Panama Pacific Exposition, San Francisco, CA, 1915
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts annual, 1921
Racine School of Fine Arts, 1908
Sesqui-Centennial International Exhibition, Philadelphia, 1926 (ten prints)
Smithsonian Institute, Special Exhibitions, Graphic Arts, 1945 (solo)

1915: Pan-Pacific Int'l Exhibition, San Francisco, CA (bronze medal, etching)
1921: Palette and Chisel Club (gold medal)
1925: Daughters of Indiana, Hoosier Salon, Indiana Scene Prize
1926: Hoosier Salon, George Ade Etching Prize
1929: Texas Wildflower Competition, San Antonio Art League, Witte Memorial Museum (first prize)
1930: Hoosier Salon, John C. Schaffer Outstanding Picture Prize
1935: Hoosier Salon, Edward Rector Memorial, Indiana Landscape by Resident prize
1938: Brown County Art Assn., Frederick Nelson Vance Memorial Prize
1939: Hoosier Salon, Delta Sigma Kappa Landscape Prize
1949: Chicago Society of Etchers, First Blue Ribbon; Hoosier Salon, Kappa Purchase Prize
1953: Chicago Society of Etchers (prize)