Gallery Artists > John Steuart Curry Biography :

John Steuart Curry (1897 - 1946)  Artworks >>

John Steuart Curry was born in 1897 in Dunavant, Kansas and grew up on a Kansas farm where he was "up at 4 o'clock the year round, doing half a day's work before we rode to town on horseback for our lessons." He attended Geneva College in Pennsylvania, where he was a star halfback. He trained at the Art Institute of Kansas City and then at the Art Institute of Chicago. He came to public notice with realistic scenes of American life and became a leader of the Regionist Group, dramatizing and romanticizing the life of the middle West and the sagas of the American pioneers. His country background gave vigor to his paintings of Kansas cyclones, circuses and his murals of John Brown. John Curry is famous not because he always painted the American scene but because he always painted it well. In December 1936, Curry was appointed Artist-in-residence at Wisconsin University. Instead of teaching formal art classes, he was expected to mingle with the students, encourage painting among those who showed talent and in his studio instruct a few most promising students. Curry's career shows what intelligent patronage can do for American artists. After he had failed as a magazine illustrator, he was sent to Paris by Art Patron Seward Prosser. Later Curry's brother bought him a Connecticut house and Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney subsidized him for two years at $50 a week. His biography shows that his regionalism did not depend on residency in Kansas. Quite the reverse: in 1919 he moved east, first to New Jersey, then to New York City and finally to Westport, Connecticut. After a visit back to the farm in 1929 he began his Kansas paintings, but work as an illustrator in the East and his visit to Paris preceded his formulation of a regional style. The actual works were painted in the East. Curry painted many murals for Washington's Government buildings, his work hangs in the Metropolitan Museum and he ranks with top United States artists. He has shown in the Whitney Museum of American Art and in the Chicago Art Institute. His patrons agree they never made a better investment. He died in 1946. Reference:

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