|American Art - Impressionism:
Albert Henry Krehbiel (1873 - 1945)
Albert Henry Krehbiel was a graduate of The Art Institute of Chicago, where, in 1902, he was granted an American Traveling Scholarship to study in Paris at the Academie Julian under muralist and neoclassical painter, Jean-Paul Laurens. While in Paris, Krehbiel won four gold medals at the Academie Julian (the only American ever to have done so) and the coveted Prix de Rome, as well as many other awards and prizes.
Returning to the United States, Krehbiel was commissioned to design and paint the mural for the wall of the Chicago Juvenile Court in 1906. In 1907, he was unanimously awarded the commission in a national competition to design and paint the eleven wall and two ceiling murals for the Supreme and Appellate Court Rooms of the Illinois Supreme Court Building in Springfield, the state's capitol. Begun in 1907, the final Supreme Court Building mural was completed and installed in 1911. Mr. W. Carby Zimmerman, architect of the building, considered the work done by Krehbiel to be "an example of the best mural painting ever executed in the West".
In 1918 and 1919, Krehbiel spent his summers at art colonies in Santa Monica, California, and in Santa Fe, New Mexico. From 1920 through 1923, he spent summers exclusively in Santa Fe as an exhibiting member of the Santa Fe Art Colony. In the summers of 1922 and 1923, Krehbiel was invited by the Museum of New Mexico in Santa Fe to participate in its Visiting Artists Program and was given a studio in the prestigious Palace of the Governors next to his contemporary, Ashcan realist Robert Henri.
Krehbiel had associations and exhibitions with the other artists of the Santa Fe Art Colony -- and the Taos Society of Artists -- such as George Bellows and Gustave Baumann (exhibition in McPherson, Kansas, 1918), and B.J.O. Nordfeldt, Marsden Hartley, and Sheldon Parsons (exhibition in El Paso, Texas, 1920). Other notable artists that Krehbiel exhibited with during this period include Victor Higgins, Earnest Blumenschein, John Sloan, Raymond Johnson, and Stuart Davis.
Krehbiel was a member of the faculty at The Art Institute of Chicago for 39 years and at the Armour Institute of Technology (later named the Illinois Institute of Technology) for 32 years. In 1926, he helped pioneer the Chicago Art Institute Summer School of Painting (later named Ox-Bow) in Saugatuck, Michigan, where he spent most of his remaining summers teaching and painting. In 1934, Krehbiel opened his own summer school of art in Saugatuck called the AK Studio. When able to break away from his students, he would capture the surrounding rolling hills and the Kalamazoo River in oil, watercolor, and pastel. He would often visit Saugatuck in winters to portray the area in its vast and billowing cover of snow.
Throughout the years, Krehbiel painted continuously. From his brightly colored Santa Fe and Santa Monica landscapes to his historic Chicago cityscapes and wooded presentations of rural Midwest, he painted incessantly and without regard for the elements.
Albert Henry Krehbiel passed away from a heart attack on June 29th, 1945, while preparing for a traveling and painting trip through Illinois and Kansas. His death occurred a few days after his retirement from teaching at the Illinois Institute of Technology, although he had agreed to stay on at The Art Institute of Chicago for one more year.
During his prolific career, Krehbiel's works were shown in a multitude of exhibitions. Krehbiel's career resume of prominent exhibitions includes the following:
- The American Art Association in Paris, Paris, France, 1905
- Salon Des Artistes Francais, Paris, 1905
- Museo Nacional de Pintura Y. Escultura, Madrid, Spain, 1906
- The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in 1923, 1928, and 1931
- The Fiesta Exhibition of Paintings by Artists of New Mexico at the Museum of New Mexico in Santa Fe, 1923
- The First Exhibition of the National Society of Mural Painters at the Buffalo Fine Arts Academy Albright Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York, 1925
- A total of thirty-two exhibitions at The Art Institute of Chicago from 1906 through 1939
Many of Krehbiel's works are held in private collections throughout the world as well as in the collections of The Art Institute of Chicago, the M.H. de Young Museum in San Francisco, California, the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth, Texas, the Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway Company in Fort Worth, Texas. Krehbiel has work listed in the Smithsonian Institution Inventories of American Paintings and Sculpture, and selected archival material on Krehbiel's career is available at the Smithsonian Institution Archives of American Art in Washington, D. C., as well as at The Art Institute of Chicago's Ryerson and Burnham Libraries and at fine arts libraries throughout the country