Tuesday, August 29, 2006

J Jeffrey Grant

Museum-goers may remember this magnificent-mile painting from the Terra Museum exhibit "Chicago Modern 1893-1945" (tragically, the last exhibit that museum would ever mount)

It was done by J. Jeffrey Grant (1883-1960) who had a studio at the Palette and Chisel.

According to sites on the internet, in 1935, he had a one-man show at the Art Institute, and his work was exhbited at the National Academy of Design, Corcoran Gallery, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the Currier Gallery.

But I'm inclined to put more faith in Esther Sparks' "Biographical Dictionary of Painters and Sculptors in Illinois 1809-1945" (1971)-- and she provides the following information:

born 1883 Aberdeen Scotland
1904 moved to Toronto - worked as engraver and sign painter
1907 moved to Chicago - worked as engraver and designer
1920 opened painting studio in Chicago
1926-27 studied at Gray's school of Art, Munich
one man exhibits: Rockford, Art Assoc 1925, Chicago Galleries Assoc 1930
AIC CV 1914-1941 15 times (the sorely missed Chicago Vicinity Show)
AIC AA 1918-1927 9 times
AIC Room of Chicago Art, 1944
P&C Gold Medal Award 1917
Municipal art league 1924
AIC AA Cahn Prize, 1924
Palette and Chisel : mentioned in the newsletters of May '24, Oct. '25, Sept '27
died 1960 Berwyn, Il

(the AIC website indicates that in 1935 he was in an exhibit called "Paintings by Aaron Boharod, Francis Chapin, Julio de Diego, J. Jeffrey Grant, Carl Hoeckner, Harriet and Walter Krawiec")

I'm not sure about his financial circumstances -- but I'm guessing that he had to work for a living -- so I'm thinking that he was making paintings to sell -- and picturesque scenes of New England fishing towns was a salable genre.

Some feel poetic -- but some feel more like book illustrations

Most of the work currently in galleries is in oil -- but he also did watercolor.

My favorites are his winter scenes -- and the above seems closely related to:

this painting currently on display at the Palette and Chisel.

And I also like his scenes of the midwest -- kind of gloomy -- but what's wrong with gloom ?

And like our current member, Nanci King Mertz, it appears that he liked to travel and paint -- and the above looks pretty exciting to me.

He did portraits -- but I wonder whether this was a significant part of his business.
They seem to be more like portrait studies.

Especially these portraits of men. Does anyone want to remember grandpa's big red eyes ? These make me think of Robert Henri -- roughly capturing the unique spirit of a face.

He did still life -- but apparently these are rare.

And he did nudes -- but I don't think he did them often enough to have a good feel for them. BTW -- wouldn't you guess that this model was posing at the Palette and Chisel ? Is her name still on the model list ?

Here's a nude of his that's hanging over the mantelpiece at the Palette.
(was this outdoor scene painted at the Fox Lake Camp ?)

Nor do I think he had much success with figurative genre scenes

Although every painter seems to have a good time at the circus

As good as he is, J Jeffrey Grant is outside the progressive narrative of art history -- so it may take a while before his paintings appear again in the Art Institute. But he may well have considered himself a modern painter -- as the above scenes might just as well be taken as abstract arrangements of the planes of color found in Cezanne ...

....or the solid-color squares of Hans Hoffman.


Blogger Unknown said...

My grandmother's dearest friend, Mrs. Bridges - originally from Illinois, left me an original painting she had purchased from J Jeffrey Grant many years ago. How do I go about finding out the value of this painting? sjdstyle@comcast.net

July 08, 2011  
Blogger chris miller said...

Look him up on the auction websites.
(some libraries will let you sign onto them for free).

We'd really appreciate it if you could email us an image so we could post it to this site.

July 09, 2011  
Blogger kiplayop said...

The vose gallery in boston is offering about a dozen of his works. see their website and/or give them a call. Better yet, send them a photo your painting. Vose specializes in
New England artists.

October 26, 2011  

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