Albert H. Krehbiel

American, 1873 - 1945


Albert Henry Krehbiel was born in Denmark, Iowa in 1873. Moving with his family to Newton, Kansas, in 1879, he spent his early years studying art at the School of Design and Painting in Topeka. There, in 1896, Krehbiel was discovered on a lecture tour by the director of the Art Institute of Chicago, William Merchant French, who encouraged the young artist to attend the Institute’s renowned art school. Krehbiel made the trek to Chicago by bicycle at the age of twenty four to enroll in the school’s fall semester. By his fifth year at the Art Institute, Albert Krehbiel had earned over 39 honorable mentions and received an appointment as an instructor in the regular day and evening classes. Krehbiel was awarded an American Traveling Scholarship by the Art Institute in 1902 to study in Europe. After visiting Holland, he moved to France to settle in a small studio on the left bank of Paris. Krehbiel enrolled in the prestigious Académie Julian in 1903 to study under the famed Neo-Classicist instructor Jean-Paul Laurens. While at the Académie, he won four gold medals for his work, the largest number ever given to to an American student. Krehbiel exhibited in other important annual Paris salons, including the American Art Association of Paris and the Salon des Artistes Français in 1905. In 1906, Krehbiel was awarded the coveted Prix de Rome, earning him a generous monetary prize and honored critical acclaim.

Flushed with his success in Europe, Krehbiel returned to America in late 1906 to enjoy three great developments in his life- a full time teaching position at the Art Institute of Chicago, marriage to fellow Art Institute classmate Dulah Evans, and a significant public mural commission. Krehbiel’s commission, executing the murals for the new Springfield, Illinois Supreme Court Building, was competitively earned over the submissions of twenty two other nationally acclaimed artists. The murals, grand allegorical scenes titled The Origin, Function and Continuity of Law, would be the last works Krehbiel completed in the Classical Academic style. By 1907, Krehbiel’s work, both personal and in teaching, espoused the painterly, plein-air style of Impressionism.

Albert Krehbiel was a devoted painting instructor, maintaining a full class schedule at the Art Institute of Chicago throughout much of the second decade of the twentieth century. In 1913, he additionally joined the faculty at the Armour Institute of Technology (later the Illinois Institute of Technology) as an instructor of architectural drawing. He continued to paint and exhibit his work at annual juried exhibitions, particularly those at the Art Institute of Chicago. Indeed, Krehbiel’s legacy is best manifested by his extensive exhibition record at the Art Institute, where he showed over thirty times from 1906 through 1939, including a one man show in 1922. Krehbiel’s painting by the middle teens maintained a fluid, naturalistic approach, capturing the immediacy of light, atmosphere and color of a specific moment in time. on.

In 1918 and 1919, Albert Krehbiel spent much of his summers traveling with his wife, Dulah, their young son, Evans, and wife’s sister, Mayetta, to an art colony in Santa Monica, California. There, both Dulah and Albert enjoyed painting the pristine light and radiant colors of the Southern California coastline. It was also at this time that the Krehbiels began their frequent travels to Santa Fe, New Mexico. Welcomed as an established painter, Albert Krehbiel thrived in Santa Fe. From 1920 through 1923, he became an exhibiting member of the Santa Fe Art Colony. In 1922 and 1923, Krehbiel was invited by the Museum of New Mexico to participate in its Visiting Artists Program. He was given a studio in the historic Palace of the Governors next to the famed Ashcan realist, Robert Henri. It was in Santa Fe that Krehbiel began his association with other notable Southwestern artists, including George Bellows, B.J.O. Nordfeldt, Gustave Baumann and Sheldon Parsons. The warm environs of New Mexico and California reaffirmed Krehbiel’s sensibilities as a colorist. His work continued to be defined by an open brushwork and bold, saturated color.

In the 1920s, Albert Krehbiel became a leading figure of the Chicago Art Institute Summer School of Painting (later named Ox-Bow) in Saugatuck, Michigan. The school, founded in 1910 by a group of Chicago artists led by Frederick Fursman, became a popular destination for artists and students throughout the Midwest. Krehbiel became an influential instructor at the school from 1926 through 1932. In 1934, he founded his own art school in Saugatuck, named The AK Studio. Much of Krehbiel’s artwork completed in Michigan throughout the 1920s and 30s is best expressed in his numerous pastels. Absorbed with his classes and teachings during the summer sessions, he often had little time to complete large canvasses. He enjoyed the freshness and portability of working with pastels. These works, frequently completed in early morning or late afternoon, often depict serene sunlit views of the Kalamazoo River and the rolling landscape surrounding Saugatuck.

While teaching at the Art Institute of Chicago during the fall, winter and early spring months, Albert Krehbiel often enjoyed painting the environs of his studio in rural Park Ridge, Illinois. His views of the Des Plaines River and surrounding countryside represent some of his finest achievements. Frequently these works are quiet winter landscapes. These landscapes, contemplative works achieving a high degree of light within a limited range of color, espouse a careful, mediative technique emphasizing the transitory effects of winter daylight. According to the artist’s family, from 1912 through 1930, Albert Krehbiel was often known to leave his Park Ridge home on a freezing cold morning, not returning until the end of the day with a group of freshly painted landscapes.

Albert Krehbiel continued to embrace and experiment with different styles of painting until late in his life. Throughout the 1930s and early 40s, he completed numerous cubist and synchromist figure studies. These brightly rendered, angular compositions were taken directly from the postures of models in his art classes. In a letter dating 1942 to his son, Evans, Krehbiel wrote “...I never thought of them as nudes, but simply as a power in organization”. These images express a lyrical naturalism, yet advance stylistically towards geometric abstraction.

Throughout his life, Albert Krehbiel remained a quiet man who had “little time for the mechanism of commercialism”. By the time of his death in 1945, he had amassed an extensive and extremely diverse collection of work reflecting his contribution to, and interpretation of the developments and stages of painting and drawing of the first half of the twentieth century. An esteemed figure within the artistic circles of Chicago, Saugatuck and Santa Fe, Krehbiel was an upstanding member of such organizations as the Cliff Dwellers of Chicago, Chicago Painters and Sculptors, Mural Painters of New York, and the Chicago Galleries Association, among others. Well established and exhibited in his lifetime, Krehbiel’s legacy today deserves further re-examination for his contributions towards American painting. It is the intention of this exhibition to convey the historic importance and aesthetic merit of his work.

  • 2266 krehbiel 2266

    Michigan Avenue Bridge, ca. 1920
    Oil on canvas
    27 x 34 inches

    Provenance: Estate of the artist.

    #2266
  • 1472 krehbiel 1472

    Evening Rush Hour in the Chicago Loop, 1926
    Oil on board
    12 x 14 inches

    Provenance: Estate of the artist.

    #1472
  • Krehbiel 7247

    Washington Street Bridge, Chicago, 1943
    Watercolor on paper
    14 1/4 x 21 1/2 inches

    Signed Albert H. Krehbiel, titled and dated lower right.

    #7247
  • 3155 krehbiel 3155

    Untitled (View of the Museum of Science & Industry, Chicago), ca. 1942
    Watercolor and graphite on paper
    12 x 18 inches
    #3155
  • 2237 krehbiel 2237

    Summer Repose, ca. 1917
    Oil on canvas
    14 x 17 inches

    Signed Albert H. Krehbiel lower right.

    #2237
  • Krehbiel 6880

    Seated Woman, ca. 1915
    Oil on canvas
    17 x 14 inches
    #6880
  • 2238 krehbiel 2238

    Women Reading in Garden, ca. 1916
    Oil on board
    9 x 12 inches
    #2238
  • 6242 krehbiel 6242

    Riverbend, ca. 1929
    Oil on canvas
    36 x 44 inches

    Signed Albert H. Krehbiel lower left.

    #6242
  • Krehbiel 267

    Across the Stream, ca. 1921
    Oil on canvas
    36 x 44 inches
    #267
  • Krehbiel 9223

    Untitled (Landscape), ca. 1919
    Oil on board
    9 x 12 inches
    #9223
  • Krehbiel 9224 old

    Untitled (Landscape), ca. 1919
    Oil on board
    9 x 12 inches
    #9224
  • Krehbiel 9225

    Untitled (Landscape), ca. 1919
    Oil on board
    9 x 12 inches
    #9225
  • Krehbiel 9226

    Untitled (Landscape), ca. 1919
    Oil on board
    9 x 12 inches
    #9226
  • 2829 krehbiel 2829

    Landscape, ca. 1929
    Pastel on paper
    9 x 12 inches
    #2829
  • 2830 krehbiel 2830

    Saugatuck Summer, ca. 1929
    Pastel on paper
    9 x 12 inches
    #2830
  • 2836 krehbiel 2836

    Saugatuck Summer, ca. 1929
    Pastel on paper
    9 x 12 inches
    #2836
  • 2837 krehbiel 2837

    Landscape, ca. 1929
    Pastel on paper
    9 x 12 inches
    #2837
  • Krehbiel 6901 ur

    Untitled (Blue Woods), 1932
    Pastel on paper
    11 x 9 inches

    Dated June 29, 1932; Estate stamped on overleaf.

    #6901
  • Krehbiel 9376

    Landscape (Sunset, Santa Fe), ca. 1923
    Pastel on paper
    9 x 10 3/4 inches
    #9376
  • Krehbiel 9367

    Landscape, River’s Edge (Aug. 19- ‘42), 1942
    Pastel on paper
    9 x 10 3/4 inches

    Dated on margin lower left

    #9367
  • Krehbiel 9304

    Landscape (Moonrise), ca. 1924
    Pastel on paper
    9 x 10 3/4 inches
    #9304
  • Krehbiel 1481

    7 A.M., Misty Morning, ca. 1914
    Pastel on paper
    8 1/4 x 9 1/2 inches
    #1481
  • Krehbiel 9256

    Summer Landscape (8:30 AM), ca. 1916
    Pastel on paper
    9 1/4 x 11 1/4 inches

    Titled on margin lower right

    #9256
  • Krehbiel 9258

    Summer Landscape (6 AM), ca. 1916
    Pastel on paper
    9 1/4 x 13 1/4 inches

    Titled on margin lower right

    #9258
  • 289 krehbiel 289

    Summer Landscape (Through the Trees), ca. 1925
    Pastel on paper
    10 x 14 inches
    #289
  • Krehbiel 9252

    Rainstorm, July 2, 1923, Santa Fe, 1923
    Pastel on paper
    9 x 11 inches

    Titled on overleaf

    #9252
  • Krehbiel 9262

    Landscape (Saugatuck- Aug. 5- ‘26), ca. 1926
    Pastel and graphite on paper
    9 x 10 3/4 inches

    Titled and dated on margin lower left

    #9262
  • Krehbiel 9383

    Landscape- Color Study, ca. 1936
    Pastel on paper
    9 x 12 inches
    #9383
  • Krehbiel 9533

    Landscape- Color Study, ca. 1936
    Pastel on paper
    9 x 12 inches
    #9533
  • Krehbiel 9386

    Landscape- Color Study, ca. 1936
    Pastel on paper
    9 x 12 inches
    #9386
  • Krehbiel 9391

    Landscape- Color Study, 1938
    Pastel on paper
    9 x 12 inches
    #9391
  • Krehbiel 9382

    Landscape (Aug. 28- ‘36), 1936
    Pastel & colored pencil on paper
    10 x 14 inches

    Dated on margin lower right

    #9382
  • Krehbiel 9381

    Landscape, ca. 1936
    Pastel on paper
    10 x 14 inches
    #9381
  • Krehbiel 9264

    Landscape (July 25, ‘31), 1931
    Pastel on paper
    9 x 10 3/4 inches

    Titled and dated lower right

    #9264
  • Krehbiel 9276

    Landscape (July 25, ‘31), 1931
    Pastel on paper
    9 x 10 3/4 inches

    Titled and dated lower right

    #9264
  • Krehbiel 9263

    Landscape (July 28, ‘31), 1931
    Pastel on paper
    9 x 10 3/4 inches

    Titled and dated lower right

    #9263
  • Krehbiel 9277

    Summer Landscape (Saugatuck, July 13- ‘26, 9 AM), 1926
    Pastel on paper
    9 x 10 3/4 inches

    Titled and dated on margin lower left

    #9277
  • Krehbiel 9278

    Summer Landscape (July 14- ‘27), 1926
    Pastel on paper
    9 x 10 3/4 inches

    Dated on margin lower left

    #9278
  • Krehbiel 9292

    Spring Landscape (Rain, May 15- ‘24), 1924
    Pastel on paper
    9 x 10 3/4 inches

    Titled and dated on margin lower left

    #9292
  • Krehbiel 9294

    Landscape (Sunday, June 30 - ‘29), 1929
    Pastel on paper
    9 x 10 3/4 inches

    Titled and dated on margin upper right

    #9294
  • Krehbiel 9303

    Landscape (Saugatuck. July 11- ‘26, 9 AM), 1926
    Pastel on paper
    9 x 10 3/4 inches

    Titled and dated on margin lower left

    #9303
  • Krehbiel 9365

    Landscape (Wilmot, Wis. June 22- ‘24), 1924
    Pastel on paper
    9 x 10 3/4 inches

    Titled and dated on margin lower left

    #9365
  • Krehbiel 9325

    Summer Landscape, Sunset, ca. 1914
    Pastel on paper
    14 1/2 x 18 inches
    #9325
  • Krehbiel 9316

    Summer Landscape, ca. 1916
    Pastel on paper
    9 1/2 x 11 1/2 inches
    #9316
  • Krehbiel 9327

    Summer Landscape, Evening Glow, ca. 1914
    Pastel on paper
    14 1/2 x 18 inches
    #9327
  • Krehbiel 9329

    Summer Landscape, ca. 1914
    Pastel on paper
    14 1/2 x 18 inches
    #9329
  • Krehbiel 9345

    Summer Landscape, ca. 1914
    Pastel on paper
    14 1/2 x 18 inches
    #9345
  • Krehbiel 9354

    Spring Landscape, ca. 1914
    Pastel on paper
    14 1/2 x 18 inches
    #9354
  • Krehbiel 9352

    Landscape (Early Autumn), ca. 1914
    Pastel on paper
    14 1/2 x 18 inches
    #9352
  • Krehbiel 9350

    Summer Landscape, ca. 1915
    Pastel on paper
    14 1/2 x 18 inches
    #9350
  • Krehbiel 9371

    Summer Landscape (Sept. 25- ‘24), 1924
    Pastel on paper
    9 x 10 3/4 inches

    Dated on margin lower left

    #9371
  • Krehbiel 9358

    Women Reading, ca. 1915
    Pastel on paper
    9 x 10 1/2 inches
    #9358
  • Krehbiel 9296

    Figures on Hillside (Santa Fe, July 5- ‘23), 1923
    Pastel on paper
    9 x 10 3/4 inches

    Dated on margin lower left

    #9296
  • Krehbiel 9298

    Garage and Automobiles (Noon, May 8- ‘29), 1929
    Pastel on paper
    9 x 10 3/4 inches

    Titled and dated on margin upper right

    #9298
  • 2137 krehbiel 2137

    Summer Landscape, ca. 1939
    Oil on canvas
    10 x 12 inches

    Signed lower right

    #2137
  • 2142 krehbiel 2142

    Fall Landscape, ca. 1939
    Oil on canvas
    10 x 12 inches

    Signed lower center

    #2142
  • 2144 krehbiel 2144

    Fall Landscape, ca. 1937
    Oil on canvas
    10 x 12 inches

    Signed lower left

    #2144
  • Krehbiel 6890 ur

    Untitled (Landscape with River)
    Oil on canvas
    18 x 20 3/4 inches
    #6890
  • Krehbiel 6904 ur

    Untitled (Rooftops, May 12 1935), 1935
    Pastel on paper
    8 1/2 x 11 1/2 inches

    Dated May 12, 1935 on margin, lower center.

    #6904
  • 4243 krehbiel 4243

    Figure Study, ca. 1945
    Watercolor on paper
    15 x 22 inches
    #4243
  • 3161 krehbiel 3161

    Figure Studies, ca. 1942
    Watercolor and graphite on paper
    14 1/2 x 20 inches
    #3161
  • 3166 krehbiel 3166

    Figure Studies, ca. 1942
    Watercolor and graphite on paper
    14 1/2 x 20 inches
    #3166
  • 4214 krehbiel 4214

    Figure Studies, ca. 1943
    Watercolor on paper
    22 x 15 inches
    #4214
  • 4222 krehbiel 4222

    Figure Studies, ca. 1940
    Watercolor on paper
    21 x 15 1/2 inches
    #4222
  • 4223 krehbiel 4223

    Figure Studies, ca. 1940
    Watercolor on paper
    21 x 15 1/2 inches
    #4223
  • Krehbiel 3219

    Figure Studies, 1942
    Watercolor and graphite on tissue paper
    11 x 14 inches
    #3219
  • 3216 krehbiel 3216

    Figure Studies, 1942
    Watercolor and graphite on tissue paper
    11 x 14 inches
    #3216
  • 3221 krehbiel 3221

    Figure Studies, ca. 1942
    Watercolor and graphite on tissue paper
    11 x 14 inches
    #3221
  • 3222 krehbiel 3222

    Figure Studies, 1942
    Watercolor and graphite on tissue paper
    11 x 14 inches
    #3222

Albert Henry Krehbiel was born in Denmark, Iowa in 1873. Moving with his family to Newton, Kansas, in 1879, he spent his early years studying art at the School of Design and Painting in Topeka. There, in 1896, Krehbiel was discovered on a lecture tour by the director of the Art Institute of Chicago, William Merchant French, who encouraged the young artist to attend the Institute’s renowned art school. Krehbiel made the trek to Chicago by bicycle at the age of twenty four to enroll in the school’s fall semester. By his fifth year at the Art Institute, Albert Krehbiel had earned over 39 honorable mentions and received an appointment as an instructor in the regular day and evening classes. Krehbiel was awarded an American Traveling Scholarship by the Art Institute in 1902 to study in Europe. After visiting Holland, he moved to France to settle in a small studio on the left bank of Paris. Krehbiel enrolled in the prestigious Académie Julian in 1903 to study under the famed Neo-Classicist instructor Jean-Paul Laurens. While at the Académie, he won four gold medals for his work, the largest number ever given to to an American student. Krehbiel exhibited in other important annual Paris salons, including the American Art Association of Paris and the Salon des Artistes Français in 1905. In 1906, Krehbiel was awarded the coveted Prix de Rome, earning him a generous monetary prize and honored critical acclaim.

Flushed with his success in Europe, Krehbiel returned to America in late 1906 to enjoy three great developments in his life- a full time teaching position at the Art Institute of Chicago, marriage to fellow Art Institute classmate Dulah Evans, and a significant public mural commission. Krehbiel’s commission, executing the murals for the new Springfield, Illinois Supreme Court Building, was competitively earned over the submissions of twenty two other nationally acclaimed artists. The murals, grand allegorical scenes titled The Origin, Function and Continuity of Law, would be the last works Krehbiel completed in the Classical Academic style. By 1907, Krehbiel’s work, both personal and in teaching, espoused the painterly, plein-air style of Impressionism.

Albert Krehbiel was a devoted painting instructor, maintaining a full class schedule at the Art Institute of Chicago throughout much of the second decade of the twentieth century. In 1913, he additionally joined the faculty at the Armour Institute of Technology (later the Illinois Institute of Technology) as an instructor of architectural drawing. He continued to paint and exhibit his work at annual juried exhibitions, particularly those at the Art Institute of Chicago. Indeed, Krehbiel’s legacy is best manifested by his extensive exhibition record at the Art Institute, where he showed over thirty times from 1906 through 1939, including a one man show in 1922. Krehbiel’s painting by the middle teens maintained a fluid, naturalistic approach, capturing the immediacy of light, atmosphere and color of a specific moment in time. on.

In 1918 and 1919, Albert Krehbiel spent much of his summers traveling with his wife, Dulah, their young son, Evans, and wife’s sister, Mayetta, to an art colony in Santa Monica, California. There, both Dulah and Albert enjoyed painting the pristine light and radiant colors of the Southern California coastline. It was also at this time that the Krehbiels began their frequent travels to Santa Fe, New Mexico. Welcomed as an established painter, Albert Krehbiel thrived in Santa Fe. From 1920 through 1923, he became an exhibiting member of the Santa Fe Art Colony. In 1922 and 1923, Krehbiel was invited by the Museum of New Mexico to participate in its Visiting Artists Program. He was given a studio in the historic Palace of the Governors next to the famed Ashcan realist, Robert Henri. It was in Santa Fe that Krehbiel began his association with other notable Southwestern artists, including George Bellows, B.J.O. Nordfeldt, Gustave Baumann and Sheldon Parsons. The warm environs of New Mexico and California reaffirmed Krehbiel’s sensibilities as a colorist. His work continued to be defined by an open brushwork and bold, saturated color.

In the 1920s, Albert Krehbiel became a leading figure of the Chicago Art Institute Summer School of Painting (later named Ox-Bow) in Saugatuck, Michigan. The school, founded in 1910 by a group of Chicago artists led by Frederick Fursman, became a popular destination for artists and students throughout the Midwest. Krehbiel became an influential instructor at the school from 1926 through 1932. In 1934, he founded his own art school in Saugatuck, named The AK Studio. Much of Krehbiel’s artwork completed in Michigan throughout the 1920s and 30s is best expressed in his numerous pastels. Absorbed with his classes and teachings during the summer sessions, he often had little time to complete large canvasses. He enjoyed the freshness and portability of working with pastels. These works, frequently completed in early morning or late afternoon, often depict serene sunlit views of the Kalamazoo River and the rolling landscape surrounding Saugatuck.

While teaching at the Art Institute of Chicago during the fall, winter and early spring months, Albert Krehbiel often enjoyed painting the environs of his studio in rural Park Ridge, Illinois. His views of the Des Plaines River and surrounding countryside represent some of his finest achievements. Frequently these works are quiet winter landscapes. These landscapes, contemplative works achieving a high degree of light within a limited range of color, espouse a careful, mediative technique emphasizing the transitory effects of winter daylight. According to the artist’s family, from 1912 through 1930, Albert Krehbiel was often known to leave his Park Ridge home on a freezing cold morning, not returning until the end of the day with a group of freshly painted landscapes.

Albert Krehbiel continued to embrace and experiment with different styles of painting until late in his life. Throughout the 1930s and early 40s, he completed numerous cubist and synchromist figure studies. These brightly rendered, angular compositions were taken directly from the postures of models in his art classes. In a letter dating 1942 to his son, Evans, Krehbiel wrote “...I never thought of them as nudes, but simply as a power in organization”. These images express a lyrical naturalism, yet advance stylistically towards geometric abstraction.

Throughout his life, Albert Krehbiel remained a quiet man who had “little time for the mechanism of commercialism”. By the time of his death in 1945, he had amassed an extensive and extremely diverse collection of work reflecting his contribution to, and interpretation of the developments and stages of painting and drawing of the first half of the twentieth century. An esteemed figure within the artistic circles of Chicago, Saugatuck and Santa Fe, Krehbiel was an upstanding member of such organizations as the Cliff Dwellers of Chicago, Chicago Painters and Sculptors, Mural Painters of New York, and the Chicago Galleries Association, among others. Well established and exhibited in his lifetime, Krehbiel’s legacy today deserves further re-examination for his contributions towards American painting. It is the intention of this exhibition to convey the historic importance and aesthetic merit of his work.

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