Francis Chapin

American, 1899 - 1965


Francis Chapin, affectionately known as the “Dean of Chicago Painters” by his colleagues, was one of the city’s most popular and celebrated painters in his day. Born at the dawn of the 20th Century in Bristolville, Ohio, Chapin graduated from Washington & Jefferson College near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania before enrolling at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1922. He would set down deep roots at the Art Institute of Chicago, exhibiting there over 31 times between 1926 and 1951. In 1927 Chapin won the prestigious Bryan Lathrop Fellowship from the Art Institute – a prize that funded the artist’s yearlong study trip to Europe. Upon his return to the United States, Chapin decided to remain in Chicago, noting the freedom Chicago artists have in developing independently of the pressure to conform to pre-existing molds (as was experienced by artists in New York, for example). Chapin became a popular instructor at the Art Institute, teaching there from 1929 to 1947 and at the Art Institute’s summer art school in Saugatuck, Michigan (now called Oxbow) between 1934 – 1938 (he was the director of the school from 1941-1945). Chapin’s contemporaries among Chicago’s artists included such luminaries as Ivan Le Lorraine Albright, Edgar Miller, William S. Schwartz and Aaron Bohrod among others.

A prolific painter, Chapin produced numerous works while traveling in Mexico, France, Spain, Saugatuck and Martha’s Vineyard, where he frequently spent summers and taught at the Old Sculpin Gallery there. Chapin was best recognized for his dynamic and vibrant images of Chicago during the 1930s and 40s. Chapin was a resident of the Old Town neighborhood where he lived and kept his studio on Menomonee Street for many years. Described as a “colorful figure, nearly 6 feet 6 inches tall, and thin, and usually wearing tweeds”, it is easy to imagine Chapin at work observing the busy street life of the city.

In addition to his many exhibitions at the Art Institute of Chicago, Chapin’s work was shown during his lifetime at such institutions as the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia; the Corcoran Gallery, Washington, D.C.; the National Academy of Design, New York; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York and the Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, among others. Francis Chapin’s paintings are represented in the collections the Art Institute of Chicago; the Friedman Collection, Chicago; the Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown; the Denver Art Museum; the Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse; the North Museum of Art, West Palm Beach; the Telfair Museum of Art, Savannah and the Brooklyn Museum of Art, among others.

  • Chapin 2779

    Street Scene, Chicago, ca. 1930s
    Oil on canvas
    18 x 20 inches

    Signed F. Chapin, lower right

    #2779
  • Chapin 10613

    Moonlight (Martha’s Vineyard), 1957
    Oil on canvas, in original frame
    31 1/4 x 41 1/4 inches
    #10613
  • Chapin 7014 ur

    Untitled (Michigan Landscape), ca. 1930s
    Oil on canvas
    16 x 22 inches

    Estate stamped on reverse.

    #7014
  • 2740 chapin 2740

    Ships in Harbor
    Oil on canvas
    27 1/2 x 39 inches

    Estate stamped on reverse.

    #2740
  • Chapin 2739

    Untitled (Big Pavilion, Saugatuck) , ca. 1930s
    Oil on canvas
    27 1/2 x 39 1/2 inches

    Signed Francis Chapin lower right.

    #2739
  • Chapin 2784

    Untitled (Aerial Lift Bridge), ca. 1930s
    Oil on canvas
    24 x 30 inches

    Estate stamped on reverse.

    #2784
  • 3273 chapin 3273

    Chicago River, 1933
    Oil on board
    15 x 11 1/2 inches

    Signed and dated Francis Chapin '33 lower center; signed lower right.

    #3273
  • Chapin 2778

    Chicago from Rooftops, ca. 1930s
    Oil on canvas
    23 x 17 inches

    Estate stamped on reverse.

    #2778
  • Chapin 6949

    Untitled (Windy Day, Chicago), ca. 1930
    Oil on Masonite
    16 x 20 inches

    Estate stamped on reverse.

    #6949
  • Chapin 8256

    Untitled (Rome at Night), ca. 1950s
    Oil on canvas
    19 3/4 x 23 1/2 inches

    Estate stamped on reverse.

    #8256
  • Chapin 6944

    Untitled (Billiards)
    Oil on Masonite
    6 3/4 x 40 1/2 inches

    Estate stamped on reverse.

    #6944
  • 4927 chapin 4927

    Polo, ca. 1932
    Oil on canvas
    33 3/4 x 44 inches

    Estate stamped on reverse.

    #4927
  • 3305 chapin 3305

    Nude, ca. 1930s
    Oil on canvas
    16 x 12 inches

    Estate stamped on reverse.

    #3305
  • Chapin 9644

    LeRoy, ca. 1960
    Oil on board, in original frame
    8 1/2 x 7 inches

    Signed Francis Chapin, lower right; Signed and titled on reverse

    #9644
  • Chapin 10582

    Untitled (Mother & Child), ca. 1950
    Oil on Masonite, in original frame
    5 3/4 x 4 inches
    #10582
  • 3294 chapin 3294

    Green Pears, ca. 1946
    Oil on Masonite
    6 1/2 x 8 3/4 inches

    Estate stamped on reverse.

    #3294
  • 3295 chapin 3295

    Green Pears, ca. 1946
    Oil on Masonite
    6 1/2 x 8 3/4 inches

    Estate stamped on reverse.

    #3295
  • Chapin 6986

    Untitled (Navy Pier, Chicago)
    Watercolor on paper
    14 x 20 inches
    #6986
  • Chapin 7027

    Untitled (View Towards Navy Pier, Chicago)
    Watercolor on paper
    8 x 21 inches
    #7027
  • Chapin 7026

    Untitled (Belmont Harbor, Chicago)
    Watercolor on paper
    13 1/4 x 20 inches

    Signed Francis Chapin lower right.

    #7026
  • Chapin 6975

    Untitled (Lincoln Park Bridle Path), ca. 1935
    Watercolor on paper
    14 x 20 inches

    Signed Francis Chapin lower left.

    #6975
  • Chapin 6985

    Untitled (Grant Park with View of the Planetarium), ca. 1930s
    Watercolor on paper
    13 3/4 x 20 1/4 inches
    #6985
  • 2668 chapin 2668

    Water Tower, Chicago, ca. 1930s
    Watercolor on paper
    14 1/2 x 21 1/2 inches

    Estate stamped on reverse.

    #2668
  • Chapin 6978

    Untitled (The Merchandise Mart, Chicago), ca. 1935
    Watercolor on paper
    13 3/4 x 20 inches

    Estate stamped on reverse.

    #6978
  • 4897 chapin 4897

    Untitled (Man Seated on a Park Bench), ca. 1930s
    Watercolor and charcoal on paper
    9 x 11 3/4 inches

    Estate stamped on reverse.

    #4897
  • 4895 chapin 4895

    Untitled (House and El Tracks), ca. 1930s
    Watercolor on paper
    9 x 12 inches

    Estate stamped on reverse.

    #4895
  • Chapin 4893

    Untitled (City Scene, Night), ca. 1930s
    Watercolor and ink on paper
    12 x 18 inches
    #4893
  • Chapin 4896

    Untitled (Factory Scene), ca. 1930s
    Watercolor and gouache on paper
    10 1/2 x 14 inches
    #4896
  • 4934 chapin 4934

    Untitled (Round House and Locomotives)
    Watercolor, ink and graphite on paper
    10 x 14 inches
    #4934
  • Chapin 6962

    Amsterdam
    Watercolor and ink on paper
    7 3/4 x 10 3/4 inches

    Signed Francis Chapin and titled upper right.

    #6962
  • Chapin 7032

    Michigan
    Watercolor on paper
    14 x 19 inches

    Titled on reverse.

    #7032
  • Chapin 7029

    Many Sails
    Watercolor on paper
    20 x 17 inches

    Signed Francis Chapin lower right; titled on reverse.

    #7029
  • Chapin 6979

    Untitled (Pool Hall with Burlesque Dancers)
    Watercolor on paper
    20 x 18 1/2 inches

    Signed Francis Chapin lower right.

    #6979
  • Chapin 6988

    Ivan Albright
    Pastel on paper
    21 3/4 x 14 inches

    Signed Francis Chapin lower right; titled on reverse.

    #6988
  • Chapin 7065

    Arnold, Bohrod & Mr. McCosh
    Watercolor and graphite on paper
    9 x 12 inches

    Titled on reverse.

    #7065
  • Chapin 7100

    Untitled (Artist's Studio), ca. 1927
    Graphite on paper
    8 1/2 x 11 inches
    #7100
  • Chapin 6959

    Untitled (Reclining Nude), ca. 1930s
    Charcoal on paper
    9 3/4 x 12 3/4 inches
    #6959
  • 4925 chapin 4925

    Untitled (Woman Reading)
    Watercolor and ink on paper
    15 1/2 x 23 inches

    Signed Francis Chapin lower right.

    #4925
  • 2667 chapin 2667

    Girl and Pier, ca. 1930s
    Watercolor on paper
    14 1/2 x 21 1/2 inches

    Signed Francis Chapin lower right; titled on reverse.

    #2667
  • 4914 chapin 4914

    Untitled (Paris Circus, Circus Horses)
    Watercolor and conte crayon on paper
    13 1/2 x 18 1/2 inches
    #4914
  • 4918 chapin 4918

    Untitled (Event Rider, Jumping Horse)
    Gouache and graphite on paper
    13 3/4 x 19 3/4 inches
    #4918
  • Chapin 7071

    Untitled (Tigers, Paris Circus), ca. 1957
    Watercolor and ink on paper
    9 1/2 x 12 1/2 inches

    Signed Francis Chapin, lower right.

    #7071
  • Chapin 7096

    Untitled (Boxing Scene), ca. 1930
    Charcoal on paper
    11 x 14 inches

    Estate stamped on reverse.

    #7096
  • Chapin 7097

    Untitled (Boxing Scene), ca. 1930
    Charcoal on paper
    11 x 14 inches
    #7097
  • Chapin 11521

    View from a Skyscraper, ca. 1929
    Lithograph on paper
    15 1/2 x 11 inches

    Signed, titled and numbered in pencil

    #11521
  • Chapin 8456

    City Landscape with a Steamroller, ca. 1943
    Lithograph
    11 1/2 x 6 1/4 inches

    Signed, titled and numbered in pencil. (Edition: 1/10)

    #8456
  • Chapin 11522

    Ogden Viaduct, ca. 1929
    Lithograph on paper
    15 1/2 x 11 inches

    Signed and titled in pencil

    #11522
  • Chapin 11524

    Freight Locomotive, ca. 1929
    Lithograph on paper
    15 1/2 x 11 inches

    Signed in pencil lower right, titled lower left

    #11524
  • Chapin 8159

    The Century of Progress, Chicago, 1933
    Lithograph on paper
    8 1/4 x 13 1/4 inches

    Signed (in plate), Francis Chapin, Chicago lower right.

    #8159
  • Chapin 7080

    Untitled (Study for Wash Day)
    Pastel on paper
    14 x 11 inches
    #7080
  • Chapin 7087

    Untitled (1244 N. Dearborn, Chicago), ca. 1930
    Watercolor and graphite on paper
    7 1/4 x 8 1/2 inches

    Estate stamped on reverse.

    #7087
  • Chapin 7088

    Untitled (Chicago Scene), ca. 1930
    Watercolor and graphite on paper
    11 x 8 1/2 inches
    #7088
  • Chapin 7081

    Untitled (El Train, Chicago), ca. 1930
    Graphite on paper
    11 x 14 inches
    #7081
  • Chapin 6966

    Untitled (Construction Scene), ca. 1930
    Charcoal on paper
    7 3/4 x 10 1/4 inches
    #6966
  • Chapin 7082

    Untitled (Sledding), ca. 1930
    Graphite on paper
    9 1/4 x 10 1/4 inches
    #7082
  • Chapin 7114

    Untitled (Le Metro, Paris), ca. 1927
    Graphite on paper
    8 1/2 x 11 inches
    #7114
  • Chapin 7108

    Studies (les Gendarmes), 1927
    Graphite on paper
    10 1/4 x 7 1/4 inches

    Inscribed “Paris ‘27” reverse.

    #7108

Francis Chapin, affectionately known as the “Dean of Chicago Painters” by his colleagues, was one of the city’s most popular and celebrated painters in his day. Born at the dawn of the 20th Century in Bristolville, Ohio, Chapin graduated from Washington & Jefferson College near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania before enrolling at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1922. He would set down deep roots at the Art Institute of Chicago, exhibiting there over 31 times between 1926 and 1951. In 1927 Chapin won the prestigious Bryan Lathrop Fellowship from the Art Institute – a prize that funded the artist’s yearlong study trip to Europe. Upon his return to the United States, Chapin decided to remain in Chicago, noting the freedom Chicago artists have in developing independently of the pressure to conform to pre-existing molds (as was experienced by artists in New York, for example). Chapin became a popular instructor at the Art Institute, teaching there from 1929 to 1947 and at the Art Institute’s summer art school in Saugatuck, Michigan (now called Oxbow) between 1934 – 1938 (he was the director of the school from 1941-1945). Chapin’s contemporaries among Chicago’s artists included such luminaries as Ivan Le Lorraine Albright, Edgar Miller, William S. Schwartz and Aaron Bohrod among others.

A prolific painter, Chapin produced numerous works while traveling in Mexico, France, Spain, Saugatuck and Martha’s Vineyard, where he frequently spent summers and taught at the Old Sculpin Gallery there. Chapin was best recognized for his dynamic and vibrant images of Chicago during the 1930s and 40s. Chapin was a resident of the Old Town neighborhood where he lived and kept his studio on Menomonee Street for many years. Described as a “colorful figure, nearly 6 feet 6 inches tall, and thin, and usually wearing tweeds”, it is easy to imagine Chapin at work observing the busy street life of the city.

In addition to his many exhibitions at the Art Institute of Chicago, Chapin’s work was shown during his lifetime at such institutions as the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia; the Corcoran Gallery, Washington, D.C.; the National Academy of Design, New York; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York and the Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, among others. Francis Chapin’s paintings are represented in the collections the Art Institute of Chicago; the Friedman Collection, Chicago; the Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown; the Denver Art Museum; the Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse; the North Museum of Art, West Palm Beach; the Telfair Museum of Art, Savannah and the Brooklyn Museum of Art, among others.

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