Frank Peyraud

American, 1858 - 1948

Peyraud 9635

In the Shade, Worlds Fair, 1933 (The Century of Progress), 1933
Oil on board
19 3/4 x 24 inches (framed 25 x 29 1/4 inches)

Signed F.C. Peyraud, lower right; signed, titled and dated on reverse.


"In the Shade, Worlds Fair, 1933 (The Century of Progress)" was part of an historic exhibition of paintings that was sponsored by Westinghouse for the 1933-1934 Chicago World's Fair. Westinghouse supplied the revolutionary lighting for both the Columbian Exhibition and the Century of Progress World’s Fairs in Chicago. All the paintings from this exhibition have subject matter that deals with light, lighting and time of day. In the early 1930s, color film was in its infancy and Westinghouse felt that the film could not capture the dynamic colors and lighting of the fair, so this exhibition was born out of the need to preserve this legacy for future generations to experience.

During the fair, the paintings were exhibited on the second floor of the Electrical Building (which was the home of Westinghouse & is what this painting depicts) and then the paintings moved on to the Chicago Lighting Institute Art Gallery for an exhibition that was called “Scenes of a Century of Progress”. The paintings were further exhibited at "The Groh Associates, “Painting by Light” Exhibition, Marshall Field & Co., Chicago, IL (Sponsored by Westinghouse). Some of the paintings from this exhibition were also included in Westinghouse calendars from 1934-1936 that depicted the World’s Fair.

  • Peyraud 9635 framed

Frank Peyraud became one of the most notable Impressionist landscape artists active in Chicago during the early Twentieth Century. Originally born in Switzerland, Peyraud enrolled as an architecture student at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris. In 1881, at age 22, he emigrated to Chicago where he spent the remainder of his illustrious career. Peyraud became best known for his large, tonal landscape paintings often executed in the early morning or twilight hours at dusk. He gained national acclaim for these atmospheric pictures through his many entries at the Annual Exhibitions of the leading museums around the country. In his lifetime, he exhibited over a hundred paintings at the Art institute of Chicago from 1891 to 1930.

Aside from his landscape painting, Peyraud was often commissioned as a cyclorama painter, which meant creating dynamic panoramic paintings in the round, the "forerunner of the wide-screen motion picture." (Richter). In 1891, he became involved in retouching Paul Phillipoteaux's panorama, The Battle of Gettysburg, when it came to Chicago for exhibition. He continued to work on panoramic and cycloramas spectacles including The Creation for the 1903 Louisiana Exposition. Spring Painted Desert in the Santa Fe Railroad Collection shows at least one trip West.

Peyraud also executed mural painting, several of them in Illinois, including a series of allegorical murals with fellow artist Hardesty Maratta in the Peoria Public Library. In 1906, he married Elizabeth Krysher, a portrait painter and illustrator.

Paintings by Frank Peyraud have been exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago; the National Academy of Design, New York; the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia; the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; the Pan-Pacific Exposition, San Francisco and at numerous other exhibitions.

Today Frank Peyraud’s paintings are in the collections of such institutions as the Art Institute of Chicago; the Union League Club of Chicago; the Peoria Public Library (fresco), Peoria; the Municipal Art Collection of Phoenix, and at the Art Museum of Bulle, Switzerland among others.

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