John A. Knudsen

American, 1938 - 2014


John A. Knudsen was born in 1937 in Brooklyn, MI raised in Chicago, IL. The son of a Lutheran minister, Knudsen’s family frequently moved to different locales, providing Knudsen with life experiences in both urban and rural settings. These varied venues provided inspiration for his drawing and painting.

Knudsen won a scholarship to The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, but he decided to attend Luther College in Decorah, IA to study liberal arts. He also studied at the The University of Iowa, earning his BFA there in 1963. Knudsen developed a passionate interest in the process of engraving. He felt that though printmaking, the process informed his creative direction in painting.

Knudsen was ultimately inspired toward a teaching career. His first teaching position was as an art teacher at an elementary school. He became an adjunct faculty member at Silvermine College of Art in New Canaan, CT and then returned to the Chicago area to teach art at Mount Prospect High School, Mount Prospect, IL.

In 1967, Knudsen became the very first professor hired for the newly built Harper College in Palatine, IL. Knudsen was instrumental in developing the fine arts department, The National Juried Exhibition and the Foundation Art Collection. In 1974, Knudsen was a awarded a sabbatical to study with Stanley William Hayter at Atelier 17 in Paris. He had a profound impact on his students during his 31 years at the college. He retired in 1998.

After his retirement, he continued his painting, etching and woodcut mediums at his own studio, The John A. Knudsen Workshop/Gallery in Union Pier, MI, until his death in 2014.

In 2015, Harper College honored Knudsen with a retrospective of his work. He died in Stevensville, MI in 2014.

  • Knudsen 9439

    Wabash Scene, 1999
    Oil on canvas, in original frame
    43 x 72 1/2 inches

    Signed and dated J. Knudsen 99 lower left;
    Signed with initials, titled and dated on reverse

    #9439
  • Knudsen 8479

    Untitled (Cityscape), 1976
    Oil on canvas
    16 x 20 inches

    Signed and dated J. Knudsen 76 upper left.

    #8479
  • Knudsen 8483

    Noise from Southtown, 1996
    Tempera and oil on board
    18 x 24 inches

    Signed, titled and dated on reverse.

    #8483
  • Knudsen 9430 framed

    Curtain Call, 2010/2011
    Oil on canvas board, in artist’s original, hand-painted frame
    11 x 14 inches

    Signed with initials J.K. lower right; signed, titled and dated on reverse.

    #9430
  • Knudsen 9437

    Untitled (Cityscape with El Train), 2001
    Oil, sand, metal and collage on board in artist’s original, shadowbox frame
    16 3/4 x 26 inches

    Signed and dated J. Knudsen ‘01 lower right; signed and dated on reverse.

    #9437
  • Knudsen 9434 framed

    Armitage-Ashland Junction, 2001
    Oil on canvas, in artist’s original, hand-painted frame
    20 x 38 inches

    Signed and dated J. Knudsen lower right; signed, titled and dated on reverse.

    #9434
  • Knudsen 9433

    Untitled (Cityscape), 2002
    Oil on panel, in original frame
    26 x 32 inches
    #9433
  • Knudsen 9424

    Cadillacs & Ice, 1997
    Oil on canvas, in artist’s original, hand-painted frame
    18 x 24 inches

    Signed with initials JK and dated lower right.

    #9424
  • Knudsen 9425

    Untitled (Cityscape), ca. 1975
    Oil on Masonite, in original frame
    15 x 20 inches

    Signed with initials J.K. lower right.

    #9425
  • Knudsen 9427 framed

    Untitled (Cityscape), 2010
    Oil and collage on canvas, in artist’s original, hand-painted frame
    14 x 18 inches

    Signed and dated J. Knudsen '10 upper right.

    #9427
  • Knudsen 9432

    Untitled (Cityscape), 2010
    Oil and collage on canvas board, in original frame
    12 x 16 inches

    Signed with initials JAK lower right; dated lower center.

    #9432
  • Knudsen 8481

    A Ride on the El, 1983
    Oil on canvas
    18 x 24 inches

    Signed with initials and dated JK '83 lower right; titled on label on reverse.

    #8481
  • Knudsen 8480

    Fantasy City, 2000
    Oil on panel
    14 1/2 x 22 1/4 inches

    Signed and dated J. Knudsen, '00 lower right; signed and titled on reverse.

    #8480
  • Knudsen 8482

    Dark Cityscape, 1979
    Oil on canvas
    18 x 24 inches

    Signed with initials and dated JK '79 lower right; signed, titled and dated on reverse.

    #8482
  • Knudsen 9428

    Untitled (Cityscape), 2002
    Oil and sand on canvas board
    14 x 18 inches

    Signed with initials and dated J.K. '02 upper right.

    #9428
  • Knudsen 9423

    Untitled (Cityscape with El Cars), 2010
    Oil on canvas board, in original frame
    14 x 18 inches

    Signed with initials J.K. lower left.

    #9423
  • Knudsen 9429

    Untitled (Cityscape & El Station), 1976
    Oil on paper laid down on Masonite
    6 1/2 x 17 1/2 inches

    Signed John Knudsen lower center; signed with initials and dated lower right.

    #9429
  • Knudsen 9431

    Untitled (Under the El), 1997
    Oil on panel, in original frame
    9 1/4 x 12 1/4 inches

    Signed and dated J. Knudsen ‘97 lower left.

    #9431
  • Knudsen 8488

    Agreeable Encounter, 1978
    Oil on canvas
    20 x 16 inches

    Signed John Knudsen and titled on reverse.

    #8488
  • Knudsen 9435

    Untitled (Abstraction), ca. 1970s
    Oil on Masonite
    12 x 22 inches

    Signed with initials JK lower right.

    #9435
  • Knudsen 9436 vertical

    Orange Mood, 1977
    Oil on canvas
    40 x 29 inches

    Signed with initials and dated lower left and lower right; titled on reverse.

    #9436
  • Knudsen 8489

    City Color, ca. 1981
    Ink on paper
    6 1/2 x 9 1/2 inches

    Titled City Color on reverse.

    #8489
  • Knudsen 9440

    Opening Day (Cubs), 2003
    Woodblock print on Japan paper
    9 1/2 x 13 1/4 inches

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

    #9440

John A. Knudsen was born in 1937 in Brooklyn, MI raised in Chicago, IL. The son of a Lutheran minister, Knudsen’s family frequently moved to different locales, providing Knudsen with life experiences in both urban and rural settings. These varied venues provided inspiration for his drawing and painting.

Knudsen won a scholarship to The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, but he decided to attend Luther College in Decorah, IA to study liberal arts. He also studied at the The University of Iowa, earning his BFA there in 1963. Knudsen developed a passionate interest in the process of engraving. He felt that though printmaking, the process informed his creative direction in painting.

Knudsen was ultimately inspired toward a teaching career. His first teaching position was as an art teacher at an elementary school. He became an adjunct faculty member at Silvermine College of Art in New Canaan, CT and then returned to the Chicago area to teach art at Mount Prospect High School, Mount Prospect, IL.

In 1967, Knudsen became the very first professor hired for the newly built Harper College in Palatine, IL. Knudsen was instrumental in developing the fine arts department, The National Juried Exhibition and the Foundation Art Collection. In 1974, Knudsen was a awarded a sabbatical to study with Stanley William Hayter at Atelier 17 in Paris. He had a profound impact on his students during his 31 years at the college. He retired in 1998.

After his retirement, he continued his painting, etching and woodcut mediums at his own studio, The John A. Knudsen Workshop/Gallery in Union Pier, MI, until his death in 2014.

In 2015, Harper College honored Knudsen with a retrospective of his work. He died in Stevensville, MI in 2014.

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