Charles Shepherd Chapman (1879-1962)

Charles Shepherd Chapman (1879-1962)

Charles Shepard Chapman was born in Morristown, New Jersey, in 1879 and grew up in upstate New York. In 1896, he enrolled at the Pratt Institute in New York City and later studied with William Merritt Chase at Chase’s School of Art, and with James Carroll Beckwith and W. Appleton Clark at the Art Students League.  Chapman would later return to teach at the League between 1914 – 1918 and 1936 – 1940.  Around 1901, Chapman befriended the renowned Western painter Frederic Remington and at the elder’s suggestion, made an excursion to the forests of Quebec, Canada, sketching and logging. His love of the deep wooded landscape carried into his choice of subject matter for years to come, as he traveled to the American West, including stays in California, Arizona and Wyoming.  

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Early in his career, Chapman worked as an illustrator for Scribner’s and Pictorial Review, and in 1908, he moved to the artist’s colony at Leonia, New Jersey, sharing a studio with Howard McCormick, and working alongside artists Harry Wickey, Grant Reynard, and Harvey Dunn. Chapman and Dunn would later establish a school for illustration in Leonia. Chapman also taught classes at the Montclair Art Museum, at the National Academy between 1948 and 1949, at the University of Wyoming during the summer of 1941, and gave lessons in his studio. 

Chapman became an Associate of the National Academy in 1919, and was elected a full Academician in 1926. Throughout his career, Chapman exhibited regularly with the National Academy, receiving numerous awards, including the Saltus Medal for Merit in 1917 and 1940, the Benjamin Altman prize in 1924, and the Andrew Carnegie prize in both 1921 and 1938. He was a member of the Salmagundi Club, winning many prizes during the teens and twenties, and also showed at the Corcoran Gallery, the Art Institute of Chicago, and at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, among other institutions. Additionally, Chapman was commissioned to paint murals for the American Red Cross during World War I, and completed the massive Grand Canyon backdrop for the mountain lion exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History in New York in the 1930s. His work can be found in several public collections, including the Montclair Art Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and at Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts.

References: Falk, Who Was Who in American Art, 1999. Paintings and Sculpture in the Collection of the National Academy of Design, 2004, National Academy of Design, edited by David B. Dearinger. 

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