Francesco Jiaconino Spicuzza (1883 - 1962)

Birth date: 1883 Death date: 1962  
Birth location: Termini, Sicily Death location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin  
Media: Drawing , Graphic Art , Painting / Oil , Pastel Web site:
Comprehensive (file rating) - Major Wisconsin artist file that includes comprehensive documentation on artist's life that can be researched on site at MWA.


Francesco Spicuzza

Born 1883 in Termini, Sicily

Died 1962 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

One of Wisconsin’s most prolific artists was Francesco Spicuzza, who came to Milwaukee with his parents when he was a child.  Spicuzza’s early art training began when a wealthy Milwaukee businessman recognized the young teenager’s talent and arranged for Spicuzza to have art classes with Wisconsin artist Robert Schade.  While in his mid-twenties, Spicuzza studied with Alexander Mueller at the Milwaukee Art Students’ League. He painted in his free time but made his living as a lithographer. His employer was forced to terminate his position due to the panic of 1907. His wife urged him to open a studio. Spicuzza was offered an empty room, initially rent-free, which he used as a studio from 1908 until 1911. He then left Milwaukee briefly to study Impressionism for a summer under John Carlson in Woodstock, New York. When Spicuzza returned, he created numerous impressionistic scenes of people enjoying Milwaukee’s Bradford and McKinley beaches, as well as florals, still lifes, portraits and nature scenes.  He is best remembered for his blue monochromatic beach scenes in pastel.  He produced hundreds of works from small, marginal and inexpensive to impressive major works of art.  Like several of the early 20th century Wisconsin artists, his work was quite different from the German academic style of the generation before him.

Spicuzza taught art to hundreds of Milwaukeeans at the Milwaukee Art Institute and during the 1940s in his studio.  Throughout his long artistic career, his style changed little and he received numerous regional and some national awards for his work. He was also a member of the Wisconsin Painters & Sculptors.

Selected One-person Exhibits

1915     Milwaukee Art Society, Wisconsin

1959     City Club, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

1961     Jacobson Interiors, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

1982     Watson Gallery, Wheaton College, Norton, Massachusetts

1992     David Barnett Gallery, Milwaukee, Wisconsin - Francesco Spicuzza

1992     The Patrick & Beatrice Haggerty Art Museum, Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin - Francesco Spicuzza: Wisconsin Impressionist

Selected Group Exhibitions

1912     Chicago Art Institute, Illinois - Watercolor Annual (also 1913, 1914, 1915, 1917, 1918, 1919, and 1925)

1915     St. Paul Art Institute, Minnesota (also 1916 and 1917)

1919     Wisconsin Painters and Sculptors Society (also 1925 and 1930)

1921     Rothschild & Company Galleries – Eighth floor, Chicago, IL, Salon des RefusÄ•s of 1921

1922     Milwaukee Art Institute, Wisconsin (also 1927, 1930, and 1932)

1927     Milwaukee Art Institute, Wisconsin (also 1930)

1932     Milwaukee Art Institute, Wisconsin, Wisconsin Painters & Sculptors 19th Annual Exhibition

1937     Milwaukee Art Institute, Wisconsin, Wisconsin Painters & Sculptors 24th Annual Exhibition   

            (Milwaukee Journal's Purchase Prize and Medal Winner)

1982     Milwaukee Art Institute, Wisconsin - Reflections on the Milwaukee Journal Gallery of WisconsinArt

1985     University Art Museum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin - Celebration 100: A Century of Alumni Art

1992     West Bend Gallery of Fine Arts (now West Bend Art Museum) West Bend, Wisconsin

                 Early Wisconsin Ambiance: Environments & Landscapes by Wisconsin’s Early Artists 1880-1940

1992     Marquette University, Milwaukee Wisconsin - Francesco Spicuzza: Wisconsin Impressionist

1996     Bergstrom-Mahler Museum, Neenah, WI, Collecting the Art of Wisconsin:  The Early Years

© 10/23/2007 Museum of Wisconsin Art, West Bend, Wisconsin                                                                                                            6/2/2010

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