Gerrit Van W. Sinclair (1890 - 1955)

Birth date: 5/1/1890 Death date: 12/23/1955  
Birth location: Grand Haven, Michigan Death location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin  
Media: Graphic Art , Painting , Printmaker 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.

Biographical Brief

WI Regionalist artist.
1910-1915, studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois
1917, enlisted in the Army Ambulance Corps, Section 555, served in Northern Italy and Austria.
1920, Layton Art School original faculty member until his retirement in 1954 , taught composition, still
          life and drawing. 
1925, married Katharine Springer, they had two children Barbara and Peter
2009, one of the recipients of the Wisconsin Visual Art Lifetime Achievement Award


Gerrit Van W. Sinclair
Born 1890 in Grand Haven, Michigan
Died 1955 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Gerrit Sinclair studied at the Art Institute of Chicago from 1910 - 1915, under Vanderpoel, Norton, and Walcott.  In World War I, he served in the Army Ambulance Corps and later recorded his experiences in a series of oil paintings.  He taught in Minneapolis before arriving in Milwaukee in 1920 to become a member of the original faculty of the Layton School of Art.  He was also a member of the Wisconsin Painters & Sculptors.

Sinclair's paintings and drawings were executed in a lyrical, representational style, usually expressing a mood rather than a narrative.  His paintings reveal a great sensitivity for color and atmosphere.  His subject matter focused on cityscapes, industrial valleys, and working-class neighborhoods, captured from eye-level.  A decade before the popularity of Regionalism, Sinclair's strong interest in the community was reflected not only in his paintings, but also in his encouragement to students to return to their communities as artists and teachers.  Joseph Friebert, Karl Priebe, Edmond Lewandowski, Burton Potterveld, Alfred Sessler and Gerhard Bakker all studied under Sinclair, establishing him as a leading educator as well as an artist.

Selected One-Person Exhibitions

Bresler Galleries, Milwaukee, Wisconsin (also 1947)
1947 Milch Galleries, New York, New York
Layton Art Gallery, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
1957 Milwaukee Art Institute, Wisconsin
Fine Arts Gallery, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
2002 Gerrit V. Sinclair 1890-1955 A Retrospect, West Bend Art Museum, West Bend, WI 

Selected Group Exhibitions

1912 Chicago Art Institute, Illinois (John Quincy Adams prize)
1917 The Arts Club of Chicago, Exhibition of Paintings by The Independent Society of Artists 
1919 Chicago Art Institute, Illinois, American Annual (also 1921, 1924, 1928, 1930 and 1941) 
1920 Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts 
1921 Rothschild & Company Galleries – Eighth floor, Chicago, IL, Salon des Refusĕs of 1921 
Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (also 1925, 1926)
1924 Wisconsin Painters and Sculptors (Harriet Bain Landscape prize) 
1926 Chicago Art Institute, Illinois, Watercolor Annual (also 1927, 1928, 1932 and 1935)
1929 Salon D'Automne, Paris
1930 Salon Printemps, Paris; Brooklyn Museum
1931 Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.
1932 Milwaukee Art Institute, Wisconsin, Wisconsin Painters and Sculptors 19th Annual Exhibition, (Milwaukee Journal Purchase Prize and Medal Winner)
1933 Whitney Museum of American Art
1937 Milwaukee Art Institute, Wisconsin, 24th Annual Exhibition of the Wisconsin Painters and Sculptors
1939 World's Fair, New York, New York
1942 Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois (also 1917, 1921, 1924, 1930, 1931)
1964 Watson Art Gallery, New York, Three American Lyricists
1982 Milwaukee Art Museum, Wisconsin, Reflections on the Milwaukee Journal Gallery of Wisconsin Art
1988 Milwaukee Art Museum, WI,  100 Years of Wisconsin Art, 1888-1988:  A Centennial Celebration
1992 West Bend Gallery of Fine Arts (now known as the Museum of Wisconsin Art), Wisconsin Early Wisconsin Ambiance: Environments & Landscapes by Wisconsin's Early Artists 1880-1940
1996 Bergstrom-Mahler Museum, Neenah, Wisconsin, Collecting the Art of Wisconsin: The Early Years

Selected Awards

2009 One of the recipients of the Wisconsin Visual Art Lifetime Achievement Award
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