Jessie Kalmbach Chase Mrs. E. Wilfred Chase (1879 - 1970)

Birth date: 11/22/2012 Death date: 1970  
Birth location: Baileys Harbor, Wisconsin Death location: Green Bay, Wisconsin  
Media: Graphic Art , Mural , Painting 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

Studied Art Institute of Chicago. Lived in Madison, Wisconsin. She was employed by WPA Public works of Art Project in 1933-1934. She completed murals for the Madison Public Library and Bank of Sturgeon Bay. In 1944-45 Jessie taught at Arthur Hill High School in Saginaw, Michigan.
Represented in the permanent collection of the Miller Art Museum, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.


Mrs. Wilfred E. Jessie Kalmbach
November 22, 1879, Baileys Harbor, WI
1970, Green Bay, WI

Best known for her Door County scenes, Jessie Kalmbach Chase was a versatile artist who worked in oil, watercolor, fresco and oil murals and serigraphy.

The eldest of four children born to Albert C. and Dora Higgens Kalmbach, Jessie studied design at the Art Institute of Chicago and also with Fredrick Fursman. After attending the Art Insitute of Chicago she designed stained glass windows for the Temple Art Glass Company.

Jessie was a member of the Wisconsin Painters & Scupltors from 1915-1954, the Madison Art Guild from 1925-1929, and also a member of the American Artists Professional League.

Jessie was employed by the WPA Public Works of Art Project in 1933 and 1934. She completed murals for the Madison Public Library and the Bank of Sturgeon Bay. Other murals credited to her are: a cement fresco in the Civic Building, Fort Atkinson; two murals in the Sturgeon Bay High School (1942); a cement fresco in the West High School in Madison; and a mural at Lakewood School in Madison. The Door County Library installed two of her murals in 2010.

From 1944 through 1945 Jessie taught art at Arthur Hill High School in Saginaw, Michigan. After 1945, she and her family moved to Madison. In 1948, the family mover to Sturgeon Bay. She began working on screen print serigraphs in 1950. Many of her Door County serigraphy scenes were sold in the 1960's in country gift shops and at her studio home in Sturgeon Bay. She did not sign all of her work, and when asked about this she stated "I know who painted the work." However, she did sign paintings that were for exhibition or sale. Before1955 representatives of  the Milwaukee Art Institute described her oils as "fresh and lovely color and decorative composition; the type of art that fits into the home and brings the joy and satisfaction that is found in nature."

Jessie stopped exhibiting nationally by 1955  and stopped painting completely in the late 1960's when she moved to the American Nursing Home in Green Bay.   


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