Merton Grenhagen (1878 - 1941)

Birth date: 1878 Death date: 1941  
Birth location: Oshkosh, Wisconsin Death location: Madison, Wisconsin  
Media: Painting Web site:
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Biographical Brief

He was one of Milwaukee's foremost portrait painters. He studied at the Chicago Art Institute in his spare time while studying electrical engineering. He then won a scholarship for Julian Academy in Paris; he spent a year there and then returned to America. He taught at the Chicago Institute of Fine Arts. He then opened an art studio in Oshkosh, only to return to Madison a few years later. He painted many portraits of physicians.


Merton Grenhagen (Leon, Lorado, Merton Gruenhagen)
Born 1878 near Fremont, Wisconsin
Died 1941 in Madison, Wisconsin
Leon Lorado Merton Gruenhagen was born on a farm near Lake Poygan between Tustin and Fremont, Wisconsin. As an artist, he was later known as Merton Grenhagen.

As a young adult, Merton Grenhagen first studied electrical engineering and took art classes in his spare time at the Art Institute of Chicago. Later he received a scholarship for studies at the Julian Academy in Paris.

Grenhagen taught at The Art Institute of Chicago before establishing his studio in Oshkosh. Around 1930, he moved to Madison where he painted numerous portraits of socialites and state political leaders including governors, states Supreme Court justices and members of the University of Wisconsin faculty and administration.  Grenhagen was one of Wisconsin’s most sought-after leading portrait artists of the period. He was also a member of the Wisconsin Painters & Sculptors.
Portraits by Grenhagen are in the collections of the University of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin State Historical Society and the West Bend Art Museum (now known as the Museum of Wisconsin Art).  He is listed in Who Was Who in American Art.

Selected Group Exhibitions

Milwaukee Journal Gallery of Wisconsin Art
  The Art Institute of Chicago
  Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts 

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