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George Biddle

GEORGE BIDDLE (USA, 1885–1973)

Born to a prominent family in Philadelphia on January 24, 1885, George Biddle put his interest in art aside to accommodate his family's wishes and study law. He graduated from Harvard University in 1908 and Harvard Law in 1911, becoming a member of the Philadelphia bar. However, by the end of that same year, Biddle abandoned law and began studying art at the Académie Julian in Paris. Biddle continued his studies at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts during 1912 and 1913. He returned to Europe in 1914, studying in Munich and then in Madrid, where he studied printmaking. Biddle also spent the summers of 1915 and 1916 painting Impressionist works in France before he enlisted in the army in 1917. Following World War I, Biddle experimented in sculpture and graphics in Tahiti for two years and then in France between 1924–26. In 1927, Biddle returned to the United States settling in Croton-on-Hudson, New York. The following year, he traveled through Mexico on a sketching trip with Mexican muralist, Diego Rivera. During the Great Depression, Biddle actively sought government funding for the arts. His correspondence with President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was a former classmate at Groton Preparatory School and Harvard, resulted in the establishment of the Federal Arts Project of the Works Progress Administration. The Depression fueled Biddle's desire to create socially conscious art. He established himself as a Social Realist through powerful murals depicting poverty. The Tenement, which he created in 1935 for the Department of Justice Building in Washington, D.C., was his first federally commissioned mural. The project led to controversy as people deemed his depiction of poverty to be inartistic. In addition to his artwork, Biddle authored several art books including An Artist at War and An American Artist's Story and he contributed regularly to national art magazines. In 1937, Biddle wrote the introduction for Boardman Robinson: Ninety-Three Drawings which was published by the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, where he taught in 1936 and 1937. In addition to teaching in Colorado, Biddle later taught at the Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, the American Academy in Rome and Saugatuck, Michigan. He served as a chairman of the U.S. War Artists Committee during World War II and in 1950, President Truman appointed him to the Fine Arts Commission for which he served a 14-year term. Biddle died on November 6, 1973, in Croton-on-Hudson.

(Biography provided by David Cook Galleries)
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"Boxer" 1956 George Biddle Oil on Canvas
By George Biddle
Located in Plymouth, MA
An exceptionally vivid oil on canvas depicting the big fight night for this boxer. In this painting its hard to tell if the fighters coming or going, if he won or lost, if the fights...
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1950s American Vintage George Biddle

Materials

Canvas

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