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Oil on Canvas
Signed en verso Grigware and 20 – The Father of Waters
30 x 36 inches
34 7/8 x 40 3/4 inches Frame

This painting is believed to be included in the 1927 Art Institute of Chicago exhibition (identified as 15) and possibly others. The pictured scene is of the Mississippi River in McGregor Iowa in Clayton County. The perspective is facing north towards Marquette Iowa and across from Prairie du Chien Wisconsin. You can see a transportation lane which may be train tracks. Edward T. Grigware was born in Caseville, Michigan in 1889 and died in Cody, Wyoming, in 1960. A western painter of realism, he was also an illustrator and teacher. His work has included murals in Mormon temples and Chicago City Hall. Grigware was raised in Spokane, Washington where he played minor league baseball until he was about twenty years old. Later, as an art student at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts, he decided that “those would-be artists who were short on talent were the ones who turned to modern art as an escape from discipline.” He began as a commercial artist, “I’ve done advertising work and it has never hurt me a lick.” In the 1930’s he was a successful Chicago illustrator. In 1936 he visited Wyoming, locating his home so that the backyard overlooked the canyon of the Shoshone River winding toward a cleft in the mountains. In World War II, he was a War Record painter for the U. S. Navy, working from the carrier Enterprise in the midst of the Pacific campaigns, a series published by Life magazine. After the war, Grigware began doing murals. He insisted that “every element in the composition hold up its end in telling the story.” Grigware’s views on modern art were consistant, “Trivial stuff, and, worse, conceived in such a way that the beholder cannot understand it,” with “a similarity between modern art and communism.” As “old faces that have lived, Wyoming and Grigware have deserved each other.” One of his most recognizable associations was that with Thomas Molesworth of Cody who he designed for his furniture making the famous icon of the cowboy. Source: Samuels’ Encyclopedia of Artists of the American West by Peggy and Harold Samuels, 1985.