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Francisco Jiaconino Spicuzza – Midwest Lake

(Click to Enlarge)
Pastel on Paper
12 1/4 x 18 visible inches
18 x 24 inches framed behind glass
Signed Spicuzza lower left
Steels Artisan Gallery label on frame; unknown if original frame
Brilliant colors with rippling and convergence of paper center with frame gesso loss

One of Wisconsin’s most prolific artists was Francesco Spicuzza, who came to Milwaukee with his parents when he was a child. Spicuzza’s early art training began when a wealthy Milwaukee businessman recognized the young teenager’s talent and arranged for Spicuzza to have art classes with Wisconsin artist Robert Schade. While in his mid-twenties, Spicuzza studied with Alexander Mueller at the Milwaukee Art Students’ League. He painted in his free time but made his living as a lithographer. His employer was forced to terminate his position due to the panic of 1907. His wife urged him to open a studio. Spicuzza was offered an empty room, initially rent-free, which he used as a studio from 1908 until 1911. He then left Milwaukee briefly to study Impressionism for a summer under John Carlson in Woodstock, New York. When Spicuzza returned, he created numerous impressionistic scenes of people enjoying Milwaukee’s Bradford and McKinley beaches, as well as florals, still lifes, portraits and nature scenes. He is best remembered for his blue monochromatic beach scenes in pastel. He produced hundreds of works from small, marginal and inexpensive to impressive major works of art. Like several of the early 20th century Wisconsin artists, his work was quite different from the German academic style of the generation before him.
Spicuzza taught art to hundreds of Milwaukeeans at the Milwaukee Art Institute and during the 1940s in his studio. Throughout his long artistic career, his style changed little and he received numerous regional and some national awards for his work. He was also a member of the Wisconsin Painters & Sculptors.
Selected One-person Exhibits
1915 Milwaukee Art Society, Wisconsin
1959 City Club, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
1961 Jacobson Interiors, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
1982 Watson Gallery, Wheaton College, Norton, Massachusetts
1992 David Barnett Gallery, Milwaukee, Wisconsin – Francesco Spicuzza
1992 The Patrick & Beatrice Haggerty Art Museum, Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin – Francesco Spicuzza: Wisconsin Impressionist

Selected Group Exhibitions
1912 Chicago Art Institute, Illinois – Watercolor Annual (also 1913, 1914, 1915, 1917, 1918, 1919, and 1925)
1915 St. Paul Art Institute, Minnesota (also 1916 and 1917)
1919 Wisconsin Painters and Sculptors Society (also 1925 and 1930)
1921 Rothschild & Company Galleries – Eighth floor, Chicago, IL, Salon des Refusĕs of 1921
1922 Milwaukee Art Institute, Wisconsin (also 1927, 1930, and 1932)
1927 Milwaukee Art Institute, Wisconsin (also 1930)
1932 Milwaukee Art Institute, Wisconsin, Wisconsin Painters & Sculptors 19th Annual Exhibition
1937 Milwaukee Art Institute, Wisconsin, Wisconsin Painters & Sculptors 24th Annual Exhibition
(Milwaukee Journal’s Purchase Prize and Medal Winner)
1982 Milwaukee Art Institute, Wisconsin – Reflections on the Milwaukee Journal Gallery of WisconsinArt
1985 University Art Museum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin – Celebration 100: A Century of Alumni Art
1992 West Bend Gallery of Fine Arts (now West Bend Art Museum) West Bend, Wisconsin
Early Wisconsin Ambiance: Environments & Landscapes by Wisconsin’s Early Artists 1880-1940
1992 Marquette University, Milwaukee Wisconsin – Francesco Spicuzza: Wisconsin Impressionist
1996 Bergstrom-Mahler Museum, Neenah, WI, Collecting the Art of Wisconsin: The Early Years

© 10/23/2007 Museum of Wisconsin Art, West Bend, Wisconsin 6/2/2010 Source: wisconsinart.org