Albert Henry Krehbiel (1873-1945); American Impressionist, Muralist and Art Educator
~ About the Artist ~
"Albert Henry Krehbiel, painter, muralist, teacher." Thusly, in three short words, do the biographers categorize this American Post-Impressionist. He came into his own as a painter relatively early in life: in his first year of study at the Art Institute of Chicago he advanced almost immediately to the Academic Life department, a process that usually took a full year of study. By his fifth year at the Institute he had earned 39 Honorable Mentions and an appointment as an instructor in the regular day and evening classes.
Krehbiel interpreting the landscape
in a field, Des Plaines, Illinois, ca. 1913Shortly thereafter he was awarded an American Traveling Scholarship by the Institute, and in 1903 found himself in Paris, studying at the Academie Julian under Jean-Paul Laurens, the last of the great historical painters. For his work there, he won four gold medals, the largest number ever given to an American. Perhaps even more important to him at the time was receiving the Prix de Rome, a substantial financial supplement to his $125 Art Institute scholarship.
His exposure to Impressionism was to shape his palette for the rest of his career. The Impressionist influence is plainly seen in his Michigan Avenue street scenes -- which he dashed out to paint between teaching classes at the Art Institute, and in his treatment of the Santa Fe scenes, which he rendered in the considerably stronger colors demanded by the bright New Mexico skies.
But it is most apparent in his paintings of woods and river scenes along the shores of the Des Plaines River and the North Branch of the Chicago River,
Krehbiel Self-Portrait as well as the area around Saugatuck, Michigan, where he spent so many summers teaching and painting. Characteristic of the Krehbiel landscapes is the feeling of peace and solitude imparted by his subtle blending of pastel shades in depicting the play of lights and shadows among the trees and in the icy rivers he loved to paint on location in even the worst of winter's snowy weather.