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Seattle Art Museum (SAM)

Edwin Fulwider

Edwin Fulwider

American, 1913 - 2003

Edwin Fulwider Biography
Edwin Fulwider was an American Regionalist painter, printmaker, and educator born in 1913 in Bloomington, Indiana. He was raised and educated in Indiana, attending the John Herron Art School, where he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. Fulwider had the opportunity to meet and work with the artist Thomas Hart Benton when he was painting a commissioned mural for the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair. Fulwider once said, “I was influenced by Benton's work, more in approach and choice of subject matter than in actual style and techniques. I greatly admired his fantastic and heroic spirit…He was a mentor of many of my generation.” Fulwider used this inspiration to his advantage, going on to have a full and rewarding career.
Fulwider’s studies continued overseas when he was awarded the prestigious Milliken Traveling Fellowship in 1936, which took him to England, Holland, Belgium, France, Switzerland, and Italy. When he returned in 1938, he moved to Nashville, Indiana and established a studio where he could “devote himself entirely to his painting and printmaking.” Fulwider was one of nine artists from Indiana chosen to exhibit in the 1939 San Francisco World’s Fair. His painting, titled “Dead Head” was reproduced after the exhibition in Life Magazine on February 13, 1939. While still in Indiana, Fulwilder was an active member of the Indiana Artists Club and the Brown County Art Gallery Association.
In 1940, Fulwider accepted a teaching position at the School of Fine Arts at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He was an instructor of drawing, painting, and graphic art for two years until WWII, when he decided to devote his time to the war effort. Fulwider was taken on as a supervisor of technical publications for the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson Fields in Dayton, Ohio. After the war, Fulwider returned to his alma mater, the John Herron Art School, as a faculty member. He taught there for two years (1945-1947) before moving on to the Cornish School of Allied Arts in Seattle where he spent two years (1947-1949). He then returned to Miami University and taught as a professor of art. Fulwider was also selected to serve as the Chairman of the art department (1963-1968) before he retired in 1973.
Despite his long association with the Midwest, Fulwider retired to Lakeview, Idaho, where he had spent many summers and where he continued to paint industrial images, landscapes, and railroad scenes of Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. Fulwider’s artwork included “brilliant color and a facile sketchy handling of paint.” Reviewers commented on the midwestern techniques and styles that Fulwider used in his work, appreciating the application to localized subject matter of the Pacific Northwest that obviously served as inspiration for his work. Kenneth Callahan of the Seattle Art Museum commented on Fulwiders talent:
A painter of unusual skill and cleverness, he also ha[d] an exceptional eye for seeing the picturesque and recording what he[saw] with naturalistic truthfulness, embellished by handsome decorative color and a splashy technique that results in a happy combination of realism and charm.
This realism and charm captivated audiences and reviewers throughout the Northwest. Fulwider received 22 awards throughout his career and showed his artwork at numerous museums in the United States, including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Library of Congress, and the Carnegie Institute. Fulwider’s work was also included in the 1947 and 1948 Seattle Art Museum’s Annual Exhibit of Northwest Artists. Fulwider and his wife, Kathryn moved to Arizona in 1992 where he remained active until his death in 2003.
-Annika Firn, curatorial intern, 2014

  • painting
  • American
  • prints
  • Northwest

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