George Biddle

Born in January 24, 1885, he was an American artist best known for his social realism, combat art, and his strong advocacy of government sponsored art projects. A native of Philadelphia, was a lawyer by training whose passion for art led him to abandon his original profession and travel the world to study and compose. Born to an established Philadelphia family, he attended the elite Groton School (where he was a classmate of Franklin D. Roosevelt). He completed his undergraduate studies and later earned a law degree from Harvard (1908 and 1911, respectively).

By the end of 1911 he had left the United States to study at the Académie Julian in Paris. In the next two years he studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Returning to Europe in 1914, and spent time in Munich and Madrid, studying printmaking in the Spanish capital, before trying his hand at impressionism in France. As he remembered “….I gobbled up museums, French Impressionism, cubism, futurism, and the old masters. I copied Velasquez in Madrid and Rubens in Munich….” In 1917, with the United States entry into the First World War, he enlisted in the army. In the early interwar period he continued his studies in locations such as Tahiti, and then returned to France in 1924. In 1928 went on a sketching trip through Mexico with Diego Rivera.

Prior to his Mexican travels, he had returned to the United States in 1927 and established a printing shop in New York, where he “began to explore the variety and richness of technique and expressionism possible in lithography”, a medium which he hoped would “popularize American art by making it better known to the American public”.

In the 1930s, he became a champion of social art and strongly advocated government funding for artistic endeavors. His correspondence with his former classmate (and recently elected president) Franklin Roosevelt. Even contributed to the establishment of the Federal Art Project, an arm of the Works Progress Administration that produced several hundred thousand pieces of publicly funded art.

He himself completed a mural titled The Tenement for the Justice Department building in Washington, D.C. and made sketches of the opera Porgy and Bess during its late 1930s tour. His works were exhibited at the 1939 New York World's Fair. During these years also wrote several books and taught at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. He was hired in 1940, along with eight other prominent American artists, to document dramatic scenes and characters during the production of the film The Long Voyage Home, a cinematic adaptation of Eugene O'Neill's plays.

During World War II, he was appointed chairman of the United States Department of War's Art Advisory Committee and served to recruit artists to that body. He himself traveled through Algeria, Tunisia, Sicily, and Italy with the 3rd Infantry Division and produced works documenting that unit's activities. He wrote a book on his war travels: Artist at War Tunisia-Sicily-Italy, Viking Press, 1944. When the Art Advisory Committee was disbanded, he produced combat art for Life magazine. In 1950, was appointed to the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, serving until 1951 and again from 1953 to 1955. He died on November 6, 1973 in Croton-on-Hudson, New York.

En español

Nacido el 24 de enero de 1885, fue un artista estadounidense mejor conocido por su realismo social, arte de combate y su fuerte defensa de los proyectos de arte patrocinados por el gobierno. Nacido en Filadelfia, era un abogado de formación cuya pasión por el arte lo llevó a abandonar su profesión original y viajar por el mundo para estudiar y componer. Nacido en una familia establecida en Filadelfia, asistió a la elite Groton School (donde fue compañero de clase de Franklin D. Roosevelt). Completó sus estudios de pregrado y más tarde obtuvo un título de derecho de Harvard (1908 y 1911, respectivamente).

A finales de 1911 había dejado los Estados Unidos para estudiar en la Académie Julian en París. En los siguientes dos años estudió en la Academia de Bellas Artes de Pensylvania. Regresó a Europa en 1914, y pasó un tiempo en Munich y Madrid, estudiando grabado en la capital Española, antes de probar suerte en el impresionismo en Francia. Como recuerdo "....Engullí museos, Impresionismo francés, cubismo, futurismo, y los viejos maestros. Copié Velásquez en Madrid y Rubens en Minich...."En 1917, con la entrada de los Estados Unidos en la Primera Guerra Mundial, se alistó en el ejército.

A principios del período de entre guerras continuó sus estudios en lugares como Tahiti, y luego regresó a Francia en 1924. En 1928 fue en un viaje de dibujo a través de México con Diego Rivera. Antes de sus viajes a México, había regresado a los Estados Unidos en 1927 y estableció una imprenta en Nueva York, donde "comenzó a explorar la variedad y riqueza de la técnica y el expresionismo posible en la litografía", un medio que esperaba que "popularizaría el arte estadounidense dándolo a conocer mejor al público estadounidense".

En la década de 1930, se convirtió en un campeón del arte social y abogó fuertemente por la financiación del gobierno para los esfuerzos artísticos. Su correspondencia con su ex compañero de clase (y recientemente elegido presidente) Franklin Roosevelt. Incluso contribuyó al establecimiento del Federal Art Project, un brazo de la Works Progress Administration que produjo varios cientos de miles de piezas de arte financiadas con fondos públicos. Él mismo completó un mural titulado The Tenement for the Justice Department building en Washington, D. C. e hizo bocetos de la ópera Porgy and Bess durante su gira de finales de la década de 1930. Sus obras fueron expuestas en la Feria Mundial de Nueva York de 1939.

Durante estos años también escribió varios libros y enseñó en el Centro de Bellas Artes de Colorado Springs. Fue contratado en 1940, junto con otros ocho destacados artistas estadounidenses, para documentar escenas dramáticas y personajes durante la producción de la película The Long Voyage Home, una adaptación cinematográfica de las obras de Eugene O'Neill. Durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial, fue nombrado presidente del Comité Asesor de Arte del Departamento de Guerra de los Estados Unidos y sirvió para reclutar artistas para ese cuerpo.

Él mismo viajó a través de Argelia, Túnez, Sicilia e Italia con la 3ª División de Infantería y produjo trabajos que documentaban las actividades de esa unidad. Escribió un libro sobre sus viajes de guerra: Artist at War Tunisia – Sicily - Italy, Viking Press, 1944. Cuando el Comité Asesor de Arte fue disuelto, produjo arte de combate art para la revista Life. En 1950, fue nombrado miembro de la Comisión de Bellas Artes de los Estados Unidos, sirviendo hasta 1951 y nuevamente de 1953 a 1955. Murió el 6 de noviembre de 1973 en Croton-on-Hudson, Nueva York.

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Biddle Excellent watercolor on paper with various animals. The paper dimension is 5.25 by 7 inches. Signed and dated with the year 1928 in the lower right side. No...
Biddle
Excellent watercolor on paper with various animals. The paper dimension is 5.25 by 7 inches. Signed and dated with the year 1928 in the lower right side. No…
Biddle Excellent watercolor on paper with various animals. The paper dimension is 5.25 by 7 inches. Signed and dated with the year 1928 in the lower right side. No...
Biddle
Excellent watercolor on paper with various animals. The paper dimension is 5.25 by 7 inches. Signed and dated with the year 1928 in the lower right side. No…
Biddle Excellent watercolor on paper with various animals. The paper dimension is 5.25 by 7 inches. Signed and dated with the year 1928 in the lower right side. No...
Biddle
Excellent watercolor on paper with various animals. The paper dimension is 5.25 by 7 inches. Signed and dated with the year 1928 in the lower right side. No…
Biddle Excellent watercolor on paper with various animals. The paper dimension is 5.25 by 7 inches. Signed and dated with the year 1928 in the lower right side. No...
Biddle
Excellent watercolor on paper with various animals. The paper dimension is 5.25 by 7 inches. Signed and dated with the year 1928 in the lower right side. No…
Biddle Excellent watercolor on paper with various animals. The paper dimension is 5.25 by 7 inches. Signed and dated with the year 1928 in the lower right side. No...
Biddle
Excellent watercolor on paper with various animals. The paper dimension is 5.25 by 7 inches. Signed and dated with the year 1928 in the lower right side. No…
Biddle Excellent watercolor on paper with various animals. The paper dimension is 5.25 by 7 inches. Signed and dated with the year 1928 in the lower right side. No...
Biddle
Excellent watercolor on paper with various animals. The paper dimension is 5.25 by 7 inches. Signed and dated with the year 1928 in the lower right side. No…
Biddle Excellent watercolor on paper with various animals. The paper dimension is 5.25 by 7 inches. Signed and dated with the year 1928 in the lower right side. No...
Biddle
Excellent watercolor on paper with various animals. The paper dimension is 5.25 by 7 inches. Signed and dated with the year 1928 in the lower right side. No…
Biddle Excellent watercolor on paper with various animals. The paper dimension is 5.25 by 7 inches. Signed and dated with the year 1928 in the lower right side. No...
Biddle
Excellent watercolor on paper with various animals. The paper dimension is 5.25 by 7 inches. Signed and dated with the year 1928 in the lower right side. No…
Biddle Excellent watercolor on paper with various animals. The paper dimension is 5.25 by 7 inches. Signed and dated with the year 1928 in the lower right side. No...
Biddle
Excellent watercolor on paper with various animals. The paper dimension is 5.25 by 7 inches. Signed and dated with the year 1928 in the lower right side. No…
Biddle Excellent watercolor on paper with various animals. The paper dimension is 5.25 by 7 inches. Signed and dated with the year 1928 in the lower right side. No...
Biddle
Excellent watercolor on paper with various animals. The paper dimension is 5.25 by 7 inches. Signed and dated with the year 1928 in the lower right side. No…
Biddle Excellent watercolor on paper with various animals. The paper dimension is 5.25 by 7 inches. Signed and dated with the year 1928 in the lower right side. No...
Biddle
Excellent watercolor on paper with various animals. The paper dimension is 5.25 by 7 inches. Signed and dated with the year 1928 in the lower right side. No…
G Biddle Excellent watercolor on paper with various animals. The paper dimension is 5.25 by 7 inches. Signed and dated with the year 1928 in the lower right side. No...
Excellent watercolor on paper with various animals. The paper dimension is 5.25 by 7 inches. Signed and dated with the year 1928 in the lower right side. No…
George Biddle Excellent watercolor on paper with various animals. The paper dimension is 5.25 by 7 inches. Signed and dated with the year 1928 in the lower right side. No...
Excellent watercolor on paper with various animals. The paper dimension is 5.25 by 7 inches. Signed and dated with the year 1928 in the lower right side. No…