ARTHUR WATKINS CRISP
OIL ON PANEL, SIGNED
24 X 32 INCHES
Arthur Watkins Crisp
Muralist, painter and designer, Arthur Watkins Crisp, was born April 26, 1881 in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. His art studies were with John S. Gordon, 1898-1899, at the Hamilton Art School, and the Art Students League in New York City, 1900-1903.
Crisp was a founder of the Allied Artists of America, New York Water Color Club, and American Water Color Society, all in New York City. He also was a member of other New York City groups, including the Architectural League of New York; National Society of Mural Painters; and the National Academy of Design, where he was elected to Associate in 1920, Academician in 1937. Crisp exhibited at the 1913 Armory Show in New York City.
Crisp created numerous mural decorations for theatres, schools, office buildings, hotels and private homes in New York City and Trenton, New Jersey. He also painted murals of early Essex County in The Crane House Museum, Montclair, one of a handful of remaining northern New Jersey Federal style mansions.
Crisp was a designer of embroidered silk and velvet hangings, as well, that were sewn by his wife, Mary Ellen Crisp. His works for public buildings differed from those in businesses and private homes. Interested in the Italian Renaissance, Crisp's public paintings stressed formality, while vivacity and richness of color were the keynotes in the private locales.
In 1918, Crisp was commissioned by the Canadian War Memorials Society to paint works helpful to the recruiting of Canadian and British soldiers, to appear on Boston Common. In the early 1920s in Ottawa, Canada, he decorated the Reading Room of the new House of Commons.
Numerous examples of his work may be found in the collection of the Art Gallery of Hamilton, Ontario, which the artist donated in 1963. In his mid-seventies, in 1956, Crisp moved to Biddeford Pool, Maine, where he died at age ninety-three on June 28, 1974.