C.A. Seward

1884 - 1939

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Images above : John Steuart Curry “John Brown” 1939, “Our Good Earth” 1942 (Allinson Gallery) and “Sanctuary” 1944 (private collection) Photograph of Curry in his studio, during his tenure as the artist in residence at the University of Wisconsin, is from the website - kansasmemory.org

John Steuart Curry was born on a farm just outside of Dunavant, Kansas in 1897. He was one of five children who grew up in a home filled with prints of famous paintings.  Early in his youth he developed an attachment and respect for farm animals as well as an understanding of how weather conditions can affect farm life, both for humans and animals alike. At the age of nineteen he began to study at various art centers, including the Kansas City Art Institute, 1916, the Art Institute of Chicago, 1916-18, and Geneva College, New York, 1918-19. In 1926, he spent a year in Paris, where he became acquainted with the works of the old masters, especially Peter Paul Rubens, Gustave Courbet and Honore Daumier. Soon after his return to the United States he settled in New York City, made illustrations for magazines and taught at the Art Students League and Cooper Union, and for a brief time traveled with the Ringling Brothers Circus. Throughout his life he remained closely associated with the Midwest and made frequent visits to his family and friends in Kansas. Most of his paintings are closely associated with Kansas farm life where, in the natural setting, he found action and excitement and often terror and disaster. 

Like many of the other younger Kansas artists, Seward became somewhat of a mentor to Curry.  The one piece of correspondence that has been found to date regarding Seward and Curry’s friendship can be found in a letter written by another Kansas born artist, sculptor Bruce Moore. In the letter Moore tells Seward that he has relayed Seward’s message to Curry but that he thinks he should send a letter directly to Curry at the University of Wisconsin.  Given the dates of the letter, 1937, this advice that Seward was extending to Curry is most likely related to the mural commission that Curry was to receive the for the State Capitol in Topeka, Kansas. The dramatic subject of Curry’s mural became a very controversial piece among Kansans. The image of John Brown in the print above forms part of this mural entitled “Tragic Prelude”

To view this letter see page on Bruce Moore and Seward.

(Letterhead - University of Wisconsin, college of Agriculture, Madison, Wisconsin, John Steuart Curry, Artist in Residence)

Feb - 4th  38 - (1938)

Dear Mr. Seward:

Am enclosing one dollar for membership in Print Makers and am very glad to belong. I haven’t made any new lithographs for two years. But expect to start in on a new series very soon about four new stones but had better not talk about it until they are done -

    Best Regards-

    John Curry

Seward - John Steuart Curry 1897 - 1946

The Prairie Print Makers

Artists letters include:

Seward Studio and Wichita Art Association Exhibitions & purchases as well as Prairie Print Maker correspondence

John Taylor Arms

June 1937

October 1937

October 1938

George Elbert Burr

25 April 1922

Gustave Baumann

26 April 1922

Bertha Jacques

June 1937

& news clipping ca 1921

Carl Oscar Borg

16 Nov 1926

B.J.O. Nordfeldt

December 1927

January 1929

August 1930

Maynard Dixon

2 Jan 1928

31 Oct 1934

Kenneth Adams

August 1929

December 1937

Frances Gearhart

abt 1930

Howell C. Brown


Levon West


re: Prairie Print makers

Stow Wengenroth


John Steuart Curry

February 1938

Tod Lindenmuth




1934 re: Prairie Print Makers

Herbert Pullinger



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Artist Letters an IntroductionArts_Artist_lttrs.html