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Churchill, Alfred Vance

Alfred Vance Churchill

Alfred Vance Churchill was born on August 14, 1864 in Oberlin, Ohio. He was the son of Charles Henry Churchill, a professor at Oberlin College and his second wife, Henrietta Vance Churchill. Alfred was the second child of Henrietta Vance Churchill, and was the sixth of Charles Henry Churchill’s nine children. After studies at Oberlin, Alfred studied art in Berlin, Leipzig, and Paris from 1887-1890. He married Marie Marschall in 1890. Their son Louis Nelson Churchill was born in 1897. In 1892 Churchill directed the art department at Iowa College, Grinnell, Iowa. From 1893-1897, he taught art in the High and Normal Schools of St. Louis, Missouri. In 1897, he was made professor of art and Director of the Department of Fine Arts at Teachers College, Columbia University. He received the degree of Master of Arts from Oberlin College in 1898. Columbia University dismissed Churchill in 1904, but gave him a grant to study and paint in Paris 1904-1906. Smith College hired him in 1905 as the first resident professor in the appreciation and history of art. During his years at Smith, he expanded the Smith College Art Museum into one of the outstanding collections in the United States. A noted art critic, lecturer as well as a teacher and painter (whose work appeared in the Armory Show in Chicago in 1913), he influenced the standards of art teaching, especially as vice-president of the College Art Association. After 27 years of service to Smith, Churchill retired in 1932, staying in Northampton, Massachusetts, and devoting himself to painting and writing. He died on December 29, 1949.

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