Honoring Fred Whitaker, NA

Frederic Whitaker, N. A.

Born January 9th, 1891

Frederic Whitaker (1891-1980) was the recipient of more than 150 awards for his representational watercolors. He was an Academician in the National Academy of Design and served as president of the American Watercolor Society from 1949-1956, revamping its format to involve more member participation and upgrading the status of annual exhibitions. In 1943, he organized Audubon Artists, Inc., an art society designed to represent all voices in the visual arts. He served as officer/board member of many other national and regional art societies and was listed in a number of issues of Who’s Who.

A nationally recognized author, Frederic Whitaker is often referred to as “Mr. Watercolor,” an unofficial title honoring both his award-winning paintings and his years of service to the cause of watercolor and watercolor painters. He exhibited widely and his paintings are in major museums nationwide, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Frederic Whitaker was born in Providence, R.I., Jan. 9, 1891. He left school at age 14 to go to work at the W. J. Feeley Co., manufacturer of ecclesiastical metalware, where he started as an apprentice to the designer at age 16. By age 23, Whitaker was head of design at Feeley. He then worked as a designer at Gorham, Tiffany, the Mangan Company which he co-owned, and finally with two companies he bought and built up, Foley and Dugan in Providence and the G. H. Seffert Company in New York, both dealing in phases of design, manufacture, and distribution of religious goods. During this time he painted watercolors, actively participated in art societies, and entered competitive exhibitions.

In addition to his painting and leadership contributions in the visual arts, Whitaker wrote two books on watercolor, “Whitaker on Watercolor” and “A Guide to Painting Better Pictures”, and a third, “The Artist and the Real World,” random reflections on the art world. He wrote more than 90 articles on artists for American Artist magazine, and was a contributor to The Artist of London and Today’s Art, New York. Frederic Whitaker is the subject of two biographies, Frederic Whitaker, by artist/author Janice Lovoos and Contrasts That Complement by Jan Noreus Jennings. Frederic Whitaker

Frederic Whitaker’s extensive accomplishments were honored when he was awarded the prestigious Horatio Alger Award given to persons who have risen from humble beginnings to make exceptional contributions to society through “individual initiative, hard work, honesty, and adherence to traditional ideals.”