Frederick Frary Fursman, a native of El Paso, Illinois, initially studied art at Smith’s Academy in Chicago and then attended the Art Institute of Chicago’s school intermittently between 1901 and 1906. His most influential teachers were John Vanderpoel, famed for his pedagogy in the drawing of the human figure, and John C. Johansen, an advocate for painting outdoors on site and with bravura brushwork. In these years, Fursman probably supported himself as an illustrator, but he also served as an instructor in both schools. In 1902 he made his debut in the Art Institute’s annual exhibition of American art. That year, he married Ida Luella Morton, a prominent educator whose active professional life gave Fursman the freedom to travel widely both to paint and to teach.
In 1906, the Fursmans traveled to Europe. Like many other American artists, the painter enrolled in the Académie Julian and spent summers painting the landscape and local life of the Brittany coast. Under Johansen’s continuing tutelage, Fursman worked in a broad manner, wielding a paint-laden brush but stopping short of the high-k...