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Nash, Joseph (c. 1900-1951) | Lake Forest College Archives and Special Collections

Name: Nash, Joseph (c. 1900-1951)
Variant Name: Nash, Joseph P.
Fuller Form: Nash, Joseph Pfanner


Historical Note:

Joseph Nash was a Chicago area artist and art teacher, trained at the Art Institute of Chicago, and Lake Forest College's art professor and art department head, 1944-51.  He died at home here in Lake Forest in December 1951 at the age of 51.

Nash Nash attended Northwestern University and studied for seven years at the Art Institute of Chicago and his instructors included "George Bellows, George Oberteuffer, Leopold Seyffert, Louis Ritman and John Norton." Later Nash "traveled extensively in Europe."  (Johnson eulogy, typescript carbon, January 4, 1952, p. 1). 

At Lake Forest College Nash followed an initial  one-year part-time art instructor, Fall 1943, and was in effect the department's founder under president Ernest Johnson (1942-59), adding second and third staff members later. 

Nash had served on the faculty of the Bell School, a private traditional K-8 program, located just north of the College on Sheridan Road.  There in the 1930s he taught the late Munroe Winter (later attending the College), son of artist Milo Winter, and taught the senior Winter etching. 

Nash's art includes much work for the College.  Most notable are two portraits.  The first is a formal oil portrait of a robed Lake Forest Professor S. P. Williams, Psychology (1946; Johnson, Nov. 10, 1947); this now hangs in Meyer Auditorium, Hotchkiss Hall.  A second was painted in 1949 of the eminent early football coach (and College athletic director, 1933-49) Ralph R. Jones; this large-format oil portrait is now in Special Collections, transferred from the Athletic Dept. 

Nash also participated in the graphic design decisions of the College, 1944-51.  Nash drew the image of the east entrance Lily Reid Holt Chapel that appeared on the cover (designed by him) of the 1950-52 Lake Forest College catalog.  He painted a large aerial view of the campus, displayed in a fall 1948 exhibit in Durand Institute (Middle Campus; Chicago Tribune, Sept. 10, 1948). This painting's whereabouts is not known, but it is reproduced as a double-spread title-page for the 1950 Forester yearbook.  It included the new South Campus taken over that year from Lake Forest Academy.  He consulted on other design projects for the College, including a decal for cars and the red, black and gold campus signage, 1949, in use to the mid 1980s, a third of a century.

Nash's own art included thirty-five wartime portraits of "the 5th Corps Area and of famous fliers at Dayton Wright Airfield" in Dayton, Ohio.  After being shown in midwestern state universities, "these were hung at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry." 

A later exhibit included "a group of watercolors done on fishing trips to what he called a 'painter's paradise,'" the Jackson Hole area, where he had a ranch for summers.  ("Joseph P. Nash," draft for Bulletin, January 16, 1951, Nash file; "South Side Artists Hold Show," Chicago Tribune, Oct. 12, 1947, F4).  Nash's file contains correspondence with Ernest Johnson summers from Nash's Wyoming ranch ("Square G Ranch, Jenny Lake, Wyoming," apparently on stationery of his design with a sketch of cowboys at a chuck wagon at the bottom of the page).  One of these western watercolors was owned and displayed framed by Ruth Jackson in the 1990s, a former office manager in the Dean of Students office, who lived on Illinois Road opposite Farwell Field. 

According to a one-page summary of his art career in his file, Nash "was a charter member of the Tetons Artists Association, a gourp of artists who spend time each year in Wyoming and paint the Wyoming locals.  In 1947, a series of his paintings entitled 'The Jackson Hole Country of Wyoming -- People and Places' was exhibited...." 

Also noted in the one-page write-up of Nash's career was that he had been a "member of the Chicago Association of Painters and Sculptors, the Chicago Galleries Association, and a former presdient of the North Shore Art League."  In addition, "Mr. Nash was well known to this area for his portraits of many Chicago, Lake Forest, and North Shore residents."

Joseph Nash and his spouse, Mildred, were childless, but by the late 1930s sought to build a new house, at 15 Wooded Lane, in the Northmoor subdivision less than a mile south of the College off Sheridan Road.  He was then on the faculty of the Bell School.  The house is of interest because it is one of only two local projects by the Highland Park Prairie School architect John Van Bergen, 1885-1969 (the other 1400 N. Waukegan-- see Arthur Jackson estate collection in this series of finding aids; associate architect); also it is not, as with the other local house, in Van Bergen's well-known Prairie School derived style, but rather in the New England salt box/colonial revival  tradition.  The Nash's house by Van Bergen  was featured in a September 1940 issue of Better Homes and Gardens.  The key, distinctive feature was the large mullioned north-facing window in the large living room/studio (still extant, though the house has been expanded greatly).

Sources:

[Nash did not appear in available copies of biographical dictionaries of American artists or of Western artists.]

Holloway, Maurine Shaw.  "A Snug Little House on a Budget," Better Homes and Gardens, September 1940, 32-33 ff.  A partial photocopy of this article is in Van Bergen's Special Collections reference file (Lake Forest designers). 

Johnson, Ernest A. Typed Memo to Nash, November 10, 1947, 1p., relating to Nash's S. P. Williams portrait "last year." Nash file. 

"Joseph P. Nash," carbon typescript draft, 1/16/52, 2 pp. Nash file. 

"Joseph P. Nash," one-page original typescript summary of Nash's career as an artist, undated, but written after the January 4, 1952 memorial service.  Nash file.

"Lake Forest College to Open Art Exhibit with Tea on Sept. 19," Chicago Tribune, September 10, 1948, A3.

Nash, Joseph file, Faculty (former).

"South Side Artists Hold Show," Chicago Tribune, Oct. 12, 1947, F4.  A separate section of this art column further down mentions Nash's work from Jackson Hole.

Sources:

[Nash did not appear in available copies of biographical dictionaries of American artists or of Western artists.]

Holloway, Maurine Shaw.  "A Snug Little House on a Budget," Better Homes and Gardens, September 1940, 32-33 ff.  A partial photocopy of this article is in Van Bergen's Special Collections reference file (Lake Forest designers). 

Johnson, Ernest A. Typed Memo to Nash, November 10, 1947, 1p., relating to Nash's S. P. Williams portrait "last year." Nash file. 

"Joseph P. Nash," carbon typescript draft, 1/16/52, 2 pp. Nash file. 

"Joseph P. Nash," one-page original typescript summary of Nash's career as an artist, undated, but written after the January 4, 1952 memorial service.  Nash file. 

"Lake Forest College to Open Art Exhibit with Tea on Sept. 19," Chicago Tribune, September 10, 1948, A3.

Nash, Joseph file, Faculty (former).

"South Side Artists Hold Show," Chicago Tribune, Oct. 12, 1947, F4.  A separate section of this art column further down mentions Nash's work from Jackson Hole.

Note Author: Arthur H. Miller, Archivist and Librarian for Special Collections, amiller@lakeforest.edu



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