The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Frederic-Clay Bartlett, 1873-1953

Nationality: American
Date of Birth: 1873.06.01
Place of Birth: Chicago
Date of Death: 1953
Place of Death: Chicago


He was a painter.


He was a member of the Socié Internationale de Peinture et Scutpture, Paris, when JW was an Honorary Member in 1901 (see #05498).

Frederic-Clay Bartlett was born in Chicago to Adolphus Clay and Mary Pitcairn Bartlett. Moving to Europe in 1893 to study art for seven years, Bartlett is known to have studied with Whistler in both Paris and Munich. Later settling in Chicago, Bartlett became a successful exponent of the popular Gothic style, combining this with English Arts and Craft tendencies. Known as a muralist, decorator and painter, Bartlett completed works for the University of Chicago, including the Bartlett Gymnasium (donated by his father in memory of a recently deceased son). In addition, Bartlett decorated the Council Chambers in Chicago City Hall, 1912, and created extensive murals for the Second Presbyterian Church of Chicago.

Bartlett was further known as a collector of Post Impressionist works, which he gave to the Art Institute of Chicago in memory of his second wife, Helen Birch Bartlett, in 1926.

One of four children, Bartlett was widowed twice, having one son, Clay Bartlett, before finally marrying Evelyn Fortune Lilly in 1931. She was a fellow artist with whom he lived and worked at Bonnet House, Fort Lauderdale.


Bénézit, E., Dictionnaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs et Graveurs, 8 vols, Paris, 1956-61; The Art Institute of Chicago, http://; Bonnet House Museum and Gardens,; Chicago Public Library ,; University of Chicago Online, (accessed September 2004; Gray, Mary Lackritz, A Guide to Chicago's Murals, University of Chicago Press, 2001.