Paul Chidlaw (1900 - 1989)

Paul Chidlaw was born on April 5, 1900 to Edward H. and Carolyn Guise Chidlaw in Cleves, Ohio. He was a colorist who painted in oil, watercolor, acrylic, etchings, pastel, charcoal, pencil.  His artwork is displayed in the Cincinnati Art Museum and Xavier University. 

In 1927, after working as a designer for commercial firms in Cincinnati for several years, he travelled to France and studied at L'Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Fontainebleau. He later moved to Paris and studied with Jean Despujols and Andre L'Hote. Chidlaw found that his formal academic art training was restrictive. In 1989 while reflecting on his studies in France, Chidlaw remarked: "Because of my academic training, my painting was rather reserved. I was always trying to imitate nature. I wasn't as free. I was more less in a box." Not having yet achieved renown as an artist himself, Chidlaw had to finance his stay in Paris by finding employment in a foreign exchange section at a banker's trust.

Chidlaw returned to Cincinnati in 1935 and taught and painted various commissions including Work Progress Administration (WPA) murals under the Federal Art Project. During World War II, he served in the US Army Engineers. He taught at the Art Academy of Cincinnati from 1947 until his retirement in 1963.

After retirement, he taught drawing and painting in a studio in the Rookwood Building in Mt. Adams from 1964 to 1977, when he was appointed artist-in-residence at Edgecliff College. In 1979 Edgecliff awarded him an honorary doctorate.

Of his work, Chidlaw said “I’m not a person who represents. I present. Landscapes are outside. Paintings are inside. Therefore they are more from the mind and not a copy of something. That way I can get a good copy of nature as I feel it and understand it”

Paul Chidlaw was afflicted with macular degeneration in his last years yet would do black and white drawings every day only being able to see with peripheral vision, he turned to music to inspire his final abstract paintings. He was driven to create something new every day.  Paul Chidlaw died in 1989. 

 

Notable Students:

  • Jim Dine American pop artist took classes with Chidlaw in 1953.
  • Tom Wesselman, American artist associated with the Pop Art movement.