Francesco Spicuzza

Year inducted: 2008
1883-1962

If one studies the history of art in Wisconsin, or is engaged in the field of buying or selling art from this state, one of the first names to be encountered is Francesco Spicuzza, an extremely talented artist who produced thousands of works thru which he earned an income for his family. Though in a practical manner he would produce works to order and in a variety of sizes, quality and price ranges, it is also acknowledged that he could produce masterpieces. Sometimes described as being largely self taught it is known that he studied with Wisconsin notables Robert Shade and Alexander Mueller before becoming part of the Milwaukee Art Student’s League, teaching at the Milwaukee Art Institute and in his private studio. He was also a member of the Milwaukee Arts Commission, the Seven Arts Society and an honorary member of Wisconsin Painters & Sculptors. Francesco was among the first to avoid the influence of the Germanic Academic realism that was commonly seen in Wisconsin art, and early in his career he was considered revolutionary for presenting a visual style that was akin to French Impressionism. He is best known for his paintings and pastels of Lake Michigan beach and bather scenes, but he produced an array of landscapes, still lifes, State Fair scenes, allegorical-themed paintings and portraits. In 1962 he is quoted as saying, “One should trust to the impression of one’s own eyes . . . it is not the biggest that is the best in art – but rather the simple, sympathetic, poetic bits of nature that make one feel and see the beauty of the good in all things.”

Works by Francesco Spicuzza