Fred Stonehouse

Year inducted: 2007
1960-

Fred Stonehouse emerged as an important figure in the Milwaukee community almost immediately after graduating from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, in 1982. His extraordinary subject matter and technique caught the eye of local dealers and museum personnel, and he soon built support and patronage from around the United States. He has been part of hundreds of exhibits and dozens of solo shows ranging from Los Angeles to New York, with museums and notable collectors purchasing his work. To emphasize the importance of this relatively young painter, he was part of an exhibit at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design that bore as part of the title “Wisconsin Masters”. Fred’s work has evolved over the years, but it remains on the cutting edge of peculiar figuration, a kind of Magic Realism or personal surrealism derived from many sources, including Hispanic and alternative pop cultures. From his first deliberately crude painting style the work has developed into technically proficient work, eye catching in itself, and when blended with his sometimes seemingly oddball subject matter, it may sometimes be disturbing but it is always arresting. His unique visions and influence have even brought a Milwaukee art dealer to say that there is a “School of Stonehouse”, exemplified by artists who have joined him in choice of subjects and techniques. He creates idiosyncratic icons, pseudo moralistic presentments, updated Bosch-like visions, and as one of his art dealers has put it, he has maintained a “delicate balance of humor, beauty and derangement.” And this is said of a fellow who is known to be down to Earth, open and honest, always approachable…and as far as we know, imperfectly normal as the next man.

Works by Fred Stonehouse