John Storrs

(1885-1956)

The sculptor and painter John Storrs grew up in Chicago and studied art for many years in America and Europe. In 1910 he entered Chicago Manual Training School when he became seriously interested in becoming an artist. Upon travelling to Europe in 1905, he studied with the sculptor Arthur Bock in Hamburg, Germany. In 1906, Storrs briefly enrolled in the Académie Julian in Paris. The following year he attended the Académie Franklin. Following his return to America in 1907, Storrs studied with Bella Pratt at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and with Charles Grafly at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Returning to Paris in 1911, he received instruction from the American sculptor Paul Bartlett, and attended the Académie Colarossi. In 1912, he began study with Rodin, and formed a close friendship with the Frenchman up until the time of Rodin’s death five years later.

Between 1914 and 1919, Storrs began to experiment with a Cubist-influenced style. Cubism provided the artist with a way to geometrize the human form, and through geometry he discovered a means of expressing his feelings about purity and spirituality. Storrs scholar Noel Frackman has noted that “geometry for Storrs was never merely intellectual but deeply ingrained in his poetic, passionate nature” (John Storrs [New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, 1986], p. 17). Furthermore, Frackman has noted “his natural predisposition for simplicity, geometric order, symmetry, and for art as a totality – conceived as a unity rather than as an aggregate of detail” (Ibid., p. 11). In 1914, Storrs married the French writer Marguerite De Ville Chabrol, He settled in France, and resided with his wife at a château in the Loire Valley.