Edmond James Fitzgerald Biography
(1912-1989) A marine, landscape and portrait painter as well as combat artist during World War II, Edmond J. Fitzgerald was born in Seattle in 1912, one of seven children. He graduated from the California School of Fine Arts where he was a student of Lee Randolph. At age nineteen, Fitzgerald was part of the U.S. Geological Survey Expedition to Alaska, and was so taken with the geography, he returned annually for the next ten years, sometimes in the company of Eustace Ziegler "who influenced him more than any other artist." (Kollar, 2) Ziegler and Fitzgerald had nearby studios on Pier 9 in Seattle on the waterfront. Another good friend and painting companion was Eric Johanson, with whom he painted near Index, Washington on the Skyhomish River. Fitzgerald also had a studio near Haystack Rock on the Oregon coast.
Fitzgerald served 26 years in the United States Naval Reserve. During World War II, he commanded an LST (landing craft) and had numerous subsequent combat and other naval activity art assignments.
In 1940, just prior to his naval service, he married Mary Louise Streets, one of his art students who became a ceramics artist and also worked with him on murals. The couple had two children, whom Fitzgerald sometimes used as models for figure and portrait painting. In 1940, they moved to New York City, and after the War, settled in Larchmont, New York where he had a studio from where he also taught art classes. Also, he used the Greenwich Village studio of his good friend Chauncey Ryder when Ryder was on vacation, and Ryder sponsored Fitzgerald's membership in the Salmagundi Club. Fitzgerald sometimes returned to the Pacific Northwest beginning 1946, when he did numerous landscapes of favorite places for a one-man exhibition at the Grand Central Galleries in New York.
Teaching assignments included Newark Academy of Art, Parson's School of Design, and the New York Academy of Design. Fitzgerald was a past president of the Allied Artists of America and the American Watercolor Society, for whom he became the first Honorary President and also a regular exhibition juror. Memberships included The Artist's Fellowship and the National Society of Mural Painters.
In 1977, his first wife died. The following year Fitzgerald married Margaret Trent, and they moved to her home town of Cincinnati. He died there from cancer in 1989.
He was the author of Painting and Drawing in Charcoal and Oil and Marine Painting in Watercolor.
Written by Lonnie Pierson Dunbier
Allan J. Kollar, Edmond James Fitzgerald, N.A., A.W.S., Exhibition Catalogue for Kollar & Davidson, October 30-December 2. 1990.
Susan E. Meyer, 40 Watercolorists and How They Work