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Alexander Grinager (1865 - 1949)
Alexander Grinager was born in Albert Lea, MN, on January 26, 1865. His parents lived in the Decorah, Iowa area during the early years of their marriage. He studied with C.W. Krupp, the landscape artist, in Philadelphia, PA, before going abroad in 1887. From 1887-1891, Grinager was a pupil at the Royal Academy in Copenhagen, Denmark where he studied with Carl Bloch, Johan Fr. Vermehren, and Otto Backe. He also studied in Paris at the Julien Academy under Benjamin Constant and Paul Laurens, and while in France was particularly influenced by Manet, Monet, and by the works of Bastien LePage. He studied further in Norway, Italy and Sicily.
After returning to the U.S., Grinager lived in Minneapolis, MN, for several years studying with Peter Clausen, a Danish scenic painter, and Brut Harwood. In 1896, he moved to the New York area and remained there for the remainder of his life, making his living as an easel painter, a stage designer, and a muralist.
One of Grinager's best-known paintings is "Boys Bathing" (1894) owned by the Minneapolis Art Institute. This oil on canvas has been used as an illustration in William H. Gerdt's Art Across America: Two Centuries of Regional Painting, 1710-1920 (1990) and Minnesota Impressionists (1996).
Grinager's works were exhibited in a number of venues. He participated in exhibits of the Minneapolis Art League and the Artists League of Minneapolis between 1887 and 1915. He exhibited four works at the Minnesota Industrial Exposition in 1891 and thirteen at the same Exposition two years later. In 1910, twelve of his paintings were exhibited at the Odin Club in Minneapolis, MN, and at the St. Paul Auditorium. In 1933-34, his works were shown at the Century of Progress Exposition in Chicago, IL. His paintings were regularly exhibited at the prestigious Salmagundi Club in New York between 1908 and 1946. In 1989, works by Grinager were shown at the "Norway in America" exhibit arranged by Vesterheim for the Norsk Utvandrermuseum in Norway. An exhibit entitled, "Paintings by Minnesotans of Norwegian Background, 1870-1970," prepared under the auspices of the Minnesota Historical Society at Hill House in St. Paul in 2000, also included his paintings.
Grinager died March 8, 1949, at the age of eighty-four in Briar Cliff Manor, NY.