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Frank Williamson Skinner (1878-1942)


Frank W. Skinner was born February 17, 1878 in Nashua, Iowa.  He was the son of Wellington - a Methodist minister - and Lucy (Goble) Skinner.  Early in his career he was associated for about three years with the Terre Haute Gazette in the newspaper business. This would have likely been around 1900 as they ceased publication in 1904.  Skinner was then associated with the advertising business in Minneapolis - the John H. Mitchell Advertising Agency - which he purchased in 1914.  This company represented Munsingwear, Toastmaster, Anacin and Minneapolis Moline.  He also worked at the Smith Lithograph Company in Chicago until about 1939 when he moved permanently to Beaver Bay, Minnesota, and founded Studio Inn Resort.  There, in his painting studio, could be found many of his landscape paintings of the area.


Artistically, he studied at the Cumming School of Art in Des Moines, Iowa; plus the Chicago Academy and the Art Students League in New York.  He exhibited at a number of mid-western cities including Minneapolis and Duluth plus a number of one-man local exhibitions.


The following was written about Skinner in The Gopher, the magazine of the Minneapolis Athletic Club (circa early 1940’s) … Mr. Skinner is a versatile person, having been both in the newspaper and advertising business before seriously developing his career as a landscape artist.  But his heart has always been in his painting and in Northern Minnesota.  As a matter of fact, he is such a staunch Minnesota booster that when he delivers his lectures before luncheon and women's clubs throughout the country…as he does each winter in conjunction with his one-man exhibitions…he talks more about the beauty and color and variety to be found in Minnesota woods and waters than he does about his paintings.  As Mr. Skinner casually put it, "Well, why should I talk about my landscapes?  Let them talk for themselves."    And anyone with the tiniest drop of comprehension can understand the story they tell.  Artist Skinner has visited most of the paintable parts of this country from coast to coast and, finally, selected the North Shore and the Superior National Forest as his center of operations. "This section of Minnesota has practically everything an artist could want in the way of variety and color.  There is unlimited opportunity in the matter of subjects: marines, cliffs, wild forests, rough streams, quiet pools."


Skinner died at his home in Beaver Bay on June 17, 1942 after a short illness at the age of 64. 



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