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Eugene Francis Savage (March 29, 1883—October 19, 1978) was an American painter and sculptor known for his murals in the manner made official under the Works Projects Administration. He also is known for his work on the Bailey Fountain in Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn, New York.


Savage was born in Covington, Indiana. In 1915, while studying at the Chicago Art Institute, he won the Rome Prize in painting, enabling him to study at the American Academy in Rome, where he received a bachelor of arts degree.[2] Later he received Bachelor of Arts (1924) and Master of Fine Arts from Yale University. Savage subsequently taught at the Yale School of Art and Architecture for twenty-eight years, where he was the Leffingwell Professor of Painting & Design.[3]

Savage's training in Early Renaissance techniques strongly influence his style.[4] He was also strongly influenced by Thomas Hart Benton. Other contemporary influences on his public art were his Latin American contemporaries Diego Rivera and José Clemente Orozco.

Savage's influence was extended by his service on high-profile arts committees. While acting as a member of the Fine Arts committee of the American Academy in Rome, he ensured, though not a member of the jury, that a generation of winning artists were painting in the manner of Thomas Hart Benton or Savage himself.[5] He became an Associate Member of the National Academy of Design, 1924 and National Academician, 1926.[6][7] Savage also served on the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts from 1933 to 1941 and was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, to which he was elected in 1936.[8][9]

Bailey Fountain, Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn, New York, 1932

Savage was commissioned by the Matson Navigation Company to paint nine 4 by 8 foot Hawaiian-themed murals in Hawaii. They were completed in 1940, but never installed in the company's ships, which had been converted to troopships. In 1948, lithographs based on these murals were used as menu covers on Matson's flagship, SS Lurline.[10]

In 1935 and 1953 Savage visited Florida, where he painted the experience of the Seminole in their Everglades, taking note of the intrusion of modern civilization into what seemed to be a Garden of Eden pastoral existence. These paintings were done at the same time the effort was under way to create the Everglades National Park[11]

Murals by Savage are on the campuses of Purdue, Columbia and Yale Universities. At Yale, he oversaw the decorative painting of Sterling Memorial Library and painted the library's Alma Mater mural.[12] His work also features in government buildings in Connecticut, the Elks National Veterans Memorial in Chicago, the new Post Office Building (now Ariel Rios Federal Building) in Washington, in Indiana and the renovated Court of Appeals Hall, Albany, New York (1959). He also did the Great Hall murals in the Hall of State at Fair Park for the 1936 Centennial Exposition in Dallas, Texas.

In other media, he provided illustrations for Coningsby Dawson's Christmas Outside of Eden. In 1938 the Matson Lines commissioned him to paint murals depicting native Hawaiian life, which were later adapted for menus and other memorabilia.[13]


Berenson, Richard J. (ed), The Complete Illustrated Guidebook to Prospect Park and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, New York, Silver Lining Books, New York, 2001, ISBN 0-7607-2213-7, pages 32–36.
Carnegie Corporation, On Art Education. (1929.) New York: Carnegie Corporation.
Lancaster, Clay, Prospect Park Handbook, New York, Published for Greensward Foundation by Long Island University Press, 1972, ISBN 0-913252-06-9.
Papanikolas, Theresa and DeSoto Brown, Art Deco Hawai'i, Honolulu, Honolulu Museum of Art, 2014, ISBN 978-0-937426-89-0, pp. 106-112


Fort, Ilene Susan; Quick, Michael, eds. (1991). American art : a catalogue of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art collection. University of Washington Press. p. 462. ISBN 0295970278.
The date is sometimes incorrectly given as 1912. "American Academy in Rome, Society of Fellows".
"Prix de Rome". Time Magazine. 23 May 1932. Retrieved 15 April 2014.
Wageman, Virginia; Freshman, Paul, eds. (2004). Paintings and Sculpture in the Collection of the National Academy of Design: 1826–1925 (1st ed.). Hudson Hills. pp. 492–493. ISBN 9781555950293. Retrieved 6 April 2014.
Because of his purported influence, awardees were known as "little Savages", according to TIME (1932).
"Eugene Savage: festival of the Sea".
"Eugene Savage: Self-portrait". Hamilton Auction Galleries.
"Deceased members". American Academy of Arts and Letters. Retrieved 14 April 2014.
Luebke, Thomas E., ed. (2013). "Appendix B". Civic Art: A Centennial History of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Commission of Fine Arts. p. 554.
"Discussion Board for Eugene Savage". AskArt. Retrieved 15 April 2014.
"Public Art at Yale". Yale University. Retrieved 15 April 2014.
Lynn Blocker Krantz, Nick Krantz, Mary Thiele Fobian, To Honolulu in Five Days: Cruising Aboard Matson's S.S. Lurline 2001.

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