John W. Norton

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John Warner Norton (7 March 1876 - 7 January 1934) was an American painter and muralist and who pioneered the field in the United States.

Norton was born in Lockport, Illinois, the son of John Lyman Norton and Ada Clara Gooding Norton. The family ran the Norton & Co. of Lockport. Norton's study of law at Harvard University was broken off when the family's firm went bankrupt. Before, and after a period of living as a cowboy and enlisting with the Rough Riders, he studied art at the Art Institute of Chicago (1897, 1899–1901); he would later teach there. His students included Frances Badger.[1] He was influenced by the Armory Show and the Japanese printmaker Katsushika Hokusai.

Among his works are the landmark 1929 180-foot (55 m) long ceiling mural for the concourse of the old Chicago Daily News Building (mural not currently installed in this building, which has been renamed Riverside Plaza; designed by architects Holabird & Root, 1929); the Ceres mural in the Chicago Board of Trade Building (Holabird & Root, 1930); two large murals, "Old South" and "New South" commissioned by Holabird & Root for the Jefferson County Courthouse in Birmingham, Alabama; his Tavern Club murals at the 333 North Michigan Ave. building, Chicago (Holabird & Root, 1928); his American Heritage Series at the Hamilton Park Field House, 513 W. 72nd St., Chicago; four murals at the St. Paul, Minnesota city hall; twelve murals comprising The History of Mankind (1923) at the Logan Museum of Anthropology at Beloit College, in Wisconsin; and his first major mural in Chicago's Cliff Dwellers Club (1909), where he was a founding member.

At the time of his death on January 7, 1934, in Charleston, South Carolina of cancer,[2] he was a popular and respected artist.

He was survived by his wife and his three children, a son and two daughters.



  1. ^ Schulman, Daniel. "Frances Badger". Retrieved 3 December 2016.
  2. ^ a b c "John D. W. Norton, Painter, 57, Dead; Succumbs in South Carolina Infirmary After Illness of Several Months". The New York Times. January 8, 1934. 17.
  • Zimmer, John L. (2005). "Memories of John W. Norton's Mural Masterpiece". The Living Museum. 67 (4): 4–8.
  • Gray, Mary Lackritz (2001) A Guide to Chicago's Murals. University Of Chicago Press.
  • Tallmadge, Thomas and Tom Lea (1935) John W. Norton, American Painter. Lakeside Press: Chicago (privately printed).
  • John Warner Norton (catalogue raisonné). Illinois State Museum.

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