Jenne Magafan (1916–1952, American)
oil on paperboard
15 x 20 inches
The daughter of a Greek immigrant father and a Polish immigrant mother, Jenne Magafan and her twin sister Ethel, also an artist, were born in Chicago in 1916. They grew up in Colorado and attended Denver’s East High School. After their father died, Jenne and Ethel were mentored by artist Frank Mechau, initially studying at his School of Modern Art in Denver in 1933. They continued instruction with him, Peppino Mangravite and Boardman Robinson at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. They also worked at Mechau’s studio in Redstone, Colorado, assisting him with numerous mural commissions. Jenne became a successful mural painter in her own right in the 1930s and early 1940s, participating in the Depression-era Federal arts programs. Her mural work includes commissions for post offices in Anson, Texas; Albion, Nebraska; Helper, Utah; Glenwood Springs, Colorado (with her husband, Eduardo Chavez); West High School in Denver and Grafton Street Junior High School (now the Worcester East Middle School) in Massachusetts. She also collaborated with her sister Ethel on a mural for the Social Security Building (now the Department of Health, Education and Welfare) in Washington, D.C. After World War II Arnold Blanch and Doris Lee encouraged Jenne, her husband, and her sister Ethel to relocate to the art colony in Woodstock, New York, where they remained the rest of their lives. Jenne received a Tiffany Foundation Fellowship (1949, 1950) and in 1951–1952 she painted in Italy where her husband was studying on a Fulbright Grant. Shortly after their return home she tragically died of a brain aneurism at age 36. Jenne had solo exhibitions at the Denver Art Museum, Santa Barbara Museum of Art and the Ganso Gallery, New York City. She also participated in group exhibitions at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Denver Art Museum, Art Institute of Chicago, Los Angeles Museum of Art and Claremont College.
Not currently on view
Signed "Jenne Magafan" lower right corner
Collection Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art; Partial Gift of Ewa & Stan Cuba