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Artist Biography

Mulhaupt was known as the “Dean of the Cape Ann School” because of his extraordinary ability to capture the experience and atmosphere of harbor activity in Gloucester, Massachusetts. The artist was particularly acclaimed for busy maritime scenes, which won him wide patronage and critical acclaim. He spent considerable time drawing outdoors, and his large paintings were clever reconstructions of scenes based upon these sketches. A fellow Cape Ann painter, Emile Gruppé, aptly characterized Mulhaupt’s style and special relationship with Gloucester when he wrote:

"There were painters in Gloucester in the old days who were more exact than he was—more "authentic" in that they got the shape of each boat exactly right. But many of these painters, as you looked at their work, might just as well have been painting a scene in England or Norway. Mulhaupt got the smell of Gloucester on canvas. He captured the mood of the place—and that's worth all the good drawing of a hundred lesser painters."

Mulhaupt grew up in Kansas, and like other artists he made the pilgrimage east to study and work in Chicago, and then New York. He first visited Cape Ann in about 1907, and spent many summers there before moving permanently in 1922. His second Cape Ann studio, purchased in 1932, was a former blacksmith’s shop in Rocky Neck that sat on pilings in the harbor. This setting provided a unique vantage point, apparently so compelling to the artist that he painted there year round despite the lack of running water during the winter months.

The artist’s works are in a number of prestigious public and private collections, including the National Academy of Design, New York; the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts; the Reading Public Museum, Reading, Pennsylvania; the Cummer Museum of Art, Jacksonville, Florida; the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indiana; and the University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor, Michigan, among others.


Emile Gruppé, Gruppé on Painting: Direct Techniques in Oil (New York: Watson-Guptill Publications, 1976), p. 89