Motor Illustrator: F. C. Stahr
March 1906 cover. Against a light green background, the inclined head of Mercury appears in the center of an automobile tire.
Frederick Charles Stahr (June 9, 1876 — March 9, 1946) was best known as a muralist. Born in Manhattan, his family moved to Staten Island when Frederick was 2. He studied at the National Academy of Design, the American Academy of Rome, and the Royal Academy of Bavaria in Munich.
He won first prize in composition in May 1896 at an exhibition of student art at the National Academy of Art. In 1896, he assisted muralist Charles Yardley Turner complete the painting "The Triumph of Manhattan" for the Manhattan Hotel at 42d and Madison. In 1899, he is known to have done an etching of Chief Thundercloud and, in 1905, he assisted Turner on his mural "Opening of the Erie Canal" at the DeWitt Clinton High School. The Pen and Brush magazine published one of his etchings in 1906. In 1908, he worked with another artist, U. Pastore, to paint pendentives (triangular segments in the corners of a dome-topped room) in the Minooka, Pennsylvania courthouse. That same year he also painted pendentives at the Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania courthouse. Those murals depicted common law, moral law, statute law, and lawlessness.
From 1911 to 1914, he was awarded the National Academy of Design's Lazarus Scholarship to study mural painting at the American Academy of Rome. In 1915, he sent a large mural painting "Minoan Poetry", representing the arts of ancient Crete, to the National Sculpture Society. The mural was exhibited at the Cosmopolitan Club in March 1917. In addition, his New York Times obituary of March 11, 1946, noted that his work appeared in courthouses in Baltimore, Chicago, and Boston. Stahr is also credited with painting a court scene at the Newark courthouse and assisting muralist George W. Maynard with the ceiling of the old Metropolitan Opera. One of his last works was a large chancel painting "The Inviting Christ" commissioned by Mrs. Frederick Rader for installation at a Moravian church.
He taught art classes at Columbia University's Architecture School beginning in 1903, as an exchange for other Columbia courses he took. Stahr also taught at the National Academy of Design and gave private lessons at his home.
When Staten Island's Borough Hall was constructed in 1905, Stahr had hoped to paint murals for it but funds were unavailable. The Federal Art Project, part of the Works Projects Administration of the thirties, changed that, and from 1936 to 1938, Stahr painted thirteen panels (still on site) on a stairwell between the ground and first floors and along the first-floor hallway. The murals, in storybook style, depict the history of Staten Island, from explorer Verrazano's stop in 1574 to the construction of the Bayonne Bridge in 1931.
After a short illness, Stahr died at home of a heart ailment.
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