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Darwin Musselman

California Styles of the Artist and Educator

"The world of art

has lost a major contemporary artist."

A Tribute from

John Howard Sanden

Darwin Musselman, 1916 - 2001 

 Darwin Musselman, who died on Thursday,

June 28, at the Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Medical Center, age 85, will be remembered by all who knew him as an outstanding artist, a gentleman through and through, and a brilliant artist whose career encompassed many styles and decades.

Darwin on his 50th wedding anniversary - 1990 

I counted Darwin as my friend for 22 years or more. I believe that Elizabeth and I first met Darwin in 1979 when he arrived for the very first National Portrait Seminar in New York. He arrived early -- I mean several days early -- with his gracious wife who traveled everywhere with him. Darwin wanted to visit the galleries and museums in New York and get thoroughly settled before the five-day meeting began.  

Beginning with the 1980 seminar, Darwin was a regular faculty member. He would lecture on his specialty -- composition and design -- with a scholarly thoroughness that was impressive and appealing. Darwin was a teacher to the core. He loved to teach, and he was good at it. I am writing this without access to any biographical material, but I remember that Darwin's resume included many years of teaching in important academic positions.

I also know that his own work as a painter included a number of distinct periods. At one point he was working in a strong, design-based "modern" manner. Then he progressed toward traditional portraiture, a genre at which he was particularly skilled. His work was well-conceived, thoroughly researched, carefully drafted, and dexterously executed. The National Portrait Seminar was honored to include him on the teaching team.

I believe that Darwin and his wife participated in all nine of the National Portrait Seminars, 1979 - 1993. Many of us have lost a personal friend; the world of art has lost a major contemporary artist. But we are all richer for having known Darwin, and his work will live on.  

John Howard Sanden

courtesy of