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Rudolph Weisenborn (1881-1974) was born in Strassburg, Germany, and was orphaned at age nine. He was taken in and raised by a farmer in Wisconsin, Iowa, and North Dakota. Weisenborn first attended the University of North Dakota in 1898, then the Students School of Art in Denver. Various accounts have him working out west as a gold miner and cowboy.

Around 1912, he settled in Chicago and worked as a window designer for Marshall Fields. Weisenborn is best known as the founder of the Chicago No-Jury Society of Artists. The group was founded because many artists could not get their work accepted into the mainstream Art Institute shows. Weisenborn was also involved and helped found other radical artists groups such as the Salon des Refuses, Cor Ardens, and Neo-Arlimusic. In 1936, he helped found the New York-based American Abstract Artists Group. He created the only abstract mural for the 1933 Century of Progress Exhibition in Chicago and also worked for the Federal Arts Project in the Easel Division. In 1945, Chicago businessman Herman Spertus commissioned Weisenborn to paint the mural The Fighting Navy for the Great Lakes Naval Training Station. Weisenborn taught at Hull House (1920), the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts (1922-34), his own Weisenborn Art School (1934-64), and the Austin, Oak Park, River Forest Art League in Oak Park (1941).

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