Discipline: Visual Art

Theodore Spicer-Simson

Discipline: Visual Art
MacDowell Fellowships: 1923

Theodore Spicer-Simson (1871-1959) studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. He and Margaret Spicer-Simson, a miniaturist, lived in Paris where Theodore worked with sculptor Jean Dampt. He met many artists and literary figures, many of which were later to be subject of his medallions, including Leo and Ella Mielziner, Henri Monod, James Stephens, and many others. Many prominent people on both sides of the Atlantic sat for Spicer-Simson, including three United States Presidents: William Howard Taft, Woodrow Wilson, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. In 1921 he started work on Men of Letters of the British Isles a volume containing medallic portraits of writers such as George Bernard Shaw, W.B. Yeats, A.E. Houseman, G.K. Chesterton, and others. The Spicer-Simsons were in France during the outbreak of World War II. Since Spicer-Simson was of British citizenship, he was arrested in 1940 by the German army. Margaret was not arrested because she was an American citizen and the U.S. was not directly involved in the war at that time. He was released, after spending time in a prisoners' camp, in April, 1941 and remained the rest of the war at Les Volets Verts. After the war the Spicer-Simson moved to Folrida where he remained until his death. His work is contained in various museums, libraries, and private collections world-wide. Notable among these are a tablet honoring Alexander Graham Bell displayed at the National Geographic Society Building and one honoring Hervey J. Allen on display at the American Museum of Natural History, both in Washington, D.C.



Theodore Spicer-Simson worked in the Adams studio.

Given to the MacDowell Association by Margaret Adams of Chicago, the half-timbered, stuccoed Adams Studio was designed by MacDowell Fellow and architect F. Tolles Chamberlin ca. 1914. Chamberlin was primarily a painter, but also provided designs for the Lodge and an early renovation of the main hall. The studio’s structural integrity was restored during a thorough renovation in…

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