George Biddle

CFA Service: 1950–1955

After earning a law degree from Harvard University in 1911, George Biddle turned to painting, studying at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia and completing a degree there in 1913. He studied at the Académie Julian in Paris; following service in World War I, he lived abroad and returned to the United States in 1932. A proponent of art for the masses and a friend of Franklin Roosevelt, Biddle is credited with convincing the president to develop a publicly supported arts program as part of the New Deal, which became the Federal Art Project. Biddle, whose painting was influenced by the social realism of Diego Rivera, completed a mural, The Tenement, in the Department of Justice as part of that program. Biddle was also the author of several books, and his paintings are in the permanent collection of numerous museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Whitney Museum. In 1952 Biddle was named a resident in visual arts at the American Academy of Rome. His papers are in the Smithsonian Archives of American Art.