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Edgar Malin Craven

1891 - 1960

Few men have the talent or energy or courage to pursue two careers in a lifetime, but Edgar Malin Craven was one of those men. First as a banker and later as an accomplished artist.

Edgar Malin Craven was born April 4, 1891 in Paterson, New Jersey. The son in a working class family of that thriving turn of the century New Jersey "Silk City." Craven at a very early age displayed all of the talents necessary to be a good artist. Just a little instruction and honing to go with the natural talent was needed, but it was not to be. The life of an artist was not one that was easily accepted into a working class family. So in 1907 at the age of 16, Craven left his schooling and journeyed to New York City to find employment. He found it at The Greenwich Savings Bank where he started as a bank messenger and general "job doer." During the ensuing 35 years, Craven worked diligently at his bank jobs slowly rising through the ranks to finally become Controller and Vice President of Grennwich. Along the way he dabbled at his amateur art work, married Kathryn Lang and in 1923 moved to their home at 135 Intervale Road in Mountain Lakes, NJ where he was to live the remainder of his life.

Although Craven was very well known among the banking community and had been successful in his career, he retired from the Greenwich Savings Bank in 1943 at the age of 52 to pursue his real love... painting. It was at this time that his arts training took a major jump forward when he enrolled in New York City's noted Grand Central School of Art. The instruction evidently bore fruit, for the next year Craven won a top prize for his work at an exhibition of the Morris County Art Association, which he was later to serve as president. This was all the encouragement Craven needed. He became a prolific painter and exhibited wherever and whenever he could, taking prizes again at Morris County in 1948 and 1954 and at the prestigious Spring Lake, New Jersey Shows in 1947 and again in 1951. H also joined exhibits at the shows held by the Jersey City Museum, The Montclair Art Museum and Association, The State Art Museum in Trenton and the New Jersey Painters and Sculptors Society among others.

To further his career as a professional artist, Craven joined a number of professional artists organizations including Allied Artists of America, established in 1914 in New York City as an exhibition cooperative for professional artists to display their work, The Audubon Artists which was established in 1940 for the same purpose. Speaking to his skill as an artist, Craven was elected into the highly respected Salmagundi Club of New York City, an organization which like the National Academy of Design, requires prospective members to submit three works of art to be judged by a committee which then elects or rejects the artist into membership.

Craven was also a member of the Palm Beach, Florida Art League, where the Cravens wintered at some point following his retirement.

While Craven's skill and reputation gained him a spot in the 1956, 1957, 1958 and 1959 Who's Who in American Art, his sale of paintings never achieved statewide or national acceptance and was, for the most part, restricted to the North Jersey area adjacent to the Morris County vicinity. In this area, however, his art hangs in a number of public buildings and in numerous local homes.

Following a long bout with cancer, Edgar Malin Craven died at his home in Mountain Lakes on Monday, January 25, 1960. Funeral services were held at the Dixon Funeral Parlor, 107 Essex Avenue, Boonton, NJ, and he was buried locally. He was survived by his wife Kathryn.

  1. Who's Who in American Art, edited by Dorothy B. Bilbert, R.R. Bowker Company, New York City, 1956, 1957, 1958 editions.
  2. Index to Artistic Biography, Patricia Pate Havlice, Scarecrow Press, Inc., Methuchen, NJ, 1973.
  3. New York Times Obituary, January 27, 1960, Page 30.
  4. Morristown Daily Record Obituary, January 27, 1960.
  5. Daveboirt's Art Reference and Price Guide, 1994-95 Edition:
    • Cravebm Edgar Malin, -20thC, Louisiana Landscapes, 20x30, Oil, $450.
    • Craven, Edgar Malin, 20thC, European Landscapes, 20x30, $550.

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