BiographyKeith Crown was born May 27, 1918, in Keokuk, IA. He attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, receiving his BFA in 1946. Between 1940 and 1941, Crown was an instructor of art at Luther College before being inducted into the Army. During World War II, he was an Infantry Artist and Staff Sergeant as well as a field correspondent for Yank magazine. He was awarded a Bronze Star during the War. Crown started out at Camp Roberts in California, was transferred to a camp in Washington, and then deployed to Hawaii. His war service was primarily spent in the Pacific theater serving in the 161st Regiment, 25th Division. He married Helen Elaine Talle in 1945. He later married to Patricia Dahlman in 1966.
In 1946, Crown joined the faculty at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles as an instructor of art. In 1947, he had his first one-man show at the M.H. deYoung Museum in San Francisco, CA. Crown was interested in pre-Columbian art and when awarded a sabbatical leave in 1956, he visited Taos, NM, for four months. He spent his second sabbatical in 1964 as a visiting professor of painting at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.
In 1965, Crown lost over one hundred paintings through an act of vandalism.
He continued working, however, and became a visiting professor of painting at the University of Calgary at Alberta, Canada, during the summer months. He continued doing summer visiting professorships, with positions at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Portland State University, the University of Illinois and the University of Missouri, Columbia. Crown also gave numerous lecture-demonstrations and workshops and served as artist in residence at several colleges including Bethany College in Lindsborg, KS and the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.
In 1975, Coughlin built a house in Talpa, near Taos. Although he continued traveling widely, he stayed in Taos part of each year. Retiring in 1983, from University of Southern California as a Professor Emeritus of Art, he moved to Columbia, MO, where he continued to produce art. A retrospective exhibit of his art was held to celebrate his 90th birthday in 2008 at the Perlow-Stevens Gallery at the University of Missouri.
He was president of the National Watercolor Society in 1959 and a member of the founding board of directors of the Los Angeles chapter of Artist’s Equity. He served on many juries for art exhibitions and his paintings illustrate numerous books. In 2003, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Watercolor Society USA Honor Society.
Source of Biography“December 7, 1941: America, Winneshiek Go to War!” Decorah Public Opinion, 779 (December 3, 1991); Reich, Sheldon. Keith Crown: Watercolors. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press, 1986;
“Keith Crown, A Watercolorist.” The Missourian. May 23, 2008. ;
Who’s Who in American Art. New York: R.R. Bowker, various dates;