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Fred Geary

(1894 - 1946)
A native of Clarence, Missouri, Fred Geary was the head of restaurant art and decor for the Fred Harvey Company, which by 1901 operated 45 restaurants at Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe Railway depots across 12 western states.

Geary was a designer, illustrator, muralist and graphic artist who worked extensively in the Southwest. His work can found in the El Navajo Hotel in Gallup, the Desert View Watchtower at the Grand Canyon, and the San Felipe Church in Albuquerque. Geary was a member of the Prairie Print Makers group and the Woodcut Society of Kansas City. His prints were exhibited across the country at venues such as the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the Chicago International Print Club and the San Francisco Art Museum.

Geary’s bold graphic style is fully evidenced in his rendering of the San Miguel Mission in Santa Fe. His rhythmic, directional handling of the sky, clouds and foliage contrast with the strong, flat planes of the old chapel, lending a quality of monumentality and gravitas to the small edifice. Geary’s commercial work is represented by a luggage tag for the El Tovar, the grand old hotel at the terminus of the Santa Fe Railway’s spur line to the south rim of the Grand Canyon. Geary rarely dated his work but the designation of the Grand Canyon as a national park dates this charming small piece as post-1919.