Grace French:

Pioneer Teacher and Artist

"The pursuit of art is not wholly a contest of eyesight. The brain must be largely employed
if one would attain even a respectable position."

Grace French DVD and Booklet
DVD and booklet available in The Journey Museum Store





Grace French came to the Black Hills in 1885. In a time when many women married and raised families, Grace and Abbie French maintained their property and social networks as single independent women, bringing culture to a “cowboy” town. Grace earned her living as artist, training normal school students and aspiring artists by the strictest standards. Influenced by the industrial design movement, education theory and decorative arts trends, she made art into a sustainable business. In her lifelong pursuit of art, pioneer artist Grace French left a legacy of instruction and painting that captured our history and that lives today in working artists, art teachers and painters of elegant china.


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Research and media for this website were funded in part by grants from the
South Dakota Humanities Council and the Mary Chilton DAR Foundation.