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Michael Mason (1896-1963)

  • Michael Livingood Mason (1896-1963) was a Chicago painter and printmaker.  His lithography and paintings gained recognition from the Art Institute of Chicago, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Illinois Society of Fine Arts, Society of American Etchers, Society of American Graphic Arts, and were represented in each International Biennial Color Lithographic Exhibit from 1950-1956.  He took classes at the Summer School of Painting in Saugatuck, Michigan with his wife, artist Alice Mason.  The unique collection of watercolors in the Lost Art Salon Collection were painted during the last year of his life, while in bed recovering from a serious illness.  A renowned hand surgeon, Mason welcomed the opportunity to express visions and ideas outside of the world of medicine.

    During WWI Mason was a sergeant at an Army base hospital, staffed by faculty and students of Northwestern University, and worked in the operating room directing orderlies. Mason received his PhD in Anatomy in 1923 and graduated from Northwestern University School of Medicine in 1924.  He went on to become an accomplished hand surgeon, pioneering the field of tendon recovery.  After the War, Mason interned at Cook County Hospital in Chicago, and traveled to Vienna to conduct postgraduate studies in Pathology.  In 1942, Mason was called to serve as chief of the surgical service of the North African-Mediterranean unit, General Hospital 12.  During his time overseas, Mason and his colleagues developed the universal hand splint which is still widely used today.  He was awarded the Legion of Merit and the Ordem Nacional Do Cruzeiro Do Sol of Brazil in 1945.  He was discharged in 1946 and took up his own surgical practice, eventually becoming the Chief of Staff at Passavant Memorial Hospital.  He passed away in 1963 in Chicago.

    This collection was acquired through the estate of artist Barbara Lewis, Mason’s niece.
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