John Storrs is perhaps best known for his columnar, architecture-inspired sculpture made of metal and stone of the early 1920s. Yet Storrs created masterful works in many other media throughout a career spanning nearly fifty years and two continents. He began his artistic training in the United States before moving to Paris in 1911. There he formed not only artistic but also personal alliances. While in Paris, Storrs developed an early friendship with Jacques Lipchitz whom he met in art school; met and married a French writer, Marguerite De Ville Chabrol in 1914; and studied and worked with the sculptor, Auguste Rodin, with whom he remained close until the master’s death, in 1917. His work of the teens included not just sculpture but also woodblock prints. The cross-fertilization between works in these two complementary forms of expression-- carving from a block to make a three-dimensional object in space, and carving from a block to make a print--led to breakthroughs for Storrs in both media.
His first one-artist show at Folsom Galleries in New York in December of 1920 presented these prints and early sculptural works with equal emphasis. In the 1920s, Storrs developed an aesthetic based on the stylization of Art Deco. A 1923 one-artist exhibition at the Société Anonyme in New York, which also traveled to the Arts Club of Chicago, established Storrs as a member of the international avant-garde. Storrs exhibited his paintings for the first time in Chicago in 1931 at the Chester H. Johnson Gallery.
In 1939, at the outbreak of World War II, the Storrs family had just returned to France from a trip to America. Unbeknownst to Storrs at the time, he would never again return to America. He was arrested and imprisoned for six months in a concentration camp. Psychologically drained by the war, Storrs’ paintings from the 1950’s are highly symbolic, tonal paintings with one or two figures dwarfed by the landscape. Despite the fact that he had frequently traveled between and worked in both the United States, especially Chicago, and France, Storrs lived out the remainder of his days at his home in France.