Historical Society features work of early 1900s Kaneville artist

By on June 12, 2009

by Susan O’Neill
KANEVILLE—The Kaneville Historical Society invites the public to view the artifacts of the Ravlin family on Sunday, June 14 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Grace Ravlin, born in 1873, was the youngest child of Needham Nicancor Ravlin of Kaneville and Frances West Ravlin of Geneva. When she was 16, Grace’s life began the transition from farm girl to that of a budding artist, when she attended classes at the Art Institute of Chicago.

She came back to teach in the old 1855 school in Kaneville, but soon went back to study in earnest at the Art Institute. After completing her studies there, she attended the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art.

At the age of 33, Grace went to Europe to hone her craft. From 1906 to 1922, her painting excursions took her to rural France, Belgium, Holland, Italy, Spain and North Africa, where she painted in Morocco and Tunisia.

Closer to home, she also painted in Mexico and New Mexico, where her work was displayed at the Museum of New Mexico’s 1917 opening show. Her work has also been displayed in the Art Institute of Chicago and in many Parisian museums, as well as in many homes and businesses in the United States.

Her long letters home to her sister Alta in Kaneville described her experiences, the scenery and sights she saw and the other artists she met. These letters became the foundation for a book nearing completion by her great niece Alta Ann Parkins/Morris with Eva Moore, “A Nontraditional Woman The Life and Letters of an American Artist.”

More recent Kaneville members of the Ravlin family include Dr. Lloyd Ravlin, who practiced medicine in Kaneville during the 1950s, and his father Harold Ravlin, a local farmer, some of whose land became the Ravlin Subdivision, attached to the southwest portion of Kaneville.

Photo: Lynette Werdin’s grandmother Lettie Lovell Phelps (2nd row left) and Grace Ravlin (1st row right) were friends and members of The Mandolin Club. Courtesy Photo

Display of artifacts from the Ravlin family
Lovell Street across from the
Kaneville Township Fire Station
Sunday, June 14
8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
during Fire Department’s Pancake Breakfast

Tom Runty will demonstrate his steam engine to entertain children of all ages. Karl Kettelkamp will share his knowledge of Indian artifacts.