It was at the age of fifty-one that many art historians believe painter Frederick John Mulhaupt truly came into his own. After decades of study, work and travel Mulhaupt had settled in Cape Ann, Massachusetts and turned his attention to the harbor and area scenery that was equally beloved to other painters such as Winslow Homer and Fitz Henry Lane.
He had been born in Missouri in 1871, and took work as a manager of magazines in Kansas early in his life. His dislike of the lawlessness of the area drove him to Kansas City were he soon entered into formal studies at the Kansas City School of Design and then on to the Art Institute of Chicago. His natural abilities earned him a great deal of attention and respect, and by 1895 he was a founding member of the city's Palette and Chisel Club.
Mulhaupt remained in Chicago until 1904 when relocated briefly to New York before heading to Paris to exhibit in the Salons and study the emerging modernist art movements. It was here that the influence of the Impressionists began to appear in his work.
By 1907 he had returned to the United States where he lived and worked in New York, but also began traveling to the Gloucester, Massachusetts area to sketch and paint. He summered there for many years and in 1922 took up permanent residency.
It was at this time that his personal style and techniques were at their zenith, and he painted the subjects that would fascinate him for the rest of his life. He became a remarkably busy member of the area's thriving art community and also kept his hand in the New York art circles as well, becoming a member in the National Academy of Design in 1926.
Though he enjoyed professional success during his lifetime, Mulhaupt would also teach workshops as a way to earn his living throughout most of his professional life.