John Dull was born in Philadelphia in 1859 and studied Art and Architecture at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts under Colin Cooper and Thomas Anshutz. Dull was a professor of architecture at Drexel Institute and later associated himself with the architectural firm of Norman Hulme Associates. When he returned to the arts in the 1930's, Dull taught painting at the Pennsylvania Museum School of Industrial Arts.
The city was a common subject of Dull's works as were the colonial mansions of Fairmount Park. During the 1890's, Dull started painting scenes of the Delaware River. At this time, whaling and fishing schooners were common sights on the water.
Dull received many awards throughout his career, including the Plastic Club Medal in 1903, The Philadelphia Sketch Club Medal in 1905, The Dana Gold Medal from the Pennsylvania Academy Watercolor Exhibition in 1934, O. J. McCarthy Prize in 1941, and the Miniature Society Landscape Prize in 1947.
He was an active member of the Philadelphia Watercolor Club, The Philadelphia Sketch Club, the Philadelphia Art Alliance, and the T-Square Club and received a Fellowship from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.
Upon his death in 1949, Dull was honored with a memorial exhibition at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.
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