Fred Cochran was born in Marceline, Missouri, June 22, 1924. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. James S. Cochran. He went to school here and graduated with the class of 1943. While in high school, he studied art under Neva Lamb and after that took his formal art training during the years immediately following the World War II at the Kansas City Art Institute where in his own words: “All studies of the artist’s craft were embraced – all philosophy concerning the artist’s purpose was rejected.”
This past summer, Fred was one of four contemporary artists exhibiting in a special show at the Parrish Art Museum, Southampton, N.Y., where his work created considerable interest. He has also shown in the Joslyn Museum at Omaha, at Nebraska University, and in the Midwest Regional Show at Kansas City. He has executed murals and paintings for churches and institutions, and is represented in prominent private collections.
“Twenty years of work and study have brought Fred Cochran – still a young man of 38 – to the threshold of a new direction in art ..new for those who are seeing his work for the first time, but for the artist it is a course he follows with the deft sureness of a man who knows where he is going. Goya, El Greco, Rembrandt, Michaelangelo, Renoir, have certainly been his teachers, along with Blake and Daumier – yet he has taken all these venerable masters have had to give and has come forth with a power of communication that is uniquely his own,” stated Valentine Arbogast, Director of The Parrish Art Museum, Southampton, New York. George Andrews of the Southampton Gazette had this to say: “If the Impressionists had stepped from their immortality last Friday night, I believe they would have gone directly into the adjoining hall to praise the work of Fred Cochran whose paintings are on exhibit with those of Mafalda Davis, Chico Duncan, and Manuel de Miranda. The decision to include Cochran’s work adjacent to the impressionists was a master stroke. There is tenderness in his “First Born” that radiates impression. At times he uses a somewhat didactic hand, but there is skill and craftsmanship – and TALENT – throughout.”
Under the by-line of Prince Di Pad this commentator had this to say: “Fred Cochran is one of the most creative artists we’ve come across… among the living, anyway. Even in his less serious works, he is able to bring to his canvases, through deft lights and shadows, feelings of great tenderness and love… feelings of nostalgia, mood and movement. Fred Cochran is an important painter. He may well become one of the most important painters of our time.”