Chapin was born in Bristolville, Ohio and earned his B. S. from Washington & Jefferson College. He attended the Art Institute of Chicago on a Bryan Lathrop Fellowship. He was known as the 'Dean of Chicago Painters' in 1930s-1950s. Chapin painted landscapes and figure studies from Chicago neighborhood, Mexico, Martha's Vineyard and Massachusetts. He taught at the Chicago Art Institute and the John Herron Art Institute at the Indianapolis Art Museum and the University of Georgia,
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