Mulhaupt was born in Rock Port, Missouri to German immigrant parents. He began his career as an editor to a newspaper in Dodge City, Kansas, and later moved to Kansas City where he worked as an artist’s apprentice. He enrolled at the Kansas City School of Design and in the 1890’s, began taking courses at the Art Institute of Chicago. While taking night courses at the Art Institute of Chicago, Mulhaupt, along with other night students helped to found the “Palette and Chisel Club”. In 1904 Mulhaupt moved to New York where he lived at the Salmagundi Club, and shortly after, spent several years traveling in Paris. It is during his stay abroad that the focus of Mulhaupt’s artwork changed to coastal views and harbor scenes. Once Frederick J. Mulhaupt returned to the United States, he moved back into the Salmagundi Club.
Frederick J. Mulhaupt became a founding member of the Cape Ann School, and despite the fact that he was not a native to Massachusetts or New England, he was regarded as the “Dean of the Cape Ann School”. Gloucester, Massachusetts was a booming artistic center in the early 20th century and artists such as Childe Hassam, Winslow Homer, Willard Metcalf and Anthony Thieme flocked there. Mulhaupt moved permanently to Gloucester in 1922.
 Kristian Davis, Artists of Cape Ann: A 150 Year Tradition (Massachusetts: Twin Lights Publishers, 2001) 64.
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