Fred N. Vance was born in Crawfordville, Indiana in 1880. He studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Art Academy of Chicago, in Paris at the Academy Julian, and for a time with Max Bohn at Etaples, France.
Returning to Indiana, Fred Vance worked with his father, George Vance, as a mural decorator. Among the most important pieces of his work was the decoration of the grill room at the U.S. Grant Hotel of San Diego, California. He also had charge of an art school in Terre Haute, Indiana in 1912. There he married Mary Sabiston. They then moved to Indianapolis from Crawsfordville.
During WWI Vance saw service in France and Italy and acted as interpreter for the Y.M.C.A department. His work there keep him for some time after the armistice. Vance was the president of the Alliance Francaise in Indianapolis in l924. He also served the Indiana Artists Club as secretary during the presidency of Randolph L. Coats. At the time of his death, he was a member of the board of directors of the Indiana Artists Club.
Fred N. Vance was represented in the Lieber exhibitions of the Brown County group. Two of his paintings are now in the traveling exhibit of Brown county paintings from the 1927 Hoosier Salon in Chicago.