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Criss (Christine Albertina) Glasell

 (1898 - 1971)
Criss (Christine Albertina) Glasell was active/lived in Iowa, Illinois / Austria.  Criss Glasell is known for regional landscape, mural, portrait.

Criss (Christine Albertina) Glasell

Biography from the Archives of askART

The following biography is submitted by Don Leon Glasell, son of the artist, September 2003.

Criss Glasell was born July 8, 1898 as Christine Albertina Rosner in a small town outside of Vienna, Austria and came to the United States with her mechanical engineer father, her mother, two brothers and a sister when she was about 12 years old.  They first lived in Madison, Wisconsin and then later moved to Chicago.

Soon after the move, she enrolled at the Art Institute of Chicago and studied under Wellington Reynolds.  After graduation she took a job decorating hand painted lampshades at a near north shop.  It was there she met her future husband Don Glasell.

After being married in Crown Point, Indiana, they lived in an apartment near Sunnyside and Western in Chicago and had a son named Don Leon on June 8, 1927. Shortly after the Depression they decided to move from Chicago to Dubuque Iowa to enjoy and paint the lovely surrounding countryside and became active in the Dubuque Art Center.  They established an art store in the heart of downtown with an upstairs gallery and home.  They managed to make a living by also doing lots of portraits at fairs and bazaars.

It was also while living in Dubuque and exhibiting their art at various shows and fairs that they met and studied with Grant Wood, Thomas Hart Benton, Francisa Chapin and Adrian Dornbush. Glasell and family attended Grant Wood's Stone City Art Colony in the summer of 1932 and lived in one of the covered wagons at that Colony while her husband taught as one of Grant Wood's faculty.

Along about 1936, her husband was offered a job to head the newly established Art Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and the family relocated to that area for about three and a half years.  That was the time of the WPA programs and both Criss and Don worked on projects supervised by Grant Wood.  She was awarded the WPA mural commission for the Leon Iowa post office named Rural Free Delivery.  Her painting, Wheat Shocks, was selected to represent Iowa at Rockefeller Center (NYC) in 1937 after winning awards from the Central States Fair (Aurora, IL), Iowa Federation of Women's Clubs, and the Dubuque Artists Show (1931).

Glasell continued to actively exhibit her work in many regional, state and national exhibitions and fairs, winning many prizes.  Her work was exhibited at the Iowa Art Salon, 1931-4, 1938, 1939 & 1941.  The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art in 1934, The Corcoran Gallery of Art in 1934, The Joslyn Memorial in 1934, and the Kansas City Art Institute in 1935 & 1936.

About 1939, there was an opening to be the Assistant Director of the Federal Art Center in Sioux City, Iowa and the family relocated to that city. She continued to exhibit her work including at the Cincinnati Art Museum, 1939, The New York World's Fair in 1939, the National Association of Women's Artists in 1945, and the Argent Gallery in 1946.  A couple of her most famous pictures include a picture titled Blue Orpins (Blue Chickens), which won over Grant Wood at an Iowa State fair and a 1936 satire on Grant Wood titled All American Tea Party. Both pictures are a part of the permanent collection of the Cedar Rapids Iowa Museum of Art.

About 1945, the family moved to Bloomfield, Iowa for a couple of years, but her husband's job as designer for a wood novelty company was too far a field from their art world, and they moved back to Dubuque, Iowa their first scenic love.  While they were able to make a living there for many years with their art talents, the modern art movement suddenly took over around the late 40's and their regionalism art style was then out of phase with the art world.  Criss became more involved with local activities such as the Women's Club, and her husband took a steady job as a draftsman at the Dubuque John Deere Tractor Company.

After Criss's husband finally retired from John Deere in 1962, the couple remained in Dubuque and continued turning out their art and teaching a sketch class that met regularly at their home until Don contracted pancreactic cancer.  They then closed up their home in 1964 and moved to be near their son in Chicago.  Don later died at Hines Veterans Hospital in September of 1965.

Living now in Evanston, Illinois, Criss Glasell continued her painting but suffered a stroke a year later that paralyzed her right arm.  She was determined to continue her art and trained herself to use her left arm and hand.  She produced a number of portraits and drawings with her left hand until suffering a fatal stroke in 1971.

Criss Glasell was a member of the National Association of Women Artists, the American Artists Congress and the Iowa Artist Guild.  A number of her works in all media are a part of the permanent collection of both the Cedar Rapids Iowa Museum of Art and the Dubuque Iowa Museum of Art as well as being in the homes of many art collectors.

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About  Criss (Christine Albertina) Glasell

Born:  1898 - Vienna, Austria
Died:   1971 - Chicago, Illinois
Known for:  regional landscape, mural, portrait