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 Dan Piel  (1929 - 2002)

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Lived/Active: California/New York      Known for: portraits of public figures and landscape painting, murals, teaching

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Dan  Piel
An example of work by Dan Piel
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Following is the obituary of Dan Piel published in the San Luis Obispo Tribune from Sept. 11 to Sept. 12, 2002
Dan Piel, 73, of San Luis Obispo, died at home after an illness of several months on Monday, September 9, 2002.
Piel was born and grew up in New York’s Greenwich Village. His father, Paul, was a part-time sculptor and inventor, the son of a founder of Piel Brothers Brewery. Piel attended City & Country School and the High School of Music & Art, after which he matriculated at Yale College, where he majored in philosophy.
Summers found him studying art at Syracuse University, Grenoble University, and La Grande Chaumiere in Paris. After graduation from Yale, he continued his study of art at Pratt Institute, graduating with his Bachelors and a Masters degree. He then entered the field of advertising, serving as art director for several of New York’s better-known advertising agencies, among them: McCann-Erickson and Marsteller, Inc.
Although employed by day for national accounts such as Coca-Cola, Exxon, Nabisco, and IBM, in his spare time Piel busied himself artistically, painting oil portraits of business and political leaders. In 1978, he retired from advertising and moved west with his wife, Susan, to pursue a new career in teaching and painting.
Eventually he joined Cal Poly’s Art and Design Department, where he enjoyed teaching for 13 years. "From Lincoln to Lennon," Piel’s portrait series of assassinated public figures was first seen at Cal Poly’s University Union Gallery, then toured through California and Florida. Another portrait series, "Stars, Songs, Faces", traveled a similar route. While at the Hollywood Museum, it was purchased by Lavignes/Bastille Gallery, Paris.
In 1995 Cal Poly’s University Union Gallery exhibited Piel’s "Portraits of Genius", which featured large oil paintings and computer-generated likenesses of famous scientists, composers and artists.
Piel’s work is in private and public collections on the Central Coast and elsewhere, including the Lyndon B. Johnson Library in Austin, Texas and the New York Society Library in Manhattan. His painting of Mozart figures prominently in the backdrop of all Mozart Festival performances at the Performing Arts Center. Most recently an exhibit of Piel’s work, "Intimate Grandeur", met with widespread critical and popular success at SLO Art Center, where his large landscape paintings captured the public imagination.
Piel’s murals, especially those executed for SLO’s Café Roma and Paso Robles’ Arciero Winery, are well-known and his work figures prominently in many Central Coast collections. He was a member of the SLOPE painters group, the White Heron Sangha, Broken Antler Men’s Group and the Course in Miracles Study Group.
He leaves his wife, Susan; his son, Gregory, of New York City; his daughter, Laura Piel, of Long Beach; a brother and sister-in-law, Mark and Helga Piel, of New York City; two granddaughters, Ashley and Alana Aldrete; and a niece and nephew, Ellen and Stefan Piel.

Submitted by Richard and Cynthia DeMaio, who also provide the following summary of work by Dan Piel.
*Education and Training:
Bachelors and Masters Degree in Art from Pratt Institute.
Summer courses at Syracuse University, Grenoble University, and La Grande Chaumiere in Paris.

*Personal Background:
(b.1929, d.2002), lived in New York and California

*Major museum and art association exhibitions:
"From Lincoln to Lennon," Piel's portrait series of assassinated public figures was first seen at Cal Poly's University Union Gallery. It then toured through California and Florida.

Another portrait series, "Stars, Songs, Faces," traveled a similar route.

In 1995, Cal Poly's University Union Gallery exhibited Piel's "Portraits of Genius," which featured large oil paintings of famous scientists, composers, and artists.

Piel's portrait of Lyndon B. Johnson is in the public collection at the Johnson Library, Austin, TX.

A portrait of Chief Joseph is held by the Nez Perce County Museum, Lewiston, Idaho.

Piel's portraits of Beethoven and Debussy are part of the permanent collection of the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art.

*Art Organizations:
He was a member of the SLOPE painter's group of San Luis Obispo. CA.

*Awards or other Recognition:
Soviet Ambassador Antoly F. Dobrynin officially accepted Piel's painting of USSR President-Premier Leonid Brezhnev for the Soviet Union in 1977.

While working as an art director for a better-know advertising agency in New York City, he received a "CLIO" print advertising award.

Sources of Information:
California State University and College News Release 81-53, Nov. 30, 1981
San Luis Obispo Museum of Art/ Museum Collection Archive PC.94 and PC.98, Dan Piel
CalPoly News & Events April 28, 2004 “Retrospective Exhibit of Dan Piel’s Paintings to be Exhibited at Cal Poly May 14-June 4
Obituary, San Luis Obispo Tribune, September 11-12, 2002


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