This following biography was researched, compiled, and written by Geoffrey K. Fleming, Director, Southold Historical Society, Southold, NY.
John C. Quell (October 4, 1919 - August 4, 2008).
Painter and illustrator. Born in Queens, NY, the son of Charles Quell (b. 1878) and Marie Von Elling (b. 1878). As a child, his parents operated a grocery store and the family lived in Stewart Manor, Nassau County, Long Island. His family was very traditional, led by a pair of German immigrants that looked to hard work to provide a better life for their family. He and his siblings (Charles, Marion, & Harold) worked for the family business when old enough, making bicycle deliveries for the successful delicatessen and grocery store.
As a young man he attended Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and graduated from there in 1940 with a degree in advertising design. He enjoyed Pratt immensely and remained an ardent supporter of the school throughout his long life. Quell eventually joined the Sperry Corporation (later Sperry-Rand) the noted makers of scientific equipment and electronics. He worked in the famous gyroscope division of the company as a commercial artist.
As an artist he worked extensively both outside and within the Sperry Corporation. Within the company he regularly participated in exhibitions sponsored for the different departments and artists who worked for Sperry. These exhibitions were known as the "Sperry Division Art Shows."
Outside the Corporation he was a decades long member of the Nassau County Art League where he exhibited with some regularity. Quell also exhibited in New York City at the National Arts Club on Gramercy Park where he was a long time member. He also exhibited internationally, participating at shows held in Europe and in-particularly in Austria. He worked in both oil and in watercolor, though later in life he began to focus more and more on the watercolor medium.
His subjects included landscapes on his native Long Island, including scenes of the far eastern part of the Island at Montauk. It was there amongst the dunes that his frugal family would occasionally vacation when finances and time allowed. Other known subjects include scenes of upstate New York and the Adirondacks. Quell was a collector of geodes and other unusual objects and was a strong admirer of the work of American painter Andrew Wyeth (b. 1917).
For nearly his entire life he remained living in the same house in which he was raised in Stewart Manor, Long Island. His last year on earth was spent under care in nearby Garden City. He died in August of 2008 and was interred in Lutheran All Faiths Cemetery, Middle Village, Long Island, NY. At this time (November 2008) it is not known if any Long Island regional institutions hold his work.