Maxwell Griest (1869 – 1944)
Little information has been preserved concerning the career of the landscape artist and decorator Maxwell Griest who lived for many years in Erie, Pennsylvania. He was born in Oceola Mills, Pennsylvania on April 11, 1869, the son of Lander and Margaret Hartman Griest. His only known period of study was at the Woodstock, New York art colony in the Catskill Mountains under John Carlson. The artist appears to have settled in Erie about 1900 where he is listed in the city directory as a decorator.
By profession Griest was a window decorator employed by the Trask, Prescott & Richardson Company. He is also believed to have been employed by the Canadian firm of AJ Freeman Company of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
Many of the artists’ works featured the rugged beauty of the Laurentian Hills of Quebec but he also featured the local Erie, Pennsylvania countryside. Griest regarded painting as a hobby even as he began to experience recognition in the late 1920’s. He was awarded a third prize in 1928 in the Art Club’s Fifth Annual show of Erie artists. In the following years he made significant contributions to the group; serving on exhibition and hanging committees in addition to contributing works to the exhibitions.
Maxwell Griest died in Erie on April 13, 1944 at the age of 75. In a tribute to the artist and his work, the Erie Public Museum sponsored a memorial exhibition titled Maxwell Griest Oils that opened in October of 1944.
Biography excerpted from the unpublished manuscript by Dr. Kirk W. Steehler, Erie Artists – A History of Heroes. Courtesy of Erie Art Museum.
Information courtesy of Edward P. Bentley, researcher of Lansing, Michigan