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 Hazel Jacoby Harbauer  (1905 - 1987)

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Lived/Active: Ohio/Michigan      Known for: painter, graphic artist, craftsperson

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Ad Code: 4
Hazel Jacoby Harbauer
An example of work by Hazel Jacoby Harbauer
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following, submitted by Sande Cross, is from the Monroe News of Monroe, County, Michigan, December 22, 2005.  The article is by Suzanne Nolan Wisler.


New homeowner’s discovery becomes her passion

TEMPERANCE — Sande Cross’ W. Erie Rd. dream house had it all: history, handcrafted details, a large yard.

It even had art.

Fifty years ago, it was the home and art studio of Hazel (Jacoby) Harbauer and her husband, Charles. Mrs. Harbauer, a Toledo native, specialized in Toledo landscapes and the city’s early industry, but painted a few Monroe County subjects, like St. Anthony Cemetery.

Although she painted for decades, Mrs. Harbauer achieved limited fame, and, after she died, more than 100 of her works were thrown out.

But Ms. Cross retrieved them, beginning a years-long preoccupation with Mrs. Harbauer’s home and her art.

The home

For years, Ms. Cross, a Toledo real estate agent, was so enamored of the Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired home that she’d send annual registered letters to the owners, stating her interest in buying it.  She hadn’t even been inside.

That changed in 1989, when she befriended Mr. Harbauer. The aged widower — once an apprentice to Frank Lloyd Wright — not only gave her a tour, but told her much about the 2,000-square-foot home he designed and built with his wife.

Mrs. Harbauer, he told her, was an artist and one of Toledo Edison Co.’s first female lighting technicians.  They married late in life and had no children. She died in 1987.

Mr. Harbauer died in 1991 and, a few years later, Ms. Cross finally bought the home. Immediately, she planned some renovations, but, even before moving in, her project list grew.

The art

When a friend saw a bunch of paintings by the road, Ms. Cross drove right over to find nearly 100 watercolors, charcoals, sketchbooks and more, mainly from the 1920s and ’30s. There was Toledo before industrialization, refineries on the city’s east side and the High-Level Bridge, circa 1930. All had been discarded by Harbauer heirs.

"I was in shock," recalled Ms. Cross recently. "How could someone throw this away?  Her watercolors (alone) are so fabulous."

After moving in, the treasure hunt continued.

Tucked in unlikely places — like the garage rafters — were more pieces by Mrs. Harbauer and other Toledo painters of her era.  In her office, Ms. Cross even found Mrs. Harbauer’s journals and notebooks, newspaper clippings and an assortment of scrap paper notes going back to the 1920s.  Detailed and extremely thorough, records listed artists with whom Mrs. Harbauer painted in her 6½-acre yard and newspaper stories about her subjects.

"She was a real history buff," said Ms. Cross.

Immediately, Ms. Cross wanted to know more about Mrs. Harbauer, but, besides a few mentions of her in The Blade and at the Toledo Museum of Art, little had been written.

"No one knew her. Her work (was practically) all here," explained Ms. Cross.

The search

So, for the next four years, Ms. Cross, while also restoring the Harbauers’ home, set out to learn all she could about her home’s former inhabitant.

Quickly, she exhausted what was already written and turned to Mrs. Harbauer’s journals.  One artist mentioned — Walter Chapman — was still alive and, according to an art friend, was a big name in the Toledo art world.

Ms. Cross phoned him, starting a longtime correspondence.  But it only left her wanting more.

She wanted recognition for Mrs. Harbauer and, when she lost her job two years ago, that became her quest.

"I would not leave this house. This became an obsession for me," recalled Ms. Cross, who displays portraits of the Harbauers above her fireplace.

She called Jacobys and Harbauers.

She combed antique stores.

She sent countless letters and e-mails.

Art experts came to her home.

While she got a few contacts and tips, she made no real progress. Several times she tried to hold public exhibits of Mrs. Harbauer’s work, but details could never be worked out.

So, she rented a climate-controlled storage unit for the pieces and pressed on. All the while, she was compiling Mrs. Harbauer’s biography and learning much about the painter’s life and personality.

"She was just a real mild (person). She loved her house, her husband. She liked everything. I think she was a powerhouse," said Ms. Cross.

Finally, several months ago, her luck began to change.

After visiting many area cemeteries, Ms. Cross found the graves of the Harbauers at Toledo Memorial Park, Sylvania, Ohio. At the same time, because of a story in another publication, she heard from some of Mrs. Harbauer’s relatives.

And, this summer, Ms. Cross’ biography of Mrs. Harbauer — which includes lists of gallery exhibits, memberships and more — was accepted into AskART, a Web-based directory of more than 42,000 artists.

Now, she’s working with Bedford Township historian Trudy Urbani, who plans to include Mrs. Harbauer in her upcoming book "Women of Northwest Ohio Volume 1."

"It has taken me four years to get her work recognized," said Ms. Cross.

Soon, Ms. Cross is reluctantly moving to Florida, where the real estate market is better. While she’s taking a few of her favorite Hazel Harbauer pieces with her, she can’t move them all. The rest will be exhibited and sold at Toledo’s Erie Street Market.

Afterward, Ms. Cross’ years-long look into Mrs. Harbauer’s life and art will conclude.

"I’m done with her; (there’s) not much (more) I can do," explained Ms. Cross. "It was an undertaking for me. I really devoted a lot of time to it, (and) I really learned to appreciate art. Her labor of love turned into mine."

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following, submitted June 2005, is from Sande Cross, whose sources are Toledo Blade newspaper archives (See below).   In January 2006, an exhibition of work by Harbauer was held at the Erie Street Market, Civic Center Promenade in Toledo.  The exhibition title is Rediscovered: Paintings, watercolors and sketches by Hazel Jacoby Harbauer (1905-1987).

Hazel Harbauer, a painter, graphic artist, craftsperson and lecturer, was a prominent 20th-century female artist in Toledo, Ohio, but like so many women of her era, has been undervalued and overlooked for her accomplishments both by the public and her family.

Her passion for art is found in her diligent journals, dairies and supporting newspaper clippings documenting her dedication, achievements and her importance in Art to the Toledo Area starting as early as 1923.

Graduating from Scott High School in 1923, she had this life quote in the high school annual. "Wisdom is the Wealth of the Wise".

Hazel Harbauer began her art studies in November 1923 at The Museum School of Design-Toledo, Ohio.  Her notes reflect studies of different styles of Art such as Greek, Italy Egypt, and Roman Life etc.  Her teacher list is as follows:

Educators- Advanced Design-Miss Harris
Lettering- Miss Clark
Painting- Mrs. Dean
Perception-Mr. Taylor in this class Harbauer's notes go back to the teaching that the Greeks began to know perception in the 15th Century BC but know nothing about the Mathematic.

In January 1925, she enrolled at The Art Institute of Chicago under Raymond P. Ensign.  She also studied at the Cleveland School of Art.

Returning to Toledo, Hazel Harbauer joined the Toledo Independent Artist Club, organized in 1932 by Israel Ambramfsky and active until 1936.  The fifty-seven active members met on Sunday mornings and Friday evenings.  The first studio was held at the Meredith Building Summit and Cherry Market Building.  All members joined the Army Camouflage Corps in order to be able to use Colonial Baker's office in the Federal Building.

Harbauer was also active in The Palette Club of Toledo, organized spring of 1938 for education and exhibition purposes.  Charlotte Ruegger and a musician posed as their first models.  Until 1944, club members met at the studio of Edmund Osthaus, 2564 Maplewood Avenue (later 825 Islington Avenue) when they moved to the Denison Building.

15th Toledo Museum: 4-1-to 4-30th 1933 Toledo Federation of Art
17th Downtown Art Exhibit (The National Bank of Ohio)
23rd Ohio Watercolor Society (Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts)
26th Ohio Watercolor Society (Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts),10-24-1950
29th Toledo Museum (Honorable Mention)- winter on the Quarry Rd
30th The work of Toledo Artist- February 1 thru29-1943
30th Toledo Museum, Toledo Federation
31st Toledo Artist February 6 thru 27 1949
33rd Toledo Museum of Art April 1-29-1951
33rd Toledo Federation of Art March 31- 1941
50 Years of Toledo Art October- 1951
Nov 22-53 Toledo Blade Newman Gallery
March 4-57 Toledo Blade "Who's Who"

Ohio Watercolor Society, Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts, Springfield Art Association, Illinois
Wm Rockhill Nelson Gallery Kanas City, Missouri
Rockford Art Association
Cleveland Museum of Art
Kalamazoo Institute of Art
Cincinnati Museum of Art
The Palette Club of Toledo 3-1- The Steak House, 4308 Monroe St., Toledo Ohio
Butler Art Institute, Youngstown
New York Independents
Parkersburg, West Virginia
California Watercolor
Athens Ohio University
One-man show in Gallery 21 Toledo Museum of Art, Jan. 1941-Oct. 1944
Toledo Museum of Art (Certificate of Merit), Oil Landscape, 1936
Honorable Mention Watercolor, 1940,1941, 1942

Toledo Independent Artist Club - Treasurer- 1932 ( Israel Ambramsfsky)
Toledo Artist Club
Toledo Women Artist- President (retired June 26-1947)
The Palette Club- President-1943-44, Vice President-1941-42, Treasurer- 1938-39
Toledo Federation of Art Society (Chairman)
Women's Art League

Toledo Blade May 4- 1947
Awards Announced for Artist

Toledo Blade Dec 7- 1947
Honored (Winter on the Quarry Road)

Toledo Blade May 4-1948
(Lithograph in congress Congressional Library, Washington DC)

Toledo Blade Jan 2-1949
Interesting People (Dr Reams)
Interesting People (Kathy & Herman) Jan 9th -1949

Toledo Blade August 5- 1951 section 5
Models with meaning

Toledo Blade March 4 -1957 PG 16
(Museum Exhibition)

Toledo Blade Nov 21 - 1948
(Who's Who in American Art The Whitney Museum)

Toledo Blade Nov 11-1956
7th annual Downtown Art Exhibit.

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