George Resler (1882 – 1954)
George Resler was born November 12, 1882 in Waseca, Minnesota and moved with his family at the age of seven to St. Paul. He grew up there and went to Chicago at the age of seventeen to study at the Art Institute and work as a commercial artist. When he returned a few years later, he became interested in etching and since there was no one in the vicinity to teach him, he taught himself.
While many of his years were spent in partnership with Frederick Bock in a commercial art firm, he pursued his work in printmaking enough to achieve a national reputation. His travels in France and Italy in 1926 were actually financed by a group of St. Paul art patrons. Many of his etchings are of scenes in and around St. Paul and compare favorably with similar works done by James McNeil Whistler of London scenes. Resler’s work was known across the U.S. and in Canada as well. The Library of Congress, the Smithsonian, the Chicago Art Institute and the Museum of Tampa, Florida all hold collections of his work as does West Valley Art Museum in Surprise, Arizona. The Minnesota Historical Society probably has the largest collection of Resler’s work because the former governor of Minnesota, Elmer Anderson, was an avid collector of Resler works and a former president of the Historical Society.
Resler’s ideas on art and life are expressed in his wife’s letters (a few of which are found in West Valley Art Museum’s collection), written to Alvin and Marilyn Pierce. The Pierces are the donors of a collection of 280 drawings and 47 etchings to the Museum. Dorothy Resler died in 1970 after devoting her late years to seeing that the work of her husband was placed in the hands of genuine admirers of his work.
The drawings are actually pages from sketchbooks and notebooks. Resler drew constantly and many of the drawings later became etchings. Paintings by Resler are rare but some collections contain them. When he painted, Resler painted in a “modernist” style in watercolor and oil.
George Palovich, curator, West Valley Art Museum