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 David Warren Seyler  (1917 - 2010)

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Lived/Active: Nebraska/Ohio/California      Known for: sculpture, ceramics, painting, teaching

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Ad Code: 3
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
"Interlude" and "Prelude" (2)
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:

The following information was submitted in September of 2006 by the artist's daughter Kathleen McKinney:

David Warren Seyler: Date of Birth- July 31, 1917/ Place of Birth- Dayton, Kentucky
Marriage – February 20, 1941, Wife- Rosemary Dickman Seyler 
Children- Jennifer Jacobs and Kathleen McKinney

Western Hills High School, Cincinnati Ohio
Art Academy of Cincinnati, 1933-1936
University of Chicago,1936-1941
School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 1936-1941 B.F.A.
Europe 1938-39,1959-60
University of Colorado, Summer1951
School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Summer 1952
University of Wisconsin, 1953-55, M.S.

Academic Degrees:
Bachelor of Fine Arts – School of the Art Institute of Chicago, June 1941
Master of Science in Applied Art (Art Ed.) 1955 University of Wisconsin

Fellow, of the International Society of Arts and Letters, 1963

Professional Experience:
Rookwood Pottery, Cincinnati, Ohio – Designer, sculptor, 1936-1939
Kenton Hills Porcelains Erlanger, Kentucky, Cofounder, Vice President and Art Director 1939-1945
United States Navy, Foreign Service, Seventh Fleet, Designer of Training Equipment 1942-1945
Belvedere Pottery, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, Asst. Art Director and Sculptor, 1946-47
Kottkamp & Young, Chicago, Illinois, Staff Artist, 1947-1948
Indiana Limestone Company, Bedford, Indiana, Color and Interiors consultant,1948
Cheney Thermometer Company, Lake Geneva Wisconsin, Designer (date?)
Assisted Museum Display, Cincinnati, Ohio, Chicago, Illinois, Lincoln, Nebraska museums 1940-1960
University of Nebraska, Department of Art, 1948-1983.  Taught painting, beginning and advanced, ceramics, beginning and advanced, lettering, anatomy and perspective, drawing, beginning and advanced, sculpture, antiques, crafts including weaving.
University of Nebraska Press, designer of publications, 1948-1952
Nebraska Art Association, catalog design, 1951, 1953
Wesley Foundation, color, interiors, furniture, hangings design, 1960-62
Holy Trinity Episcopal designed stained glass windows, baptismal font, 1960-64
KOLN TV designed studio offices
KUON, ETV and KOLN-KGIN TV program participation 1963-65

Solo Exhibitions:
Gallery House, Chicago, Illinois, 1939
Loring Andrews Galleries, Cincinnati, Ohio 1943
Art Institute of Chicago – Chicago room, 1944
Miller and Paine Company, Lincoln, Nebraska, 1952
University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, 1940
University of Nebraska Art Gallery, 1956
Exeter Academy 1955
University of Nebraska Art Gallery, 1956
Tournabouni Galleria, Florence, Italy 1960
Vienna Austria, Munich, Germany 1960
The Afternoon Gallery, Omaha, Nebraska, 1964-65
Nancy Singer Gallery, Clayton, St. Louis, Missouri, 1965

Group Exhibitions:
1938 – National Ceramic Exhibition, Syracuse Museum of Arts (annually through 1946)
    Honorable mention, 1938, Purchase Prize, 1939, Honorable Mention 1941 (International exhibition)
1939 – Philadelphia Art Alliance
1939 – Department of the Interior, Washington D.C.
1939 – New York World’s Fair (University of Chicago exhibit)
1940 – National Arts Club, New York   
1940 – Contemporary Arts, Inc., New York
1940 – Clay Club, New York
1940 – 44th Annual Exhibition, Chicago Artists and Vicinity, Art Institute of Chicago
1941 – 45th Annual Exhibition, Chicago Artists and Vicinity, Art Institute of Chicago
1941 – All Ohio Craft Exhibition, Cincinnati Art Museum
1942 – Art in Industry, Cincinnati Art Museum, (Exhibition Design)
1942, 43 – Artists and Craftsmen of Greater Cincinnati, Cincinnati Art Museum
1942 – Modern Art Society, Cincinnati Art Museum
1943 – Decorative Arts Exhibition, Cincinnati Art Museum
1943 – Cincinnati Ceramic Guild, Cincinnati Art Museum
1945 – Artists of the South Pacific Exhibition, Queensland Museum of Art, Brisbane, Australia
1947 – Lake Geneva Arts Club Exhibition, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
1948 – Bedford Centennial, Bedford, Indiana
1948 – University of Nebraska, Annual Faculty Shows through 1983
1948 – Lincoln Artist’s Guild Annuals, Lincoln, Nebraska through 1953
1949 – 2nd Graphic Arts Annual, Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, Nebraska
1949 – Missouri Valley Exhibition, City Art Museum, Topeka, Kansas (also 1952, 1953)
1950 – Annual Exhibition of Western Art, Denver Art Museum (also 1951, 1952)
1950 – Midwest Annual, Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, Nebraska (also 1952)
1950 – 14th Annual Exhibition of Drawings and Prints, San Francisco Art. Assn.
1950 – Annual Missouri Exhibition, City Art Museum, St. Louis (also 1952)
1950 – Annual Graphics and Drawing Exhibition, Wichita Art Assn. (also 1951, 1953)
1950 – Friends of Art Annual, Kansas State College, Manhattan, Kansas
1950 – Nebraska Art Association Annual, Lincoln, Nebraska (also 1951)
1950 – Mid-America Annual, Nelson Gallery of Art, Kansas City, MO (also 1952, 1953)
1951 – 146 Annual Exhibition, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia
1951 – Contemporary Ceramics, University of Nebraska
1951 – 5th Six State Sculpture Show, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota
1951 – Artists West of Mississippi, CO Springs Fine Arts Center, Colorado Spgs. CO
1952 – University of NB Loan Exhibition, NB State Teacher’s College, Wayne, NB
1953 – Faculty Exhibition, Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, Nebraska
1953 – Visitors from Nebraska, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota
1956 – Ohio State Faculty Exhibition
1955-57- Lincoln Artist Guild
1955-57- Mid-West Biennial – Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota
1959-60 – Europe
1965-66 Midwest Biennial, Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, Nebraska

Work in Selected Permanent Collections:
Syracuse Museum of Art, Syracuse, New York; Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati, Ohio; School of the Art Institute of Chicago; University of Chicago; Nebraska Art Association, Lincoln, Nebraska – Sheldon Gallery; Nebraska Wesleyan University, Lincoln, Nebraska; International Business Machines Corporation, New York City, NY; Miller and Paine Company, Lincoln, Nebraska
Private collections in the United States and abroad; France, Germany, Italy, Australia, Tunis

Other Work:
Designed Distinguished Teacher Award Medal 1954, 55, University of Nebraska
Designed interior furnishings for Methodist Student Center, U. of Nebraska
Designed Cross, altar, pulpit, pews, railings and stained glass for Wesley Foundation, University of Nebraska campus 1960-62
Designed cross, altar, pulpit, baptismal font, entrance, stained glass windows for Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, Lincoln, Nebraska, 1960-63
Designed fountain for proposed court of St. Marks Episcopal student center, Lincoln 1960
Designed murals for proposed Gateway Manor Apartments, 1962
Completed design for 6’ x 42’ high “great” architectural window, Holy Trinity May 1964
Designed Centennial Medal Gold, Bronze 1966, State of Nebraska

1942 – American Society of Ceramic Engineers, in convention, New York
1945 – Royal Arts Society of the British Empire, Brisbane, Australia
1951- Nebraska State Federation of Women’s Clubs in convention, Lincoln, Nebraska
1953 – Nebraska Art Association “Living Pictures” Lincoln, Nebraska
1961, 63-64 – Television discussion KUON, KOLN, Lincoln, Nebraska
1953-1983 – Numerous other lectures and gallery talks to various groups

Juries and Committees:
1950 – Nebraska State Fair, Lincoln, Nebraska
1950-53, 1956-58, 1961-65 – Annual All State Elementary School Art Exhibit Judge
1953 – Rural Arts Project, University of Nebraska Extension Division
1964-65 – Architectural Critique
1964-65 – Nebraska Cultural Resources Committee
 1979 – Indianapolis Art League, Hands of Man Craft Expo

1948 – Mid-west College Art Conference, State University of Iowa, (University of Minnesota, 1949, University of Colorado, 1951)
1953 – College Art Association, Cleveland, Ohio
1954-57 – Detroit, Columbus, Denver
1960 – First Bronze Foundry Convention, Lawrence, Kansas, University of Kansas
1966 – College Art Association, New York

Who’s Who –1965
Who’s Who in American Art Vol. III American Federation of Arts, Washington D.C.
Cox, Warren E., The Book of Pottery and Porcelain, New York, Crown Publishers, 1944, Vol. II, Chapter XXX.

Summer Research Grant 1958 – Casting, Long Island, Modern Art Bronze Foundry
Woods Travel Fellowship, 1959-60, Bronze sculpture in foundry, Florence, Italy (29 castings) First recipient.

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Obituary. Cincinnati Enquirer. October 27, 2010

David Seyler, 93: artist, teacher, family man

David Warren Seyler lived the life of the absent-minded professor. And the award-winning artist.

"Dad had no idea how to fix anything around the house," recalled his elder daughter, Kathleen McKinney. The Olympia, Wash., woman was reminiscing about her father.  The Dayton, Ky., native and former Westwood resident died Saturday in Alameda, Calif.. He was 93.

"My dad had no concept of the practical things in life," she noted.

But, he sure could paint. And create bronze sculpture. And make art pottery.

Mr. Seyler - orphaned at an early age and adopted when he was 5 by a wealthy Westwood industrialist and his wife - spent five summers designing, painting and making pottery at the famed Rookwood Pottery.

Starting in 1934 when he was a junior at Western Hills High School, the unpaid, teen apprentice made quite an impression on Rookwood officials. They let him design shapes and sign the pieces he decorated. Such honors were usually reserved for full-time artists.

"David pooh-poohed his early works," said Riley Humler, internationally recognized Rookwood authority and head of the Auctions at Rookwood, the auction arm of the revived pottery that recently re-located to Over-the-Rhine.

"As with all artists, he thought his more mature works were better," Humler added.

"But I was always impressed by everything he did. He brought a modernist sensibility to Rookwood. That wasn't happening in the 1930s. Few of the artists there were doing anything new. And, production was limited by the Great Depression."

One of Seyler's works of art will be part of the pottery's upcoming Holiday 2010 Sale. The 7-inch-tall, yellow-glazed Harlequin-esque face will be part of the Dec. 4-5 auction.

"The face," expressing a pensive side of this often foolish character, "is definitely unusual," Humler said. "But so is most of the stuff he did."

McKinney agreed. "Dad's art was timeless," she said.

She recalled a painting of a clown he did. That work hangs in her office.

"The face is full of both sorrow and life," she added.

"When he taught at the University of Nebraska," from 1948 to 1983, "he took a lot of criticism for such work.

"Everyone else was into extreme abstract modern art. But he went with what spoke to his soul."

Mr. Seyler heeded his soul throughout his life.

After leaving Rookwood and while attending the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, he returned to Greater Cincinnati. He cofounded and eventually owned Kenton Hills Porcelains. The Erlanger pottery existed from 1939 to 1945 and was dubbed "Kentucky Rookwood" by Humler. The staff and the firm's output were rooted in the famed Mount Adams pottery.

When World War II broke out, Mr. Seyler left the pottery to join the Navy. He served in the South Pacific.

"I never could get a lot out of dad about the war," McKinney said. When asked about his duties, he always replied: "Tried to stay alive."

After the war, Kenton Hills closed. Mr. Seyler moved his wife and family to Wisconsin to work at another pottery. When that firm closed, he joined the faculty of the University of Nebraska, where he ran the sculpture department. In his spare time, he created works of art that landed in museums from Nebraska to Italy as well as the Cincinnati Art Museum.

Mr. Seyler's works attracted the attention of the International Institute of Arts and Letters. In 1961, he became a fellow of that arts advocacy organization, joining the ranks of Ernest Hemingway, Thorton Wilder and Marc Chagall.

He enjoy receiving such honors. He told that to his daughters, Kathleen McKinney and her sister, Jennifer Jacobs of Berkeley, Calif., during a hospital stay last summer. "I liked winning any art award," he said.

But, what he liked even more, he added, was being with his family.

A family memory provided by his elder daughter painted a portrait of her father. "When I was a little girl, I told my dad that I didn't want to grow up," she said. He explained to her that she could always enjoy life with a child's sense of wonder.

"He explained the difference between childishness and being child-like," McKinney said.

"Childishness is being selfish. Being child-like enables you to see things - like his favorite holiday, Christmas - through the eyes of a child.

"That child-like quality, he told me, is something you don't have to let go of."

Mr. Seyler was preceded in death by Rosemary Dickman Seyler, his high-school sweetheart, fellow artist and wife of 65 years.

Services have been held.

In lieu of memorials, his daughter, Kathleen McKinney, suggested "everyone take a walk, as my dad often did, to enjoy the beauty of the world."

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