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 Grace Olive Reeve Bilger  (1907 - 2000)

About: Grace Olive Reeve Bilger


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Lived/Active: Kansas/Nebraska      Known for: regional watercolor scene painting

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Grace OLive Reeve (Bilger) Stansbury is primarily known as Grace Olive Reeve Bilger

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Grace Bilger
An example of work by Grace OLive Reeve (Bilger) Stansbury
Photo provided by Scott Wilder
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Grace Olive Reeve Bilger (June 25, 1907 — October 1, 2000) was an American artist.  Often signing the name of G.Bilger (and later G.Stansbury) to her work, she was a resident and artist in Olathe, Kansas from 1941 until 1999 and made such a contribution to that community that July 10, 2007 was declared "Grace Bilger Day" in Olathe.

She taught art at the Kansas State School For the Deaf for 25 years.  In addition to meeting her requirements as a teacher, she studied art with the following; Dong Kingman, Don Stone, Eliot O’Hara, Frank Szasz, Richard Yip, Zoltan Szabo, Tony Van Hasselt, and Asterio Pascolini.

She traveled the world extensively and sketched in such places including Europe and Mexico as well as throughout the USA and Hawaii. Bilger’s watercolor paintings have been reproduced along with her articles in the Ford Times, NEBRASKALand and Kansas Magazine.  She won a first prize in London, England for the design of a Christmas Card for the Heraldry Society.  She also produced original historical murals, which hung in the Johnson County Courthouse at Olathe

One of her works is in the permanent collection of the Sierra Museum of San Diego, California. Bilger exhibited widely and her some of her works reside in collections in Europe , India, Philippines, and the U.S.A.

She also had exhibited shows which include but is not limited to the Kansas City area, Heritage, Discovery, Plaza, Ward Parkway, Oak Park, Crown Center, Prairie Village, Kansas, and Metcalf South.  In 1979, one of her watercolors was selected to be in the exhibition of Eastern Kansas Artists in the Rotunda of the Kansas State Capitol in Topeka, Kansas.

She was a member of the International Society of Artists (Artists' International Association); the Greater Kansas City Art Association; and Tri-County Art League.


Biography adapted (by her family) from her biography, The Olathe Rotary Club: Honors Its 1994 Paul Harris Fellows

Olathe Daily News,"Artist Pictures Olathe's Past", Wednesday, March 25, 1987.

Olathe Daily News,"Local artist still paints with grace after 91 years", August 31, 1998, page 1 & 6A.

NEBRASKALand, August 1966, pages 25-31, "Many Faces of Nebraska"

Kansas!, No. 3, 1964, (center-fold painting displayed)

The Kansas City Star, August 24, 1972, page 6W, "Teacher Reflects on Career."

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Submitted July 2007 by Scott Wilder, Art Professional from Olathe, Kansas

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Bilger was born in Guide Rock, Nebraska on June 25, 1907 and died in Sabetha, Kansas on October 1, 2000.  Studied art with Dong Kingman, Don Stone, Eliot O’Hara, Frank Szasz, Richard Yip, Zoltan Szabo, Tony Van Hasselt, and Asterio Pascolini.  Earned a teaching degree from Peru State Teachers College in Nebraska. In 1936, she began teaching at the Nebraska State School for the Deaf.  Taught art at the Kansas State School for the Deaf for 28 years retiring in 1972. Lived in Olathe from 1941-99.

Member: International Society of Artists (Artists' International Assoc); Greater Kansas
City Art Assoc; Tri-County Art League.

Collections: Sierra Museum, San Diego, CA; murals in Johnson County Courthouse, Olathe (destroyed 1997).
Susan Craig, "Biographical Dictionary of Kansas Artists (active before 1945)"
AskART,, accessed Oct. 11, 2007; KC Star (Oct. 6, 2000).   
This and over 1,750 other biographies can be found in Biographical Dictionary of Kansas Artists (active before 1945) compiled by Susan V. Craig, Art & Architecture Librarian at University of Kansas.

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