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 Adelle (Margaret Adelle) Simonson  (1911 - 2002)



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Lived/Active: California/Nebraska      Known for: portrait painting, advertising art

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Margaret Adelle Sjostrom is primarily known as Adelle (Margaret Adelle) Simonson

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following information was provided by the artist's grandson, Mike Baldwin:

My grandmother was born August 6, 1910 as Margaret Adelle Sjostrom.  People who knew her, called her Adelle, which is how she signed her paintings.

My grandmother was quite an accomplished artist, having worked in advertising art in the 1930's, and attended Art Center (when it was in the heart of L.A., way before becoming the prestigious College of Design on the hill, it is today).  In the 1930's, Adelle designed advertising drawings and billboards for some of the largest department stores, and was the creator of the famous pen and ink drawing depicting the helpful "Union 76 Man" walking toward your car with a smile.

Adelle continued her career in art until she met Marshall Lemp Simonson, they wed, and they decided to start a family together.  In 1941, my mother was born, while Lemp (funny, he went by his middle name, too!) was on the road as a salesman for Alcoa.  I have the letters they wrote to each other, when my mother was due, and right after being born.

Later in life, after the family needs had been met, Adelle returned to her painting and drawing.  However, she never really completely stopped.  Adelle was so creative, she would create all sorts of craft things, and even a few "off color" drawings at times -- which she used a humorous combination of her middle initial, and last initial of both her maiden and married surnames, ASS.  These were always a great source of laughter around the family gatherings, when included drawn into a greeting card by Adelle.

In the late 1960's and through the 1970's, Adelle was an especially prolific painter, sometimes painting 4-5 days a week.  She always attended painting classes, learning new techniques and perfecting others, in multiple mediums.  Perhaps the area in which she excelled most and received the highest accolades were for her portraits.  Adelle won numerous awards for her portraits, year after year, seemingly unbeatable.  Adelle had such a talent to quickly capture the soul of a person, and paint it upon a canvas.  I cannot properly relay to you how well she accomplished this.  She once did a portrait of JFK from what was on a postage stamp.  She did family member portraits, other famous people, and one which was made into a Christmas card of Santa relaxing in his workshop -- hands folded over his belly as he dozed with specs down on his nose.  Adelle's portraits really spoke to people, it didn't matter if you knew the person or not, they always captured and embodied the model's natural beauty.

These Notes from AskART represent the beginning of a possible future biography for this artist. Please click here if you wish to help in its development:
Margaret Adelle Sjostrom Simonson was born in California in 1911.  By 1930 Sjostrom was working as an artist in Los Angeles. 

She married Marshall Simonson in 1937, moved to Omaha, Nebraska and established a studio there.  She died in Sarpy, Nebraska in 2002.
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
City Directory; Census.
Nearly 20,000 biographies can be found in Artists in California 1786-1940 by Edan Hughes and is available for sale ($150). For a full book description and order information please click here.

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