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 Oscar A. Strobel  (1891 - 1967)

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Lived/Active: Arizona/California/Ohio      Known for: desert, portrait and western scene painting, murals, teaching

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Ad Code: 4
Oscar A Strobel
from Auction House Records.
Riders in Front of a Mesa
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
A painter, illustrator, etcher, and lithographer, Oscar Strobel lived in California and Arizona where he did traditional western painting, illustration, and painted numerous murals.

He was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, and was a pupil there of Frank Duveneck, Max Rabes, and in Germany with Frank Herrman. In New York, he studied with Robert Henri.

He began visiting the Southwest and West in the 1920s, and the Walter Bimson Collection in Arizona has a 1926 Strobel watercolor painting titled Navajo Sheep Herders. During the 1930s, he was a resident of Hollywood, California, with a year, 1936 to 1937, in Phoenix, and in 1938, he moved there and in 1941, became art instructor at the Judson School.

During the 1960s, he lived in Scottsdale and was employed as a calendar artist and also painted murals throughout the valley and elsewhere including at the Camelback Inn in Scottsdale and the Greyhound depots in Phoenix, San Diego, and Reno. His work is also at the Austin Club and Security Trust Bank in Austin, Texas and the German Embassy in Washington D.C.

One of his murals, "Adams House Mural," is at the Scottsdale Historical Museum and was restored with donated funds. Painted in 1949 and 14 X 4 feet, it hung for two decades at the Greyhound bus station in Phoenix on Van Buren Street. There it was stained with smoke and food and later lay amidst rubble when the station was demolished. Richard Weniger, a 20-year employee at the bus depot, rescued the work and later donated it to the Historical Society.

Sources include:
Walter Bimson, The West and Walter Bimson
Peggy and Harold Samuels, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Artists of the American West
John and Deborah Powers, Texas Painters, Sculptors & Graphic Artists

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Cincinnati, Ohio on May 29, 1891, Strobel was a pupil of of Henri, Duveneck, Rabes, and Herrman.  He was a resident of Hollywood, California during the 1930s.

By 1941 he had moved to Arizona and was an art instructor at the Judson School in Phoenix.  He later lived in Scottsdale until his demise in December 1967.

Exh: Brice-Lowe Gallery (LA), 1932.

In: Austin Club and Security Trust Bank (Austin, TX); German Embassy (Washington, DC).
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
California Arts and Architecture list, 1932; Artists of the American West (Samuels); Artists of the American West (Doris Dawdy); American Art Annual 1933; Who's Who in American Art 1936-62; Social Security Death Index (1940-2002).
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.

Biography from Blue Coyote Gallery:
Known for his paintings of Arizona and California, Oscar Strobel was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1891. One of his early art teachers was Frank Duveneck, a tutelage which Oscar considered to be his first "serious study of art". After attending several other art schools in Cincinnati, Strobel continued his art education in Chicago before volunteering for World War I. During the war he served in the Army Air Force in Europe, an experience that broadened his horizons. He spent the years after the war traveling abroad. During this time he studied interior design in Florence and spent most of this time in Berlin, Paris, and Munich. While in Germany he studied under Frank Herrman.

Strobel's travels eventually landed him in Arizona in 1926. Although excursions to other parts of the world were frequent, including many to California, he remained an Arizona resident for the rest of his life. In a 1942 interview with "Arizona Highways", he explained what helped influence his decision. "For the artist, Arizona offers great possibilities for rendering vastness, force, light, and color." He added that "The luminous nature of the Arizona landscape . . . brings about the accumulative power that is well worth any artist's study and effort."

In the 1930's Strobel built a rambling Hacienda style estate in Scottsdale on McDonald Avenue. Paul Messinger, Stobel's paper boy in Scottsdale in the 1940's and who later went on to become a Scottsdale City Councilman and Arizona State Legislator, remembers Strobel as being a "very large, outgoing, and feisty individual with a great heart but a bit of an ornery streak. If the newspaper I delivered had printed something he didn't like he always made sure I knew it." Yet Messinger also recalls "Most older people in those days maintained their distance with children. You were expected to be seen, but not heard and you were expected to address them as Mr. or Mrs. But Oscar was always very talkative, and he always called me Paul and insisted that I call him Oscar. He was an early riser and I often saw him working outside his house at 6 in the morning when I delivered the paper."

For many of his Arizona years Strobel was well known as both a calendar artist and a mural artist. Brown and Bigelow, an advertising firm based in Minneapolis, published calendars for several years in the 1940's and 50's using Strobel's art work. Every year the calendar had a different theme, ranging from Navajo to desert landscape to the Mississippi River. Murals included the San Marcos Hotel and the Camelback Inn in Scottsdale along with Greyhound depots Phoenix, San Diego, and Reno.

In 1958 Strobel was commissioned by the State of Hawaii to do a series of five paintings of Hawaiian native culture themes to commemorate Hawaii's entry as the fiftieth state.

Towards the end of his life Strobel was a Silver Rider in the Parada Del Sol in Scottsdale, even serving as the Grand Marshall every year from 1957 to 1965. Today his saddle hangs on display in the Southwest Room at the Scottsdale Public Library. Oscar Strobel died in Scottsdale in 1967.

Gary Fillmore-Owner
Blue Coyote Gallery

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