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 Eustace Paul Ziegler  (1881 - 1969)

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Lived/Active: Alaska/Washington/Michigan      Known for: landscape, figure, frontier genre, mural painting

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Known for capturing in his painting the spirit of the early twentieth-century Alaskan frontier, Eustace Ziegler became one of the most celebrated painters of Alaska and the Pacific Northwest from its gold-rush period to statehood in 1959.  He was one of the first artists from the United States to arrive in Alaska and "was able to depict the 'Old Alaska' and the men who had pioneered the opening of the territory." (Zellman 777).

Ziegler was born in Detroit, Michigan, and was the son of an Episcopal rector and became a minister himself although he had early determination to be an artist.  His father encouraged his art talent but insisted that he make a living at it, which made him a very practical artist determined to sell his art work.  At first, he painted on the second floor of his father's church and spent his summers working in logging camps in upper Michigan. He also took lessons from the Detroit Museum of Art studying with Francis Paulus, Ida Perrault and Joseph Gies.

He made his first trip to Alaska as a result of his family's friendship with Peter Trimble Rowe, the first Bishop of the Alaska Episcopal Diocese in Sitka from 1895.  Ziegler offered his services as a missionary there in 1908, and he went to Valdez and became both a missionary and established artist whose many working people friends called him "Zieg."  He traveled extensively in his missionary duties and found time for his art, capturing the character of people in their various walks of life, many of them in laboring tasks.

In 1911, he married Mary Neville Boyle, and that year was ordained as a deacon.  His work began selling well, but he and his wife remained committed missionaries, and lived in Cordova while he studied formally for the priesthood, which he achieved in 1916.

But Ziegler was a frustrated artist, and in 1920, the family moved to New Haven, Connecticut and supported themselves with church work while "Zieg" also studied art with William Sergeant Kimball.  Then he and his family returned to Cordova, Alaska, where he edited and illustrated a church magazine, but he was a frustrated artist and happily accepted an offer from the Alaska Steamship Company to do a number of large paintings for their offices in Seattle.

In 1924, the Zieglers moved from Alaska to Seattle where he had forty-year long career of working in his studio.  He founded and served as president of the Puget Sound Group of Northwest Painters.

Sources include:
Kesler Woodward, "The Art of Eustace Paul Ziegler", American Art Review, December 1998
Michael David Zellman, 300 Years of American Art

Biography from Douglas Frazer Fine Art, Ltd.:
Eustace Paul Ziegler was a prominent Seattle artist of the early 20th century, who is especially known for the prolific body of work he created in and about Alaska over a period of many decades.

Ziegler was born and trained as a painter in Detroit.  He studied at the Detroit School of Fine Arts and at the Detroit Museum of Art School with Ida Marie Perrault, Francis Petrus Paulus and Joseph Gies.

In 1909 he moved to Cordova, Alaska to manage an Episcopal Mission there dedicated to St. George.  With this move, he began a phase of life devoted to his religion, and to painting the people and places of Alaska.

Running the "Red Dragon," as it was called, meant providing church services for the copper miners in transit to and from the interior, running a hostel, and painting religious scenes in between.  In 1914 Ziegler returned to the East to become an ordained priest. St. George’s Church in Cordova was consecrated five years later with Ziegler’s Descent from the Cross gracing the altar.

Though he continued to paint religious subjects, including Eastern Orthodox priests he met locally in Alaska, he broadened his scope to include native peoples, Indians and Indian villages, glaciers, and the ever-present Mt. McKinley.

Returning to the east again in 1920, Ziegler spent a year studying at the Yale University School of Art and with Gerrit A. Beneker in Massachusetts.  When he returned to the West, it was to Seattle that he went, moving there permanently in 1924.

He continued to return most summers to Alaska, however, producing sketches for numerous future paintings.  Ziegler made a name for himself as a muralist while in Seattle, taking on a commission from the Alaska Steamship Company for a series of murals for their local office, as well as for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer Building, the Olympic Hotel, and several schools and libraries.

Despite his prolific output, he found time to be an active teacher in the Puget Sound region, as well.  He died in Seattle in 1969.

Sources include:
Who's Who in American Art; Gerdts: Art Across America, vol. 3; Samuels & Samuels: Encyclopedia of Artists of the American West.

By Sarah Nelson

Biography from Thomas Nygard Gallery:
Eustace Ziegler was born in Detroit to an Episcopal minister.  Developing an interest in art at an early age, he enrolled at the Detroit Institute of Arts and began his formal training.  A deeply religious man his spare time was divided between painting and religious studies.  When he traveled to Alaska in 1909, his first motivation was not painting but managing the Episcopal mission in Cordova.

During his free time in Alaska, Ziegler painted the Native people, miners and landscapes he encountered along his missionary routes.  The scenes of Alaskans fishing, hauling nets, surveying from the mountains, crossing rivers and towing barges that Ziegler put onto canvas had a magnetic affect, attracting other artists to the land.  Sydney Laurence, Alaska's most famous artist, soon began to share the limelight with this new resident.

Following a short spell in Connecticut, Ziegler returned to Alaska as a bishop and artistically refreshed from a year of art studies at Yale University.  Only a few years later, he was again on the move.  E. T. Stannard, president of the Alaska Steamship Company, commissioned Ziegler to paint murals for the companies offices.  After moving his family to Seattle in 1924 to continue his work for Stannard, Alaska became a summer destination for Ziegler.  In Seattle he became a key figure in the budding art community. He was a founder of the Puget Sound Group of Northwest Painters and their first president.  Winning numerous awards in art exhibitions, Ziegler quickly became very influential.

A steady flow of work kept Ziegler at his easel until late in life.  Living to the ripe age of 88, he completed many canvases.  His death came just before a major exhibition of his works at the Frye Art Museum in Seattle.  His work graces the walls of churches, clubs, and museums in Seattle, Alaska and beyond.



Biography from Braarud Fine Art:
Better than any other painter, Eustace Paul Ziegler captured the spirit of the early twentieth century Alaskan frontier.  Arriving in the mining boom town of Cordova, Alaska in 1909 to run the Red Dragon, an Episcopal mission, he quickly became known for his portraits of the people of the north.  In contrast to the largely symbolic figures that appear in the work of other Alaskan artists of the era, Ziegler's Native Alaskans, miners, priests, trappers, and fishermen are individuals, at work and at play on the frontier.

Born in Detroit in 1881, Ziegler was one of four sons of an Episcopal minister.  Though he would, like his brothers, eventually be ordained to that ministry as well, he was attracted to art from an early age.  He studied at the Detroit Museum of Art before coming to Alaska, and at Yale University for a year in 1920-21.

The artist and his family left Cordova to move to Seattle in 1924.  Though he continued to visit Alaska annually, and to paint primarily its landscape and people until his death in 1969, the artist was also an important figure in the Seattle art community for more than 40 years.

Ziegler's work is widely represented in museum collections throughout the Pacific Northwest. He completed important commissions for institutions ranging from the Washington State Press Club, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and St. James Cathedral in Seattle to the Miami Clinic in Dayton, Ohio and the Baranof Hotel in Juneau.  A major traveling exhibition of his work was organized by the Anchorage Museum of History and Art and the Morris Museum of Art in 1998, and was shown in museums in Alaska, Washington, and Georgia.

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