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 Zola Beal (Mollie) Zaugg  (1890 - 1983)

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Lived/Active: Missouri/Colorado      Known for: portrait, landscape, genre, architectural painting

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Ad Code: 4
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
Portrait of Charles Bunnell
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Mollie Zola Beal Zaugg, American (May 4, 1890 – May 31, 1983)

Zola was born Mollie Zola Beal on May 4, 1890 in Laddonia, MO.  She never liked the name Mollie, though, and was known throughout her life as Zola - her married name was Zola Zaugg. She grew up in Mexico, Missouri and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Hardin College Conservatory of Music located in Mexico, Missouri.  When her parents moved to the east coast with their ward/relative, Philip, (for Philip to attend Yale) Zola had already married and lived in Colorado Springs (at approximately 25 years old). She married Frederick Cook Zaugg in 1916 and was a resident of Colorado Springs, CO. from 1916 to 1975.  She was employed as an artist and also taught art classes.  Zola was a member of the Womens Christian Temperance Union and the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Zola’s husband, Frederick C. Zaugg, was a dentist.  The couple had two children, Margaret Zaugg Field (married Marshall J. Field) and Fred B. Zaugg.  Margaret apparently inherited her mother’s interest in and love for music; Margaret was a gifted musician and sought-after bassoonist.  Margaret was a graduate of the Colorado Springs High School, Denver University and Colorado Women’s College.  She played the bassoon in the Colorado Springs Symphony Orchestra and played in other symphony orchestras. Margaret lived in Ithaca, New York during parts of her life.  Margaret’s husband completed some post graduate work at Cornell University.  Zola’s son, Fred B., earned high school and college honors.  He graduated from Colorado College, Blair’s Business College and did his medical college work in the University of Colorado and the University of Michigan. He was a doctor who practiced dermatology in Coral Gables, Florida.  

Zola, the artist, painted architectural and genre subjects as well as landscapes.  She painted many pictures which attracted much attention.  She was primarily interested in portrait painting but did landscapes also.  She turned her attention to painting landmarks of the old Colorado City (Pikes Peak Region) in the late 1940s to early 1950s.  

Research suggests that Colorado’s elite citizens considered Zola in their circle.  Tracing the ownership of Edgeplain (an 1881 house located in Colorado Springs and listed on National Register of Historic Places) reveals a connection between Zola Zaugg and one of the early owners of Edgeplain.  Zola Zaugg gave painting lessons to Charlotte Shaver who owned Edgeplain in 1927 along with her husband John Shavers.  The Shavers had owned a 45-store chain of Golden Rule Department Stores in Montana, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, North Dakota, and Minnesota. When they sold the chain of stores and moved to Colorado Springs in the late 1920s, they sold their chain of department stores to J.C. Penney.  Research indicates that the Shavers were prominent citizens who are believed to have visited Edgeplain in 1907 when the house was owned by Chester Alan Authur II and his wife Myra (a wealthy divorcee).  Chester II was the son of former U.S. President Chester Alan Authur I who was President September, 1881 through March 3, 1885 (after James Garfield was assassinated.)  The first owners of Edgeplain were the Basses who were connected with New York politics and Colorado Springs railway.  Mr. Bass had served as a New York U.S. Representative prior to leaving New York to enjoy the healing effects of the Colorado climate.  Mr. Bass was a lawyer.  They were elite and traveled in elite circles and are the ones who built Edgeplain in 1881.  

There are not many examples of Zola Zaugg’s work online.  Women artists did not garner the same level of attention as their male counterparts in the 19th and early 20th centuries.  However, from the art images available, it appears that Zola was a trained artist who was quite skilled.  Would Charlotte Shaver have taken painting lessons from an un-qualified art teacher?

Zola resided in Northglenn, Colorado during her latter years.  She died in 1983 at the age of 93 years.  Zola is buried at Evergreen Cemetery located at 1005 South Hancock Avenue in Colorado Springs, El Paso County, Colorado.

Submitted by:
Retta Clemons
Collector and Art Enthusiast

Biography from David Cook Galleries (M-Z):
Born and raised in Missouri, Zola received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Hardin College Conservatory. Yet a photograph of her as an art club member in 1907 shows that she also had an early interest in art, and she speaks later of study with William Hakking of Syracuse University.

In 1916, she married Frederick C. Zaugg, and the two lived and raised a family of two children in Colorado Springs. Her husband was a dentist, and the couple was considered a part of the respectable upper class. Her position in society is also evidenced by her membership in the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Zola became a member of the Colorado Springs Art Guild in the 1940s, the decade of its gradual formation. This period coincides with her emergence onto the local art scene, after her children had grown. Her first showing was at the La Hacienda room at the Antlers Hotel. A reporter wrote at the time: “I believe she has painted every day even though she hasn’t touched a brush.”

Esteemed by her colleagues, she was given a one-person show at the Colorado Springs Fine Art Center. For this exhibit, Zola provided an artist statement in which we get a glimpse into her view of art. She stressed the importance of an artist expressing their own inner being, and she quotes her favorite line of Walt Whitman: “to sing what belongs to you and none else.”

At this time, she was encouraged by artist, Charles Ragland Bunnell, a fellow Missourian connected to the Broadmoor Art Academy. He was beginning to change his style from a stylized regionalism to an increasingly abstract approach to painting. In her statement, Zola suggests, “…one should not censure a public which fails to respond to extreme forms of abstract art which it does not comprehend,” and she goes on to assert that the artist should maintain “some semblance to known objects” in order so that a “connection of some thought may be established between observer and artist.”

From that point forward, Zola became a well-known contributor to the Colorado Springs art community. She began to exhibit beyond Colorado Springs, including venues in Denver — often grouped with other artists — and in her hometown of Mexico, Missouri. Zola also taught free-hand drawing and sketching in addition to oil painting. Known primarily for her portraits and landscapes, she garnered attention for her paintings of old Colorado City landmarks. In later life, she moved to Northglenn, Colorado.

Exhibited: Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Colorado; Blossom Festival Exhibition of Paintings and Prints 1951, 1954, Canon City, Colorado; Colorado Springs Art Guild Annual Outdoor Art show, 1952; Exhibition for Western Artists, Denver Art Museum.

Works Held: Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art, Colorado.

©David Cook Galleries, LLC

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