(1926 – 2015 Milwaukee, WI)
Arthur Thrall was born in 1926 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and remained there for much of his life as an artist and teacher. After serving in WWII, was able, through the GI Bill, to attend the Milwaukee State Teachers College to receive a bachelor’s degree and the University of Illinois – Urbana to receive a master’s degree.
With this preparation, Thrall taught at a variety of institutions including the junior high school of Kenosha, State University New York – Geneseo, Milwaukee – Downer College, and at Lawrence University as the Ferrar-Marrs Chair of Fine Arts for 26 years until his retirement in 1990. He was also a visiting artist and teacher at UW-Madison and internationally in London at the Morley College and University College and also in Helsinki, Finland at the Artist’s Union.
Thrall experimented with various media and style throughout his professional career. Early, he focused on figures in his paintings and prints while in the 60s, he turned toward abstraction. During the 70s and 80s, he was inspired by calligraphy, creating works with sweeping and curving lines. By the 90s, his works showed the influence of music. Thrall stated in an artist statement once, “Many graphic sources fascinate me, such as manuscripts, calligraphy, maps, scientific and technical charts and musical scores. I consider musical notation as visual music or a kind of choreography, and freely interpret the other sources for their gestural and textural effects rather than their literal meanings".
Thrall was renowned for is artworks. He showed internationally in England, Germany, and Finland. His works can be seen in various collections including the British Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, Tate Gallery, Library of Congress, Art Institute of Chicago, Milwaukee Art Institute, and the Smithsonian Institution, where he had a solo show in 1961. He has also been the recipient of many awards including the Louis Comfort Tiffany Fellowship in Graphics, Wisconsin Visual Art Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011, and Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of Graphic Artists (SAGA) in 2013.
“The Art of Arthur Thrall,” Arthurthrall.com
Graeme Reid, “Remembering artist Arthur Thrall,” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, May 04, 2015 accessed at http://archive.jsonline.com/entertainment/remembering-artist-arthur-thrall-b99491860z1-302450971.html.