(1908 Milwaukee, WI – 1999 Madison, WI)
Santos Zingale grew up in Milwaukee, WI. He showed artistic inclination early, sketching and drawing his neighborhood as a child. After graduating from high school, he studied art at the Milwaukee State Teachers College in 1927 and received his Bachelor’s degree in 1931. At the College, he studied under Howard Thomas, Robert von Neumann, Gustave Moeller, and Elsa Ulbricht.
During the 1930s, Zingale shared a studio in the 926 N. Plankinton Building of Milwaukee with fellow artist, Alfred Sessler. Also during this time, he taught at the Milwaukee County Day School and Young Pioneers School from 1931 to 1934. From 1933 to 1934, he worked for the Public Works of Art Project and for the WPA (Works Progress Administration), painting large scale murals in public buildings. From 1936 to 1942, he was commissioned to paint a mural of commercial fishermen and their boats for a Sturgeon Bay post office and one 40-foot mural based on the founding of Racine for the city’s Mitchell High School as part of the Wisconsin Art Project.
In 1943, Zingale was awarded a Master’s degree for the mural, Democracy in Education, in UW-Madison’s School of Education. When WWII came about, he served in the navy from 1944 to 1946, all the while making sketches from life upon the USS Bremerton. After his discharge, he was given the status of Emeritus Professor at UW-Madison, where he taught until his retirement in 1978. While teaching, Zingale continued to create public works including a mural for Marquette University in Milwaukee.
Social and urban realism are styles for which Zingale is well known. He was labeled a “radical artist” by the press and in response, he wrote “Art must help the development of human consciousness and improve the social order”.
Zingale was a member of Wisconsin Painters and Sculptors and was an officer of Wisconsin Artists Federation (also known as “Four Arts”) in 1937.
SOURCES AND EXCERPTS:
Museum of Wisconsin Art (MOWA) Archives: http://www.wisconsinart.org/archives/artist/santos-zingale/profile-193.aspx