Sunday, March 9, 2003


Richard Zoellner was Muralist of New Deal

The Associated Press

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Artist Richard Zoellner, known for his New Deal murals, abstract paintings and prints, died Thursday at his home in Tuscaloosa. He was 94.

His work is included in the permanent collections of some major museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art.

A native of Portsmouth, Ohio, Zoellner graduated from the Cincinnati Art Academy. He studied in New York City and Mexico as a recipient of a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation scholarship.

From 1933 to 1942 he maintained his own studio in Cincinnati and received a number of public and private commissions as part of the U.S. Treasury Section of Fine Arts, part of President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal administration.

His commissions included murals for the U.S. Post Offices in Cleveland, Georgetown, Hamilton, Medina, and Portsmouth, Ohio; and Mannington, W. Va. Other commissions included paintings for U.S. Marine hospitals and murals for the Cincinnati Zoo.

His paintings and sculpture-like prints were known for their energy and vibrant application of color and pattern. He served for 33 years on the University of Alabama's art faculty, retiring in 1978.

In 1992, at 84, he exhibited 15 critically acclaimed new works of art inspired by a trip to the Yucatan peninsula and the architecture of its Mayan ruins.

Survivors include his wife, Willita Skelton Goodson Zoellner; his son, David Zoellner; a stepson, artist Nathan Goodson of Tuscaloosa; and grandchildren.

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