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Paul Herzel

Birth place or City of origin: Silesia
State of origin: Germany
Last known City:
Last known State:
Start/Birth date: 1876
Death/End date: 1956

Born in Silesia, Germany in 1876. Paul Herzel was seven years old when his family immigrated to the United States settling in St. Louis, MO. As a young boy, he began drawing, painting scenery along the Mississippi River, and modeling clay, which he found along the riverbank. Herzel studied painting at the St. Louis Art School and became a founding member of the Brush and Pencil Club. He developed a keen interest in the animals at the Forest Park Zoo in St. Louis and began making sketches, paintings, and models. In his 20s, Paul went to Europe for artistic inspiration returning to the US where he relocated in New York and began the study of sculpture at the Beaux Arts Institute of Design. There, he frequented the Central Park Zoo and continued the study of animal form, applying it to his work. Apparently for some time Herzel was employed by the New York Zoo Society, painting background scenery for the animal's cages. The library of that society contains some of his paintings. Many of Herzel's sculptural designs were sold to companies such as the Pompeian Bronze Company, which reproduced his works as bookends, ashtrays, lamp bases, and statuettes. He is primarily known for his sculpture, although he completed hundreds of paintings and sketches throughout his career.

Herzel won the Barnett Prize of the National Academy of Design in 1915 for The Struggle, a sculpture of a boa constrictor strangling a tiger. The same work also won a prize given by Mrs. Harry Payne Whitney. Other popular works include The Pirate, Bucking Horse, Lion and Zebra, The Yank, and The Riveter, which had been acquired by the Moscow Museum of Modern Western Arts.

 

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