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Alumna's Student Art Portfolio From 1940s
On Display at CMU's Ellis Gallery, Nov. 4-6
Rare Works, Titled "After Pearl Harbor," Recreate World War II Student Era
PITTSBURGH—This student art portfolio has stood the test of time.
Eleanor Wilson Stoltz, a 1945 Carnegie Tech alumna who became a professional artist and educator, will share her work created almost 70 years ago in an exhibition titled "After Pearl Harbor" in Carnegie Mellon University's Ellis Gallery Nov. 4 - 6. The exhibit recreates the World War II student era, a time when campus life changed as men enlisted to fight the war and women dominated the art studios. Additional artwork she created in her professional career and personal artifacts will be included in the exhibition.
"A portfolio like hers from this period, so complete and in such good condition is extremely rare," said CMU Archivist Jennie Benford. "It might be the only Carnegie Tech student portfolio covering the time from the 1940s, from the war period through Andy Warhol's student years."
Stoltz studied with the same art professors who taught Andy Warhol, Balcomb Green, Robert Lepper, Russell "Papa" Hyde, Wilfrid Readio, Sam Rosenberg and Robert Gwathmey. Warhol graduated from Carnegie Tech in 1949.
Her daughter Susan Stoltz, an artist, oral historian and curator, preserved the portfolio and through this exhibit introduces the Eleanor Wilson Stoltz Collection to the public. Featured drawings and many items on display will become part of the CMU Archives at the Hunt Library.
A charcoal series from life-drawing classes from 1941to 1943 are juried and date-stamped by art faculty. These artworks, some double-sided, together with a selection of oil-on-paper portraits, pencil drawings and other class assignments, comprise her student art portfolio.
A collection of metal crafts, tools, photographs, framed artworks, personal objects and archives on loan from the family supplement the exhibit. Her hand-sewn 1941 Carnegie Tech tartan plaid dress will be on display along with a self-portrait in oil, in which she employed a glazing technique using chalk to give the portrait luminosity. Selected transcripts of her memories of teachers and their methods, the art studio and campus life help tell her story.
The exhibit is free and open to the public. The Ellis Gallery is located on the third floor of the College of Fine Arts building. The gallery hours are 1 to 6 p.m. Thursday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday.
Eleanor Wilson Stoltz was born in Pittsburgh in 1923 and graduated from Carnegie Tech with a bachelor's of fine arts
degree in art education. Like Warhol, she was selected from her grade school to participate in exclusive Saturday art classes for children at the university.
She supported herself through window display work at local department stores. In 1947, she married Jim Stoltz, a Carnegie Tech electrical engineering student and World War II veteran. An art teacher and supervisor in Pittsburgh area public schools, Stoltz started two children's art schools, one in Ben Avon, Pa., and a Saturday art school in Wauwatosa, Wis. She returned to Pittsburgh in 1969 and taught art in the public schools into her 70s. She has four daughters.
Susan Stoltz lives in New York City. She holds a master's degree in studio art from New York University and has exhibited art and film in New York City and abroad including the Moscow Film Festival. She co-produced and directed a National Public Television Series in 1995 about the lives of women artists, including "Life Paths & Choices and Our Mothers/Ourselves." She created a performance about the parallel lives of Warhol and her mother, which was performed at the Knitting Factory in 1993.
Self-portrait in Studio, oil on board, 20x24 inches, photo courtesy of Eleanor Stoltz