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Emil Ganso

New York Waterfront, 1930

Emil Ganso (1895 – 1941)

Ganso was born in Germany in 1895. At age 14, he apprenticed to a baker and then worked his way to America when he was 17. He worked in bakeries in Scranton, Pennsylvania; and Cincinnati and Akron, Ohio. By 1916, Ganso was out of a job, and living the life of a bohemian in New York City, sometimes on less than 30 cents a week.

In 1921, Ganso painted on a realistic nude on a bedsheet and was forced by the police to remove it from an exhibition. The bedsheet with the painting was later stolen. He soon had a job baking again at $140 a month, and with time to spare for painting and study. Ganso quit baking in 1925 when the Weyhe Gallery gave him financial backing of $50 a week.

Emil Ganso was a versatile artist and painted a variety of subjects. Ganso became best known for his erotic figures. Eventually he would become the artist in residence at the University of Iowa. In 1933 Ganso won a Guggenheim Fellowship. His paintings are in the following museum collections:

Biblioteque National Paris; Boston Museum of Fine Arts; Brooklyn Museum; Cleveland Museum of Art; Kupferstich Cabinet in Berlin; Library of Congress; Metropolitan Museum of Art; Museum of Modern Art; New York Public Library; Victoria and Albert Museum in London; Whitney Museum of American Art.

Biography from the Archives of AskART