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Founding Members

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Marian Bode

Marian Bode (1915 – 2005) had a distinguished career as a visual artist and teacher at Milwaukee Downer College. From 1939 to 1941 she participated in the WPA Federal Art Project. In 1952 she co-founded, along with Emily Groom, the Wisconsin Watercolor Society, became its first secretary, and was an active member well into her eighties. Read complete bio

Thomas Dietrich

Thomas Dietrich (1912 – 1998) was an artist in residence at Lawrence College for thirty years and painted in the American Regionalist style for seven decades, gaining fame for his watercolors of Fox Valley landscapes, bridges, factories, and people. Read complete bio

Earl Gessert

Earl Gessert (1918 – 1996) was recognized for his painting at a young age. His studies at the Layton School of Art were interrupted by WWII where he did more than 100 sketches, most of which were lost during combat in Germany. After the war he continued studies and became a milkman to support his family while painting and teaching at Layton. He was a founder and first president of the WWS. Read complete bio

Emily Groom

Emily Groom (1875 – 1975) received her training at the Art Institute of Chicago, Art Student’s League in New York, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and in London. She taught at Milwaukee Downer College fifty-five years where she organized the art department. She was a well-loved member of the Wisconsin art community, remaining active until her 97th year. She and Marian Bode were co-founders of the WWS. Read complete bio

Gerald Landt

Gerald Landt (1919-) graduated from Milwaukee State Teachers College and earned his masters from UW-Madison, after which he was art director of Milwaukee Country Day School for thirty-nine years. He was married to artist June Buchholz Landt who became a member of WWS in 1953. A founder of WWS, he was also a member of the Milwaukee Art Commission for 14 years.
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Dorothy Meredith

Dorothy Meredith (1906-1986) received degrees from Layton School of Art, Milwaukee State Teachers College, and the Cranbrook of Academy of Art. She was both a practicing watercolor artist and an instructor of fiber arts. She taught at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the Summer School of Art in Saugatuck, Michigan. She was a founding member and first treasurer of WWS. Read complete bio

Robert Neumann

Robert von Neumann (1888-1976) was born in Berlin, studied art, and served in the German Army during WWI after which he taught art in Berlin. In 1926 he settled in Milwaukee where he worked on the art staff of the Milwaukee Journal. He also taught at the Layton School of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Milwaukee State Teachers College, and the Summer School of Art in Saugatuck. Read complete bio

Peter Rotier

Peter Rotier (1888-1963) studied art in Wisconsin Chicago, and New York. During the Depression he worked on a Federal Art Project in Key West, followed by two Post Office Murals in Wisconsin. During WWII he was a cartoonist for his unit. He taught at the Milwaukee Art Institute, Chicago Art Institute, Layton School of Art, and UWM.
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