Alfred A. Sessler Biography

Alfred A. Sessler




Alfred Sessler was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on January 14, 1909. After studying at the Layton School of Art in Milwaukee, he graduated from Milwaukee State Teacher’s College in 1944. Sessler earned his master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin in Madison in 1945 and joined the Art Department as an instructor. He remained at the University of Wisconsin, becoming a full professor in 1956. He died on September 16, 1963.

Sessler was employed by the Treasury Art Project from 1935 to 1937 and by the Federal Art Project from 1937 to 1942. He created murals in U.S. Post Offices in Lowell, Michigan, and Morris, Minnesota as a member of these project teams. Sessler was considered an active exhibitor who often sent his prints to competitions and print shows. From 1931 when he had his first one-man show at Milwaukee State Teacher’s college until his death in 1963, he exhibited in numerous invitationals and national exhibitions, receiving many purchase awards. Sessler’s works have been represented in institutions such as the Art Institute of Chicago, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Library of Congress.

Although Sessler’s early works in the 1930’s were in painting and drawing, he ultimately became most well known for his lithographs, etchings, and woodcuts. He was inspired by images of Milwaukee day laborers and often did caricatures of faces and figures. A former student remembers Sessler as a dedicated and caring teacher who promoted printmaking in his studio classes at the University of Wisconsin. He is considered the inventor of the color reduction process for creating woodcuts.

The color woodcut by Sessler in the Fine Arts Collection, Blue Veil, was purchased after the 1960 Fine Arts Festival, held April 24 to April 30, 1960. This woodcut, created in 1958, was followed by the creation of Blue Veil II, in 1959.

Source: Luther College,