Herman Roderick Volz Biography

Herman Roderick Volz




Herman Roderick Volz (1904-1990), painter, muralist, lithographer, set designer, decorative artist and ceramist, was born in 1904 on Christmas Day in Zürich, Switzerland. His first training was under the tutelage of his grandfather, a master craftsman in decorative arts. Volz studied commercial art at the Art und Gewerbescule in Zürich and then studied for two years at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. He also studied in France, Spain, Italy and Holland. In 1926, Volz won first prize in a show comprised of young painters and was offered an art professorship which he rejected.


Immigrating to the U.S. in 1933, he settled in the San Francisco Bay Area and became a citizen in 1938. During the Depression, Volz worked for the Northern California Art Project and was appointed supervisor of the mural project for the Federal Building at the Golden Gate International Exposition held on Treasure Island in 1939-1940.


Volz worked in Hollywood, California between 1944 and 1948 as a scenic artist and technical director at Actor's Lab and he also designed movie sets for MGM and Paramount Studios. He designed sets for MGM and Paramount Studios.


In the 1960s, Volz became a resident of San Jose, California where he established his home and studio. He was politically active, vocal and often made social statements through his imagery. He was a member of the California Watercolor Society and the San Francisco Art Association.


He died in San Jose on December 30, 1990.