Ronau William Woiceske Biography

Ronau William Woiceske




Ronau William (R.W.) Woiceske was born in Bloomington, Illinois on January 20 1887. His father, William, was born in Germany and worked as grocer, blacksmith, and carriage and wagon maker. William died at age 39, when Ronau was seven years old. He lived in Bloomington through his 20s, working at one time at C.W. Klemm's, a department store on the north side of the courthouse square. As a teen he began learning painting on his own.

At age 20 he went to work as a designer and painter at the Jacoby Art Glass Co., a stained glass studio in St. Louis, Missouri. He took classes at the St. Louis Art School. In 1924 he moved to Woodstock, New York where he studied painting with tonalist Birge Harrison and landscape painter John Carlson. Somewhere along the line he began to concentrate on printmaking, using etching, drypoint and aquatint to produce the atmospheric winter landscapes for which he became known. His editions usually ran between 50 and 100. Many of his snow scenes attracted national attention at the time. His etchings and paintings were exhibited in many American cities and abroad.

His first one-man show came in 1932. Throughout that decade, his prints - with titles like "Hemlocks in Winter," "Windblown Birches" and "Winter in the Catskills" - were shown in exhibitions staged in New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago. Woiceske also worked in the WPA during the Depression.Today, his work is held by the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the California State Library and other institutions. Many of his winter compositions were turned into Christmas cards.

Woiceske was a member of the Philadelphia Print Club and the National Association of Etchers. He died in his home in Woodstock, New York on July 21, 1953. His obituary was carried by the New York Times.

Albert Reese in his book, American Prize Prints of the Twentieth Century commented on Woiceske's etching: "Just as Monet gloried in haystacks, painting them over and over again in the changing light, so does Woiceske glory in snow."