Anthony Angarola Biography

Anthony Angarola




Anthony Angarola was born in Chicago, Illinois on February 4, 1893. He lost his mother at age 7 and attended school through sixth grade, when he quit to help his father, doing odd jobs in his father’s many real estate holdings spread about Chicago’s North Side and the Loop. His frequent impulses to be an artist were disturbing to his classes from kindergarten on. Teachers sent home notes asking he be disciplined for disfiguring his assignment papers with wild drawings.

To escape his mundane existence, Angarola often found sanctuary in the Art Institute of Chicago. A guard suggested he look into the Art Institute’s school of painting, which changed the course of his life. He began studying part-time in 1908, finally graduating in 1917. Along the way he accumulated an impressive series of honors including numerous honorable mentions in specific classes, best student of the year in 1915, and a full tuition scholarship in 1917. Although he studied with a number of people at SAIC, the most profound influence on him was the painter Harry Walcott. He graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Since he was the son of Italian immigrants himself, his work focused on people who struggled to adapt to a foreign culture.

Angarola taught as an art instructor at the Layton School of Art in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1921, the Minneapolis School of Art from 1922 to 1925, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1926 and the Kansas City Art Institute from 1926. He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1928, a year before his death. He also participated in the Carnegie International exposition in 1928, exhibiting his painting entitled Proud.

Anthony Angarola was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship to study painting in Italy between 1928 and 1929. He indicated on his application that he was interested in the work of proto-Renaissance figures such as Giotto, and especially Giotto’s bulky, flattened figures with their combination of figuration and abstraction.

Angarola is also notable as one of the favorite artists of the horror writer H. P. Lovecraft. Lovecraft made a reference to the works of Angarola in his short story "The Call of Cthulhu" and did the same in "Pickman's Model":
Only a real artist knows the actual anatomy of the terrible or the physiology of fear―the exact sort of lines and proportions that connect up with latent instincts or hereditary memories of fright, and the proper colour contrasts and lighting effects to stir the dormant sense of strangeness.... There's something those fellows catch―beyond life―that they're able to make us catch for a second. Doré had it. Sime has it. Angarola of Chicago has it."
In 1917 Angarola was married to Maria Ambrosius a concert pianist. They had two children together, Richard Anthony Angarola (a noted character actor) and Yvonne Daly (a classical pianist and composer), before divorcing.
Although he died at the young age of 36, he inspired many artists. Two of his noted students were William S. Schwartz and Belle Baranceanu, with whom he was engaged at the time of his death. His work is now in the permanent collection of several museums including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and the Davis Museum at Wellesley College in Boston.

Anthony Angarola died in Chicago on August 17, 1929 at the Bradley Hotel as a result of injuries sustained in a car accident in France while on his Guggenheim.

Compiled from various obituaries.