Jean Paul Slusser Biography

Jean Paul Slusser




Painter, printmaker, designer, educator, and University of Michigan Museum of Art director Jean Paul Slusser was born in Wauseon, OH, on December 15, 1886. His formal art education began at the University of Michigan where he earned his BA in 1901 and his MA in 1911. Within these years he studied abroad in Munich at the Ludwig Maxmillian University.

He took a foray into teaching at the University of Texas from 1910 to 1912, foreshadowing a lengthy career in education. Returning to school, he studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, from 1913 to 1915, followed by summer courses at the Art Students League in New York through 1917. He remained in New York City until 1924, traveling for temporary teaching positions while also focusing on his own art career.  He returned to Michigan in 1921 to teach drawing and painting at the University, and after a stint at the Hans Hofmann Schule in Munich, he returned to UM and was promoted to assistant professor, eventually securing a position as full professor in the 1940s.

In 1947 Slusser was given directorship of UM's Museum of Art, a position he maintained until his retirement in 1957. Given an annual acquisitions stipend, Slusser built a collection of Modernist American and European works, Japanese woodcuts, and works from the German Expressionist and Belle Epoque eras. His contributions to the school led to the naming of its Architecture Gallery after him.

Slusser continued to paint until his death in 1981.