Roland Ginzel Biography

Roland Ginzel




Roland F. Ginzel, painter, printmaker and teacher, was born in Lincoln, Illinois on May 7, 1921. His father was architect Roland Ginzel and he and his wife, Mabel (nee Armstrong), encouraged Roland's interest in the visual arts. His formal art studies began at Lincoln College, followed by enrollment at the Art Institute of Chicago (AIC). However, his studies were interrupted by WWII, and after joining the United States Coast Guard he was stationed at various posts along the Eastern Seaboard for the duration of the war.

In 1945, he returned to the AIC where he earned his B.F.A. with a focus on printmaking in 1948; he married fellow AIC artist Ellen Lanyon (1926 - 2013) that same year. Ginzel continued his printmaking studies under Mauricio Lasansky and received his M.F.A. from the University of Iowa in 1950. His post-graduate studies were at the Slade School of Art in London where he studied printmaking under John Buckland Wright, and at the Academia de Belle Arti in Rome. 

Ginzel returned to Chicago in 1951 and continued his art while also lecturing and teacing printmaking part time at the University of Chicago. In 1953, he co-founded the Graphic Art Workshop, a center for printmaking and exhibition which wouldbecome a hub for printmakers from all over the country. In 1955 he joined the staff of the University of Illinois Chicago where he taught until 1985, and following his retirement he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Lincoln College. He continued to teach part time at the Parsons School of Design and Columbia University, dividing his time between New York City and his family home in Massachusetts.

His work was included in important exhibitions of Chicago artists and was featured in the
First Chicago Invitational in 1962. He also showed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and at the Whitney Biennial in New York, as well as throughout Europe and Japan. A retrospective of his work was mounted in 1986 at the University of Illinois Chicago. He Roland Ginzel died on February 25, 2021. 

His work is in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, Brooklyn Museum, Dallas Museum of Art, National Gallery of Art, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Illinois State Museum, Joslyn Museum of Art, and the University of Michigan Museum of Art.

In Art in Chicago 1945-1995, Dominic Molon praised Ginzel: "Despite the strong figurative presence in Chicago, Ginzel has maintained an unwavering devotion to abstract painting. His long-term dedication to abstraction makes him one of the most singular and individualistic figures in the spectrum of postwar Chicago art."


Roland Ginzel died on February  25, 2021 in Lenox, Massachusetts.