George Raab (1866 - 1943)

Birth date: 2/26/1866 Death date: 9/24/1943  
Birth location: Sheboygan, Wisconsin Death location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin  
Media: Drawing , Graphic Art , Painting , Photography , Sculpture Web site:
Fair (file rating) - MWA artist file may include basic data, and additional newspaper articles, book references, exhibition information, and images that can be researched on site at MWA.

Biographical Brief

Wisconsin art teacher and WP&S. Received Wisconsin Visual Art Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009.


George Raab
Born 1866 in Sheboygan, Wisconsin
Died 1943 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
George Raab began his art studies around 1890 in Milwaukee under Richard Lorenz and Robert Schade at the Wisconsin Art Institute. In 1889 he and partner Herman Feiker set up the photographic studio of Feiker and Raab. A year later he was listed in the Milwaukee City Directory under Raab and Bressler, Crayon Artists. It is presumed that from 1891–1896, upon Lorenz's advice, Raab resumed his studies in Germany at the Weimar Art Academy and then at the Colarossi Art School of Paris under Gustave Courtois.  

By 1899, he returned to Milwaukee and in 1900 exhibited at the Bressler Co. in Milwaukee, along with Alexander Mueller and Louis Mayer who had also recently returned from studying abroad. The three were instrumental in forming the Society of Milwaukee Artists in 1900, later known as Wisconsin Painters and Sculptors. He was President of the group in 1917.  

In 1901, Raab taught at the Milwaukee Art Students League (later known as the Wisconsin School of Art and yet later as the Wisconsin School of Fine and Applied Arts), and was still listed in the school faculty prospectus in 1909/1910.

He was the second curator of the Layton Art Gallery working there from 1902 until 1922. He was also a member of the Milwaukee Art Association later known as the Milwaukee Art Society, still later as the Milwaukee Art Institute, Milwaukee Art Center and then finally the Milwaukee Art Museum. From 1915–1922 Raab was a member of the Milwaukee Art Commission, to approve art and building acquisitions for the Milwaukee Public Schools. In 1917, Raab received the Milwaukee Art Institute’s Painter’s Award Medal for a portrait of his mother, fashioned after Whistler’s famous painting of his own mother.

After resigning from Layton Art Gallery in 1922 he spent a year on the faculty of the State Normal School in Milwaukee until moving to Illinois to become Educational Director of the Springfield Art Institute. He was later appointed Director of the Decatur Art Institute and while there he was also the acting director and a lecturer in fine arts at Milliken University. In 1937, he returned to Milwaukee to open a studio on Holton Street. Raab was accomplished in many different two- and three-dimensional media and worked in the styles of Academic Realism, Impressionism, Pointillism, and Art Nouveau. His Linoleum and wood block prints were typically geometric abstract studies that simplified architectural and mechanical elements into basic shapes.

Selected One-Person Exhibitions

Decatur Art Institute, Decatur, Illinois,
Milwaukee Journal Gallery of Wisconsin Art, One-person exhibition of watercolors 
Milwaukee Art Institute, One-person exhibition of paintings
 George Raab: Prominence in 19th Century Regional Art, West Bend Art Museum, Wisconsin, Springfield Art Assoc. Illinois

Selected Group Exhibitions

IF.I.T. Bresler Company, Milwaukee, Three-person exhibition - George Raab, Alexander Mueller and Louis Mayer
1901  Milwaukee Public Library, First Exhibition of the Society of Milwaukee Artists,
Milwaukee Art Society, Wisconsin, First Annual Wisconsin Painters and Sculptors
Milwaukee Art Institute (received the first Wisconsin Painters’ Award for “Portrait of a Lady”) 
Milwaukee Art Institute, Wisconsin. Wisconsin Painters and Sculptors 19th Annual Exhibition (medal winner) 
Milwaukee Art Institute, Wisconsin Art, (exhibited, "Portrait of a Lady")
1981  University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Society of Milwaukee Artists - 1900-1913
1989 West Bend Gallery of Fine Arts (now known as Museum of Wisconsin Art)  German Academic Painters in Wisconsin
1996 Berstrom-Mahler Museum, Neenah, Wisconsin, Collecting the Art of Wisconsin: The Early Years
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