George Thomas Burns (1911 - 2009)

Birth date: 10/22/1911 Death date: 1/2/2009  
Birth location: Bay View, Wisconsin Death location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin  
Media: Decorative Art , Design , Painting Web site:
Comprehensive (file rating) - Major Wisconsin artist file that includes comprehensive documentation on artist's life that can be researched on site at MWA.


George Thomas Burns
Born 1911 in Bay View, Wisconsin
Died 2009 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
George Thomas Burns grew up in Milwaukee’s
southern lake shore suburb of Bay View where he attended high school. After graduating from Milwaukee State Teachers College, he earned a masters degree in art and education from Columbia University in New York. He returned to Milwaukee and from 1937- 1939 taught art at Cass Street  Elementary School and then at Riverside High School from 1939-1965. From 1966 to 1981, he led the Milwaukee School System’s Department of Instructional Resources, winning awards for his television projects.
A talented designer, Burns created ingeniously constructed  educational toys for the WPA Milwaukee Handicraft Project during the Depression. As a manager for the toy project, he also trained and supervised the workers building the durable wooden vehicles and blocks for use in schools and institutions around the country.
During retirement he had more time to devote to his own art career and had produced and exhibited work in his preferred mediums of watercolor and pastel. Commenting on
his realistic, detailed paintings he said, “I like the clarity of watercolors…. I wanted to get outside and paint what I saw.” Burns was a member of Wisconsin Painter and Sculptors / Artists of All Media (now Wisconsin Visual Artists), The Wisconsin Watercolor Society, member and president of Milwaukee Area Teachers of Art and the Milwaukee Men’s Sketch Club. He continued an active lifestyle of exercise and travel into his nineties.  He died January 2, 2009 at 97 years old.

Selected One-Person Exhibitions

2002 Still Life at 90: The Paintings of George T. Burns, Alfons Gallery,
Milwaukee, WI

Selected Group Exhibitions

1946 33rd Annual Exhibition of Wisconsin Art, Milwaukee Art
1947  34th Annual Wisconsin Painters and Sculptors Exhibition,
Walrus Club, Milwaukee 


Artist’s 90Year Brush With Greatness,
Milw. Journal Sent. July 10.’02
Milw Handicraft Project
publication, Exhibition Records, WMA Archives.

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