Thomasita Fessler

Last updated

Sister Mary Thomasita Fessler (February 23, 1912 – April 1, 2005) was an American painter and religious sister. Her work consisted of paintings, sculptures and designs for stained-glass windows. [1]

Contents

History

Fessler was born Majella Nicola Fessler in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the granddaughter of the prominent architect Erhard Brielmaier. She joined the Sisters of St. Francis when she was seventeen years of age and went on to graduate from University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Erhard Brielmaier American architect

Erhard Brielmaier was a renowned and prominent architect within United States and Canada from late 19th century through the 20th century. Erhard Brielmaier designed and built more churches and hospitals than any other architect.

University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee

The University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee is a public urban research university located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States. It is the largest university in the Milwaukee metropolitan area and a member of the University of Wisconsin System. It is also one of the two doctoral degree-granting public universities and the second largest university in Wisconsin.

School of the Art Institute of Chicago independent school of art and design

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) is one of America's largest accredited independent schools of art and design. It is located in the Loop in Chicago, Illinois. The school is associated with the museum of the same name, and "The Art Institute of Chicago" or "Chicago Art Institute" often refers to either entity. Providing degrees at the undergraduate and graduate levels, SAIC has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top graduate art programs in the nation, as well as by Columbia University's National Arts Journalism survey as the most influential art school in the United States.

One of the most publicly known artists within the Brielmaier artist family, she was profiled by Life Magazine in a 1953 feature story [1] written by Jaqueline Mitchard. Prior to the publication, Fessler was being asked by the Church to reconsider whether she should she remain in the convent due to what the church hierarchy was 'seeing' in her artwork. Fessler's reply was that if there was a sexual nature they were 'seeing' in her artwork, they should look within themselves for the answer to what 'they' were 'seeing'. Fessler went on to found the Art Department at Cardinal Stritch University, becoming the Chair of the Art Department as well as founding the much acclaimed Studio San Damiano art gallery and studio for artists and education; based on her philosophy of, "Nature is God's art and art is man's nature" as well as the Brielmaier tradition of, "A child who learns to create will not destroy."

Cardinal Stritch University

Cardinal Stritch University is a private Roman Catholic university in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The university also offers courses in Brookfield, Wisconsin; Madison, Wisconsin; and has outreach programs throughout Wisconsin. Its motto, Ut probetis potiora, is taken from Philippians 1:10.

Fessler created over 600 paintings, most of which are now held in private collections, some within art galleries or museums such as the Haggarty Museum at Marquette University. Two of her elaborate huge sculptures made of precious woods to bring color distinction are featured on the entire walls of the Marquette University second and fourth floor library. Her hand carved 16-foot crucifix, altar sculptures or stone carvings can be seen within churches throughout the United States. Her Studio San Damiano, where she had worked for decades with artist Irene Kilmurry, closed on April 14, 2004. [2]

Marquette University private university in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, US

Marquette University is a private research university in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Established by the Society of Jesus as Marquette College on August 28, 1881, it was founded by John Martin Henni, the first Bishop of Milwaukee.

Awards

Fessler's Franciscan spirit of poverty and humility prevented her from having a publicist or agent, yet still went on to be listed in Who's Who of American Artists, Who's Who of Women, and named as one of the 100 Most Distinguished Women of Wisconsin. She was the first women inducted into the Wisconsin Architects' Association.

Notes

Related Research Articles

The Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity are a Congregation of Roman Catholic apostolic religious women. The congregation was founded in 1869 in Manitowoc, Wisconsin in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee, later part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Green Bay. They follow St. Francis of Assisi's Gospel way of life and declared their aspiration to live the Gospel in simplicity, built on faith in a loving God, joyful acceptance of poverty, love for the Church and selfless dedication to the service of others.

Basilica of St. Josaphat

The Basilica of St. Josaphat, located in the Lincoln Village neighborhood of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States, North America, in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, is one of 82 minor basilicas found in the United States. In its grandeur and opulence it is an excellent example of the so-called Polish Cathedral style of church architecture found in the Great Lakes region of North America. Modeled after St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, it features one of the largest copper domes in the world. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a designated Milwaukee Landmark.

RiverSculpture!

RiverSculpture! are public art displays found along the Milwaukee Riverwalk in downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Information kiosks stationed near each presentation offer self-guided walking tours of this annual outdoor exhibition.

Mary Nohl Art Environment

The Mary Nohl Art Environment is a residence in the Milwaukee suburb of Fox Point, Wisconsin. The property, which is filled with folk art created by artist Mary Nohl (1914–2001), is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Tadeusz Żukotyński American artist

Tadeusz Żukotyński was a Polish count, professor, and painter. Born in what is today the region of Podolia in Ukraine, he was one of Europe's foremost painters in religious subjects. A pupil of Ksawery Pillati in Warsaw and a student of Cracow Academy of Fine Arts with Jan Matejko, Żukotyński studied since 1879 at the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich, where he was recognized with the highest prize awarded by the academy, a silver medal, as well as two bronze medals.

Sister Maria Stanisia, S.S.N.D., was an American Catholic artist and painter. She was a member of the School Sisters of Notre Dame.

Carl Holty German-American painter

Carl Robert Holty (1900–1973) was a German-born American abstract painter. Raised in Wisconsin, he was the first major abstract painter to gain notoriety from the state. Harold Rosenberg described Holty as "a figure of our art history," known for his use of color, shape and form.

<i>Wisconsin Workers Memorial</i> artwork by Terese Agnew and Mary Zebell

The Wisconsin Workers Memorial is a public artwork by American artists Terese Agnew and Mary Zebell located in Zeidler Park, which is in downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States. The artwork, created in 1995, takes the whole park as its theme, and includes a gazebo in the middle of the park with handles of tools and grills forming the ornamental grillwork. There are also decorative chains around the park spelling out popular labor slogans, as well as graphic panels explaining significant moments in Wisconsin's labor history.

<i>Menomonee</i> (sculpture) artwork by Hilary Goldblatt

Menomonee is a public artwork by artist Hilary Goldblatt located on the former Emmber Foods, Inc. grounds on the south side of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States. The Cor-Ten steel piece is a horizontal constructivist abstract form composed of beams forming angles and open spaces. It was created in 1985 and is 4.5' high, 20' long and 4' wide.

<i>Happy-Go-Luckies of Nature and Technology</i> artwork by Guido Peter Brink

Happy-Go-Luckies of Nature and Technology is a public artwork by German artist Guido Brink located on the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee campus, which is near Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States. The sculpture is a steel structure that is painted red. It was dedicated at UWM's Lapham Hall on October 23, 1992.

<i>Chrysalis</i> (sculpture) artwork by Beth Sahagian

Chrysalis is a public artwork by American artist Beth Sahagian located at the entrance of the Marion Chester Read Center, which is near Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, United States. The sculpture is carved from 2,500 pounds of Indiana limestone and bronze. It consists of one solid form and measures about 75" x 36". Chrysalis was installed in the entrance of the Marion Chester Read Center in October 1990.

<i>On Watch</i> artwork by David M. Wanner

On Watch is a public artwork by American artist David M. Wanner located at the Fire and Police Safety Academy, which is in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States. The life-size bronze sculpture depicts a police officer and a fire fighter both holding a rescued child.

<i>Referee</i> (Queoff) artwork by Tom Queoff

Referee is a public artwork by American artist Tom Queoff, located on the south entrance of the U.S. Cellular Arena, which is in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States. The 9 foot laminated marble sculpture depicts an abstracted referee with legs spread apart and arms raised.

<i>Dancing Through Life</i> (sculpture) artwork by Schomer Lichtner

Dancing Through Life is a public art work by artist Schomer Lichtner. It is installed on the Riverwalk in Pere Marquette Park in downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

<i>Mother Teresa Monument</i> artwork by Gautam Pal

The Mother Teresa Monument is a public art work by artist Guatam Pal. It is located on the west side of the St. Joan of Arc Chapel on the Marquette University campus in downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The sculpture depicts Mother Teresa dressed in a sari and holding an infant. The sculpture commemorates Mother Teresa's 1981 visit to Marquette, when she was awarded the Pere Marquette Discovery Award. The sculpture was dedicated on October 6, 2009 as part of a weeklong celebration of the "Centennial of Women at Marquette."

Jillian Sebastian is an American educational innovator, integrated public artist and multi-media artist.

Elizabeth Plankinton

Elizabeth Ann or Anne Plankinton was an American philanthropist in the early 20th century, the daughter of Milwaukee businessman John Plankinton. She supported local artists and artisans. One of her notable gifts was the 1885 statue of George Washington that was ultimately placed in Milwaukee's Monument Square. The people of Milwaukee called Plankinton the "municipal patroness" because of her generosity and she was also known as "Miss Lizzie".

Iona Rozeal Brown is a contemporary American painter best known for her narrative canvases commenting on cultural identity. She pulls her inspiration from ukiyo-e printmaking and contemporary hip-hop. She touches upon African-American culture and Japanese ganguro culture, which appropriates black culture.

Clotilde Elizabeth Brielmaier German-American religious painter

Clotilde Elizabeth Brielmaier, sometimes called "Lottie" Brielmaier, was a German-American religious painter, specializing in portraits and church murals. She was the daughter of the famous Milwaukee architect Erhard Brielmaier and often collaborated with her family on projects. She spent several years studying art in Munich and Rome. She is said to be the first female artist to establish her own studio in the United States, which was located in the now demolished University Building in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.