HANNIBAL — Never-before exhibited works by Fritz Giesendorfer will be on exhibit in Hannibal in a temporary gallery space, for a limited time only.
Geisendorfer grew up in Pittsfield, Ill., and called it his home his entire life, except for a brief stint at the Art Academy of Chicago around the turn of the 20th century. However, instead staying in Chicago or going on to pursue a career in fine art elsewhere, something called him back to his hometown.
Geisendorfer was born on June 28, 1882. The Giesendorfer family surely recognized the artistic gifts of their son early-on, or the opportunity to attend art school would not have been possible or encouraged. His lifetime work illuminates his amazing technical skills and raw talent. The works on display also illustrates a large body of work that do not seem as if they were created to ever be put on display. Except for very few finished and framed works, they are almost doodles, but doodles drawn by the hand of an expert.
The works on display show that Geisendorfer drew and painted subject matter that was accessible to him — his family, images from magazines and newspapers, public figures and politicians, and himself, his most readily available subject who stared back at him in the mirror. Even the materials he used as his drawing surfaces show that he wasn’t necessarily drawing to ultimately put them into a frame — from poster board to notebook paper to sketches in books.
Undiscovered as an artist during his lifetime, viewing his works leaves questions as to why Giesendorfer, who died on Feb. 23, 1980 at the age of 97, ultimately worked as a house painter, sign painter/vehicle letterer in his native Pittsfield, Ill. and never pursued, or was not able to pursue, a serious career in fine art. It is almost like he kept his true talent a secret.
The public is encouraged to visit the exhibit during its limited engagement and viewing hours. The exhibit will run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24, Sunday, Oct. 25, Saturday, Oct. 31 and Sunday, Nov. 1, at a temporary gallery space set up in 101 N. Main St. (across from HNB Bank) in Downtown Hannibal. Visitors will be asked to abide by occupancy limits, wear masks and practice physical distancing while viewing the exhibit.
The exhibit is being presented in cooperation with the family of Fritz Giesendorfer, Pike County Historical Society, Norman Hare, Jeff Timpe and the Hannibal Arts Council. More information regarding this special exhibit, contact the Hannibal Arts Council at 573-221-6545, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit them on the web at hannibalarts.com.