Meadowlark Gallery: The Artist Biographies

Winold Reiss (1888-1953)
Winold Reiss or Fritz Winold Reiss was born in Karlsruhe, Germany in 1888 and died in Carson City, Nevada in 1953. Winold Reiss was raised in the Black Forest where he was the pupil of his father, a landscape painter. Reiss also studied with von Stuck at the Royal Academy in Munich and with Diez at the Art School in Munich. Inspired by the novels of James Fenimore Cooper, he came to the United States in 1913 expressly to paint the American Indian. After a delay due to World War I, Reiss began in 1919 to paint his collection of Indian portraits, including eighty one for the Great Northern Railroad that were exhibited nationally and in Europe. The Blackfeet initiated him into the tribe as "Beaver Child," in reference to the intensity of his painting, and were the subjects of many book illustrations for which Reiss was commissioned. He also did portraits of Negroes and Western landscapes such as the Grand Canyon. In 1941, he was assistant professor of mural painting at New York University, and had constructed murals depicting the Indian in theaters, restaurants such as Longchamps in New York City, hotels, clubs, and the Cincinnati Union Terminal. Some of the murals were made in glass mosaic. When Reiss died, the Blackfeet scattered his ashes at the foot of the Rockies.
View high resolution images of works by Winold Reiss when available.