Don Alfred Thiele
Painter, 7 July 1936 - 7 July 2003
Born in Oak Park, Illinois in 1936, raised on a dairy farm in Wisconsin where we bred Pinto ponies for Hollywood movies. Tutored in art by my great‑aunt who studied with William Merritt Chase and my uncle, Howard James of Walt Disney Studios. Life Classes at the Art Institute of Chicago. Formally educated by the Lutheran Church and The University of Chicago.
Studied Architectural design with Alfred Shaw and Robert Cantrell at Shaw, Metz and Dolio in Chicago. Apprenticeship at Frank Lloyd Wright’s “Taliesin East” in Spring Green, Wisconsin.
During the Korean War and its aftermath served in the Merchant Marine and the U.S. Navy, Pacific Fleet.
Lived for periods in Japan, Hong Kong, Alaska and England. In Japan studied Sumi technique and had access to the Imperial Collections.
From 1964 to 1979 maintained a New York City, Greenwich Village studio. Also painted in Woodstock, Provincetown and Newport. In 1979 moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico. In 1984 moved to Tucson, Arizona.
Paintings and drawings were first publicly shown in galleries and cafes of Greenwich Village in the mid‑sixties. At frequent times during the following fifteen years in New York City work was seen at Rose Fried, Allan Stone and Terry Dintenfass Galleries, The Park Avenue Synagogue Annual, Hollander, Circle and Noho Galleries and the Town Hall and Woodstock Art Association Galleries.
In Santa Fe at The Armory For The Arts, Santa Fe Festival and the Triumerate and Three Genturies Galleries. In Tucson, “First Prize” in painting at the ‘84 Congress St. Arts Festival.
The artist has executed large, interior murals and paintings alfresco. Designed and manufactured posters, serigraphs, woodcuts and engravings, theatre sets, couturier clothing and accessories.
Thiele’s paintings, drawings and graphic.work are in over 300 private collections in the United States, Japan and Europe and several corporate collections.
The work is characterized by an original style, strong color and allegorical and symbolist iconography relating to art historical themes of both Eastern and Western traditions.
John Canaday, art critic emeritus of the New York Times praises the series of Hudson River landscapes as the work of “the first Fantastic Realist in the new wave of American Realism.”