Ogden Pleissner1905 - 1983
Born: April 29, 1905, Brooklyn, New York
Died: 1983, London, England
While growing up in New York, Pleissner spent several summers in Wyoming where he developed a life-long love of fishing. He attended the Art Students League from 1922 to 1926 and began teaching at the Pratt Institute soon after. Throughout the 1930s, Pleissner worked exclusively in oils and became known for his Western landscapes and images of the Maritimes and New England. He was commissioned as a captain in the United States Air Force at the start of World War II and stationed in the Aleutians as a war artist. Due to the physical constraints, Pleissner switched from oil painting to watercolor at this time and continued with the medium for the remainder of his artistic career. After Congress withdrew war art funding, he began working as a war correspondent for Life magazine in Europe. After the war, Pleissner continued to travel to Europe and Wyoming, painting city scenes, landscapes, and sporting subjects.
Life donated the company's entire collection of World War II art, including over eighty Pleissner paintings, to the Army Art Department, so his work hangs in the halls and offices at the Pentagon, West Point, and the Air Force Academy. His paintings are also part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and other museum collections. In addition to winning numerous awards from the National Academy of Design, he served as the organization's vice-president.
"I find that I can learn more about what I am doing by going outside somewhere, in nature, and walking through fields or climbing the mountains or walking down a street and looking at the thing as such rather than going through the hands of another artist. I love to look, and get the biggest kick from a good Constable, Homer, Turner, or Monet, and so forth; but I really don't learn a great deal from a picture."
(Quote source: Rockwell Museum. American Western Art. New York: Rockwell Museum, 1989, 65.)