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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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Donald and Christine "Criss" Glasell. Photo courtesy: https://projects.mtmercy.edu/stonecity/artists/glasellc.html and Timothy P. McCarron

GLASELL, Donald. (Denmark--Chicago, IL, 1967) At the age of seventeen, Glasell came to America and enrolled at the Art Institute of Chicago. He took additional art training at the Commercial Art School and the Studio School.

Glasell returned to Chicago following the WORLD WAR I and did many small jobs including painting buckeyes in a Walgreen’s drugstore window and working at a decorative lampshade factory. He was married in 1925 and the couple moved to Dubuque. Donald and Christine "Criss" GLASELL were active in the Dubuque Art Center, operated a studio in downtown Dubuque, and attended the Stone City Art Colony in the summers of 1932-33.

Following his studies under Grant Wood, Glasell joined the Cooperative Mural Painters Group in Cedar Rapids. He helped paint the controversial mural series in the Linn County federal courthouse in 1936. At the same time, Glasell served as the assistant director of the Federal Art Center in Sioux City, Iowa, where he led painting and etching classes. He assisted William E. Bunn and Bertrand Adams with their two Dubuque WPA mural commissions in 1936-1937. He also aided Herman O. Myre and Rollin E. Beard with their Sioux City mural series. For ten years, Glasell worked as a designer and manager for several Chicago commercial art companies. In the mid-1940s, the Glasells briefly relocated to Bloomfield, Iowa where he worked as a chief designer for Knock-on-Wood Industries, a wood carving and puppet manufacturer. Until a few years before his death, Glasell worked as a commercial artist and draftsman for the JOHN DEERE DUBUQUE WORKS.

Glasell served as the director of the Dubuque Art Academy and taught art classes at the Dubuque Evening School for three years. He was a member of the Iowa Artists Club, the American Art Congress [New York], and other organizations. Exhibitions of his work include the Philadelphia Water Color Show, the Iowa Art Salon (various years), as well as New York and Chicago galleries. A permanent collection of his work was held by the Dubuque Art Association and is now housed at the Dubuque Museum of Art.