Paul Laessle, Miami. Self Portrait, oil on canvas, 20 by 24 inches, with handwritten label on rear stretcher, self-portrait Paul Laessle, not for sale.
Paul Laessle was the son of professional artists, his mother, Mary Middleton Laessle, a professional sculptor and portrait painter, his father, Albert Laessle, internationally known as a sculptor and a member of the National Academy of Design. After graduation from the Pennsylvania Academy of Art in 1935, Paul Laessle began his art career with the Pennsylvania WPA art project. He spent the first three years of the war as a mechanic and the last as a staff artist for the U. W. Maritime Service at Sheepshead Bay, New York, before moving to Miami in 1945.
Janet Reno, art columnist of the Miami Herald, noted Paul Laessle in her April 3, 1949, column, “A folding easel, an Austin and the open road. This is a combination that partially explains the quantities of little ‘First Prize’ slogans that have appeared in the last couple of years on the contributions of a Miami painter to group exhibitions. The rest of the equation is the determination of Paul Laessle to devote his whole time and energy to painting, whether it pays off financially or not. So far it hasn’t, he reports-but you can drive an Austin a long way on a little bit of gas, and paint isn’t too expensive, and the roadside sandwiches you get on overnight trips don’t cost much. Since he came to Miami four years ago, Mr. Laessle and his ‘painting wagon’ have hit a lot of Florida high spots with the ‘first prize’ results mentioned…Mr. Laessle is a painter who likes to do his work on the spot, to apply the hot off the griddle technique to his landscapes. He paints still lifes in his studio at 6142 S.W. 42nd St., yes and an occasional portrait is undertaken there. But when you paint scenes flooded with Florida sunshine, you need to be out in the sunlight to get the proper affect, this traveling artist believes…So far, the principal painting areas have been the Keys and the region about Marco Island, ‘though up Palm Beach way’ has also provided some subject material.”
Nellie Bower, art critic for the Miami Daily News (June 15, 1952) describes Laessle, “His work in portraiture, highly finished with close attention to fine paint technique, differs entirely from his loosely expressed watercolors which in color, are brilliant and sunny, whereas his oils, portraits and still-life, reach a high mark in quality, are subdued in tone and low in key…at the Terry Art Institute, students find him a patient, understanding and through instructor.”
Laessle continued at the Terry Art Institute through 1956. He is listed as a Miami artist in the 1963 edition of Who’s Who in the South and Southwest. There is no evidence he continued to paint or exhibit after 1963. Laessle left Miami for Lutz, a small town just north of Tampa, where he died in 1988.
Paul Laessle, Miami. Madame Albertine de Bempt Laessle, lived in Miami with her husband sculptor Albert Laessle and her stepson, artist Paul Laessle. Oil on board, 20 by 24 inches. Signed upper right, P. LAESSLE.
Born: December 21, 1908, Germantown, Pennsylvania. Died: February 8,1988, Manatee County, Florida. Education: Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, 1935, Cresson traveling scholarship; The Barnes Foundation: Pennsylvania Museum, School of Industrial Arts; Cresson Traveling Scholarship in Europe; Brooklyn Museum. Membership: Palm Beach Art League; Blue Dome Fellowship, president, 1950; Florida Federation of Art; Miami Artist Association, 1954; American Artists Professional League; Miami Artists Association; Florida Artist Group. Exhibits: Tower Studios, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, December 1935, watercolors; Pennsylvania State Museum as member of Federal Art Project, April 1939, watercolors, Banana Wagon, Early Spring; New York World’s Fair, 1940; Pennsylvania WPA exhibit, Silkman House Branch Library, February 1940, Up Manayunk Way; Pennsylvania WPA, March 1940, Back Street; Pennsylvania WPA, at Pennsylvania State College, November 1940, watercolor, Here Lies; Philadelphia School of Industrial Art, December 1940, one man show, oils, watercolors, drawings including two carborundum prints, Independence Square Night and South Ninth; Blue Dome Fellowship, February 1947, 1st exhibit after World War II, in cooperation with Miami Art League, Miami Woman’s Club, Burdine’s Department Store; Blue Dome Fellowship annual, Miami Beach Art Center, December 1947-January 1948, Manayunk, Pennsylvania; Blue Dome Fellowship, at Housekeeper’s Clubhouse, 2985 Bayshore Drive, January-February 1948; Blue Dome Fellowship, 1947-48 1st prize, watercolors; Miami Beach Art Center, February 1948, Stevedores, Phoenix Iron Works, Sand Barge, Delaware Ave.- Philadelphia; Coral Gables Woman’s Club, 1948, 1st prize portraits; Miami Art League, Miami Beach Art Center, November 1948, 1st, best overall painting, Miss June D.; Blue Dome Fellowship, Annual, Miami Beach Art Center, January-February 1949, best portrait study, Portrait of Albert Laessle, N.A., honorable mention, Studio Table; Miami Woman’s Club 21st Annual, Bayshore Drive, February 1949, best still life for Chester County Still Life; Miami Art League at Miami Beach Art Center, November 1949, best still life, Chester County Still Life; American Artists Professional League, award 1949; YMHA Miami Beach, November 1949, Doorway; Miami Art League, Annual, Miami Beach Art Center, November 1949, Mangoes, Self Portrait; Housekeeper‘s Club annual exhibit, Coconut Grove, January 1950, oil still life, Crown of Thorns and a watercolor; Coco Plum Woman’s Club, South Miami, 1st exhibit of year, January 1950; Miami Boat Show, 4th Annual, Dinner Key, February 1950, Red Deck, watercolor, Coconut Grove; Palm Beach Art League, 32nd Annual Members’ Exhibition, March 1950, oil, Artist and Model; Blue Dome Fellowship at Miami Beach Art Center, April 1950, still life, Tropical Fruit and first prize in oil for Madame de Bempt; Miami Beach YMHA, April 1950, first prize, Madame de Bempt; Dade County Coconut Harvest Festival, Crandon Park, May 1950, 225 paintings on exhibit; Florida Federation of Art, Gainesville, November 1950, special award in portrait, Self Portrait, one of twenty-five painting chosen for annual exhibit; Blue Dome Fellowship, Annual, Miami Beach Art Center, March 1951; Poinciana Art Exhibition, Burdine’s Auditorium, June 2-9, 1951; Miami Art League Annual, November 1951, Miami Beach Art Center, best still life, Contrast and Pensive; Society of The Four Arts, 14th Annual Members Exhibit, December 1951-January 1952; Palm Beach Art League, 34th Annual Members’ Exhibit, March 1952, Contrast; Blue Dome Fellowship at Miami Beach Art Center, April 1952, honorable mention in still life, Antique Corner; Metropolitan Miami Flower Show, Miami Beach Auditorium, art exhibit organized by Myrtle Taylor Bradford, Allee Gerard, Ethel Schlamp, and Phyllis Larimore, March 1952, Dianthus Pinks; Blue Dome Fellowship, Annual Exhibition, Miami Beach Art Center, April 1952, honorable mention, still life, Antique Corner, Portrait of My Father; Roney Plaza Hotel, Miami Beach, November 1952, Girl with Fruit; Terry Art Institute, Art Instructors Exhibit, 2323 S.W. 27th Avenue, January 1953, watercolor and carborundum etching, Independence Hall; Miami Woman’s Club annual, February 1953, Portrait of My Father; Blue Dome Fellowship, Miami Beach Art Center, March 1953, Tangerines; Blue Dome Fellowship Exhibit, Lowe Gallery, University of Miami, October 1953, Fourth and Pine Streets; American Artists Professional League, Miami Chapter, at Washington Art Galleries, November 1953, Tangerines; Miami Art League, Annual, Miami Beach Art Center, January 1954, best portrait, Lois; Sea Isle Gallery of Contemporary Art, January 1954, My Father, Portrait of Mme. de Bempt, Mangoes; Blue Dome Fellowship, Annual, Miami Beach Art Center, March 1954, Home Sweet Home; Florida Artist Group, 6th Annual Circuit, Palm Beach Art League, April 1955, Madame de Bempt; Miami Watercolor Society at Lowe Gallery, September 1956, Grays Ferry; Miami Artists Association, at El Centro room, McAllister Hotel, March 1958, The Green Apple; Sun Art Theater, May 1958, watercolors; Miami Artists Association, Lowe Gallery, University of Miami, June 1958; The Village Corner Gallery, Coral Gables, Art as You Like It, group show, November 1958; Blue Dome Fellowship at El Centro Gallery in McAllister Hotel, August 1960. Directory: Listed in the Miami City Directory in 1947 as portrait artist with studio located at 330 North 30th St., South Miami and in 1954 as commercial artist with studio at 6142 SW 42nd Street, South Miami.