The Old Print Shop

Emil Ganso


Emil Ganso was born in Halberstadt, Germany and immigrated came to the United States as a young man.  He supported himself as a bread baker and by 1914 was taking evening classes at the National Academy's School of Fine Arts.  In the mid 1920's he offered a group of his drawings to Erhard Weyhe of Weyhe Gallery, who purchased some of them.  Emil went back to his studies and job as a baker, until one day he was told Weyhe wanted to see him.  Initially afraid the gallery owner would ask for his money back, Ganso delayed. He eventually worked up the courage to go see him, only to find that Weyhe wanted to give him a show. When Ganso informed him he didn't have enough material for one, Weyhe gave him an advance on sales and told him to get to work. 

It was a major turning point in the young artist's life. The funds enabled Ganso to quit his baking job and focus on his artistic career. The exhibition at Weyhe Gallery turned out to be so successful, he began attending an artist's colony at Woodstock, New York, where he met acclaimed artists like George Ault, Doris lee, Alexander Brook, and George Bellows.  His reputation grew to a point where he was offered an artist-in-residence at the University of Iowa in 1940.

Ganso exhibited throughout his life in galleries and museums and his work can be found in many museum collections. He exhibited at both the 1939 New York World's Fair and the Golden Gate Exposition in San Francisco that same year. Ganso was awarded the Pennell Memorial Medal from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1938. As a result of the success of his art, Ganso was offered an artist-in-residence position in 1940 at the University of Iowa. It was there that he died in 1941. A retrospective exhibition for Emil Ganso was held at the University of Iowa Museum of Art both upon his death and in December 1979.