Milton Wolsky

1916, Omaha, Nebraska – 1981, Omaha, Nebraska

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Born in Omaha, Nebraska in 1916, Milton Laban Wolsky graduated from the University of Omaha (now University of Nebraska at Omaha), where he studied art during the depression years and portraiture with Omaha artist J. Laurie Wallace. He continued his studies at two prestigious art schools – The Art Institute of Chicago and The Art Students League in New York City where his teachers included Julian Levi and Hans Hoffmann.

During his time in the U. S. Army during World War II, his art training was utilized by the government when he and other illustrators depicted the rebuilding of Japan through pictorial representations.

Wolsky lived in New York from 1946 until 1954, making his living through illustration and commercial art. He became a nationally recognized illustrator, working with many book publishers and periodicals including Woman’s Home Companion, Collier’s, McCall’s, em>Redbook, Esquire, Time, The American Weekly, Good Housekeeping, and Life.

Despite his success in commercial art, his true love remained painting. When the J. Laurie Wallace studio-home, where his former teacher lived and worked, came up for sale in Omaha in 1954, Wolsky purchased it sight unseen and returned to Nebraska. He continued his livelihood through commercial art while perfecting his fine art style as time allowed. He worked in both the realistic and abstract styles. He also experimented with stone, metal, and jewelry, although always returning to oil painting. As a collector, he had an interest in all forms of modernist works.

He was a member of the Society of Illustrators, American Watercolor Society, and a fellow of the International Institute of Arts and Letters. He was listed in Who’s Who in American Art from 1956 until his death in 1981.

Wolsky exhibited his works at various museums including Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha; Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Colorado; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota; and the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Despite this recognition, he personally did little, if anything, to promote his own art. Consequently, he realized little monetary gain from his works, instead painting solely for the love of art. Wolsky died of cancer in 1981 in his hometown of Omaha.

The Museum of Nebraska Art holds 7 works by Milton Wolsky.

Revised, 2013

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"Pruzzo" Chilean Grapes by Milton Wolsky, 1978 1978.20_900