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Ellen Lanyon papers, circa 1880-2014, bulk 1926-2013

Biographical Note

Ellen Lanyon (1926-2013) was an American painter and printmaker working in Chicago and New York. She was born in Chicago, Illinois to Howard and Ellen (Nellie) Lanyon. Lanyon received her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1948 and married classmate and artist Roland Ginzel that same year. In 1950, she received her MFA from the University of Iowa. As part of her post graduate work, Lanyon studied at the Courtauld Institute, University of London on a Fulbright Fellowship.
In the late 1940s, Lanyon began exhibiting her work and was featured in several Chicago and Vicinity Annual shows as well as the Momentum exhibitions. Influenced by surrealism, magic realism, and the work of the Chicago Imagists and the Hairy Who, Lanyon's subjects range from portraits of friends and family, to objects from her collection of curios, to flora and fauna. She produced paintings, drawings, print editions, artist's books, and some ceramics. In addition to her own artwork, Lanyon took on numerous commissions including the Riverwalk Gateway murals in Chicago, the Hiawatha Transit murals in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and a variety of illustration work.
Lanyon was active in many professional organizations and women's organizations including the College Art Association (CAA) and the Women's Caucus for Art. She organized panels at CAA, contributed writings and editing to journals, including Heresies, and served on a variety of panels and juries. Lanyon was also on the Board of the Ox-Bow Summer School of Painting, which she attended in her youth. Over the course of her career, she taught at many colleges and universities, including Cooper Union, where she was Associate Professor.
Throughout her career, Lanyon participated in exhibitions around the country, including a retrospective of her work at the National Museum for Women in the Arts in 1999. She was also the recipient of many awards and grants including the Logan Price and a National Endowment for the Arts grant.
Lanyon and Ginzel had two children, Andrew and Lisa Ginzel.