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Karl Zerbe papers, 1928-1996

Biographical Note

Karl Zerbe (1903-1972) was a German American expressionist painter and art educator in Boston, Massachusetts and Tallahassee, Florida.
Born in Berlin, Zerbe split his childhood between France and Germany until 1920 when he began working in an architect's office. At that time, Zerbe began studying at the Debschitz Art School in Munich, and then at the Munich Academy of Art. In 1922, Zerbe had his first one-man show at the Gurlitt Gallery in Berlin. With assistance from the city of Munich, he then studied in Italy for three years. During this time, he consistently displayed his work in group and solo exhibitions throughout Europe. His art was first shown in the United States at the Golz Gallery in New York in 1933, and Zerbe moved to Boston not long after. He worked for seventeen years in Boston including time as head of the Department of Painting in the Boston Museum School. After Boston, Zerbe, along with his wife, Marion, and daughter, Maria, moved to Florida where he took the position of head of the Department of Painting at Florida State University at Tallahassee.
Zerbe received honors for his life-long dedication and contribution to art by the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, Carnegie Institute, the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, Tallahassee Area Chamber of Commerce, and the state of Florida.