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William Kienbusch papers, 1915-2001, bulk 1936-1980

Biographical Note

William Kienbusch (1914-1980) was a painter and art instructor in New York, NY, and Cranberry Island, Maine.
Kienbusch was born in New York City and attended boarding school at Hotchkiss Preparatory school, where he was taught painting by Robert Osborn. During the summers of 1934 and 1935, while attending Princeton University, he studied watercolor with Eliot O'Hara at Goose Rocks Beach, Maine. After graduating from Princeton in 1936, he attended the Art Students League, studied with Henry Varnum Poor at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, and spent a year in Paris, studying at the Academie Colarossi. During this time he also had the opportunity to travel throughout Europe before the outbreak of World War II. He returned to New York City in the winter of 1938 and settled in Greenwich Village, at one point living above artist Stuart Davis.
Kienbusch spent the summers of 1940 and 1941 in Stonington, Maine. Here he found his true identity as an abstract expressionist landscape painter. During World War II he served in the Army, teaching camouflage design and making maps in Guam. When he returned to New York in 1946, he began painting in casein rather than oils or watercolor. In 1947 he joined Kraushaar Galleries, which would continue to be his dealer for the remainder of his career. From 1948 to 1969 he taught at the Brooklyn Museum of Art School and spent summers in Maine. Kienbusch lost much of his artwork and personal papers in a 1969 fire at his New York studio apartment. His work is included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art among many others. After several years of poor health, Kienbusch died in 1980.