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DONALD "DON" STOLTENBERG

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DONALD "DON" STOLTENBERG Obituary
STOLTENBERG, Donald "Don" 88, artist, died peacefully in his Cape Cod home on March 26th. Services will be held at a later date. He was born in Milwaukee to Leora Belitz Stoltenberg and Hugo A. Stoltenberg. Leora was lost upon the birth leaving Don an only child. Don served in the Merchant Marine at the close of World War II. Following the war, Don earned a Bachelor of Science in Visual Design from Chicago's Illinois Institute of Technology, where Bauhaus principles guided the curriculum and deeply influenced his Art. Don moved to Boston, first working in a Beacon Hill apartment, until establishing a studio residence at Commercial Wharf. Boston's Museum of Fine Arts (MFA), early to recognize Stoltenberg's unique style, acquired his "Third Avenue" oil from the Margaret Brown Gallery in 1956 for the then healthy sum of $450. This study of New York's EL is emblematic of Don's focus on man-made structures through a combination of sharp and abstract features anchored by shafts of atmospheric illumination. In addition to his oil and watercolor work, Stoltenberg pioneered the printmaking technique known as Collagraphy where the textural image is built up on a plate from which editions are printed using a press. He taught printmaking at the DeCordova Museum School, Lincoln, Massachusetts, and authored two books: Collagraph Printmaking; and the Artist and the Built Environment. Stoltenberg's prolific work is in hundreds of private collections, has been commissioned by corporate clients such as State Street Bank, and the Massachusetts Port Authority, and is held in many permanent public collections including Harvard University, Boston Public Library, MIT Sloan School of Management, Frye Art Museum of Seattle, Addison Gallery of American Art, Portland Museum of Art, New Britain Museum of American Art, Cape Cod Museum of Art, and Boston's MFA. His work was exhibited by many prestigious museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Art Institute of Chicago, Boston Institute of Contemporary Art, Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., Boston Athenaeum, and the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts. In 2012, Cape Cod Museum of Art featured Don's work in a special exhibit entitled "Retrospective, Donald Stoltenberg." He received countless awards including Boston Arts Festival Grand Prize, New England Watercolor Society First Prize, and the National Historic Park Purchase Award. Stoltenberg was a Fellow of the American Society of Marine Artists, life member of Boston Athenaeum, and a visiting critic for the Rhode Island School of Design. His primary subjects were bridges, buildings, sailing ships, steamships, and ocean liners. Don was fascinated by ships since childhood and built many models. He developed a fondness for passenger liners after a transatlantic crossing on Franconia in 1956. Sale of his "Third Avenue" oil made this voyage possible. Ocean liners became a focus of his latter work some of which has been acquired by the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company, and the Cunard Line. His maritime subjects are highly sought after by ship aficionados and were sold by Mystic Seaport as well as other galleries throughout New England. Don regularly donated works to raise funds for public television station WGBH. He was predeceased in life by his partner of sixty years, Kenneth A. Swallow. Don's legacy is a prolific body of work in his quasi-cubist style--instantly and forever recognizable as a "STOLTENBERG."
Published in The Boston Globe on Mar. 28, 2016
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