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Otto Stauffenberg

German Muralist

 


Art Center, Interior (1966) by Otto Stauffenberg. Kalamazoo Institute of Arts Collection

The artist Otto Stauffenberg originally hailed from Hamburg, Germany, but spent much of his adult life in Kalamazoo before passing away in 1977. He arrived in Chicago in 1925 before relocating to Kalamazoo four years later after he was hired to hand paint the vaulted ceiling mural of the American National Bank Building as it was being constructed. The project took “600 hours” to complete. The Great Depression likely contributed to his decision to remain in Kalamazoo, where he later opened an interior design business at 419 S. Burdick Street. His second major commission came when he was tasked with designing and painting the City Commission chambers and municipal courtroom in 1931. He retired from the interior design business in 1964, and focused primarily on his love of painting on canvas, for which he won numerous awards. He exhibited his works throughout the community, including at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, Y.W.C.A., the Clothesline Art Show, the Civic Auditorium, Kalamazoo County Fair, and the Kalamazoo Area Show. His second wife Bertha, an artist who co-exhibited with her husband, also served as a librarian at the KIA.

Stauffenberg’s ceiling mural City Hall Commissioner Chambers. Photo Ryan Gage, 2024

 

 

Written by Ryan Gage, Kalamazoo Public Library staff, June 2024

Sources

Books

Kalamazoo: Lost & Found
Kalamazoo: Kalamazoo Historic Preservation Commission, 2001
Houghton, Lynn Smith and O’Connor, Pamela Hall
H 720.9774 H838


Articles

“Exhibits by Stauffenbergs”
Kalamazoo Gazette, 28 July 1968, page 43, column 1

“Otto Stauffenberg, artist, dies at 88”
Kalamazoo Gazette, 27 October 1977, page C10, column 1


Local History Room Files

Name File: Stauffenberg, Otto

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