Emil Ganso (1895–1941) was born in Halberstadt, Germany and came over to the United States in 1912. While he seems to have paid his way across being a dishwasher, once in the States he supported himself as a baker and doing other odd jobs. Starting in 1914 he took art classes at the National Academy of Design and started exhibiting as an independent artist in 1921. By 1925 the Weyhe Gallery represented him, which gave him the funds necessary to become a professional artist. Spending a summer in Woodstock in 1926 led him to settle there permanently one year later. The thriving local art community, which included the likes of Leon Kroll and George Bellows, suited him. Ganso traveled extensively in Europe, but also welcomed artist to visit him, such as Jules Pascin who shared a studio with him for a couple of years. As his renown spread Ganso was given teaching opportunities, first at Lawrence College in Appleton Wisconsin (today called Lawrence University), then at the State University of Iowa, where he died of a heart attack in 1941, leaving behind a wife and daughter. Ganso was both a prolific painter and printmaker. His oeuvre is diverse, depicting towns and cities, scenic landscapes and still lives as well. However, he is unequivocally known primarily for his predilection to female nudes. While some are chaste, the overwhelming majority are sensual and at times even sexual. Women in Ganso’s oeuvre give the impression of spending all day naked: in bed mostly, or reading, standing, reclining. Many of his prints, etchings, wood engravings, and woodcuts alike, depict women exposing their broad hips, generous chests, and most often their ample bottoms.
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