Louis Grell Foundation

"Showcasing the Legacy of Artist Louis Frederick Grell"

Barry Birnbaum donation

Category : News · No Comments February 3, 2015

February 2, 2015

The Louis Grell Foundation is pleased to announce a significant donation by Chicago resident Barry Birnbaum.  Mr. Birnbaum worked as a photo retoucher for Romano Studio, a photo retouching studio on Ohio Street across the street from Tree Studio. Mr. Birnbaum was good friends with Jim Romano for well over 30 years. 

Jim Romano owned Romano Studio and he also partnered with Tree Studio resident and artist Macena Barton in 1975 after her husband Robert McNeilan passed away. Together Jim and Macena owned and operated Tree Studio Gallery which housed many of Louis Grells paintings.  After Miss Barton passed away, Mr. Romano operated the art gallery in Tree Studios until about 2000 when most residents were moved out.

THANK YOU Mr. Birnbaum

Birnbaum Fredericka gown 600 dpi crop

Birnbaum Indian Lady tropical scene

Birnbaum white chalk jesus wropped Daprato Job #6139 a

Chicago WTTW, Tuesday @ 7 PM, Chicago Tonight

Category : Events, News · No Comments January 25, 2015

WTTW Chicago Tonight Louis Grell Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 9.48.49 PM

The Chicago PBS affiliate, channel 11, is running a segment on Louis and his mural work inside the Chicago Theatre.  It will air Tuesday, January 27th begining at 7 PM during the Chicago Tonight program and will be available Wednesday on their website.


Thank You Marc Vitali, WTTW Producer for putting the segment together.  Also, we would like to thank Dr. Wendy Greenhouse, Javier Ayala from the Chicago Theatre and Madison Square Garden.  Additionally, a special thanks to Richard Fosbrink and the Theatre Historical Society of America for contributions.

Portrait of Anita Kaetzke 1944

Category : News · No Comments November 16, 2014

Portrait of Anita Kaetzke 1944, commissioned by the sitter’s father, a personal friend of Grell’s.  This painting is held in a private collection in Eckernförde, Germany which is 123 km north of Hamburg in the very northern coastal region of Germany near the Danish boarder.  The painting was conserved by a renowned munich conservator, Volker Stoye in 1991.  Many years after it’s1944 Louis Grell Anita 2 commission, Anita transported the painting to Germany where she had it reframed and is now hanging on the wall of the home of the current owner, a close friend of Anita’s.

UPDATE – Since the publication of this painting on our foundation’s website, Anita’s son contacted us and we have put the owner of the painting and Anita’s son in contact with one another.  Both live in northern Germany and once new each other a long time ago.  Anita’s son told us she passed away 14 years ago.  We hope to learn more about this amazing connection made possible through the far reaching prominence of Louis Grell’s career and long lasting relationships that he made over his 55 year professional painting career.

oil on canvas, signed LOUIS GRELL 1944 in red lower left, 79 cm x 71 cm

information and photos courtesy of current owner

Information and photos courtesy of current owner.  Links and family data on the Liebmann’s courtesy of their grandson Dr. Paul Kaetzke

For more information on Harold and Lola please visit  -  http://www.roosvt.com/Liebmann.html

To see a video of Lola and Harold performing one of their famous dance scenes please watch this youtube video.  Their performance begins at about 2:00 minutes into the video  -https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=snpQpKblrzc

Harold and Lola were friends of many of the artists at Tree Studios in Chicago.


Fond du Lac Wisconsin article

Category : News · No Comments October 25, 2014

Carlos Munoz wrote a wonderful article on discoveries of possible Louis Grell murals in the now torn down Retlaw Theatre which opened on December 26, 1925 in Fond du Lac Wisconsin.  We believe the murals and the interior of the theatre were decorated and designed by Louis Grell for Chicago based Rapp & Rapp Architects.



Please click the link above to read the article.  THANK YOU CARLOS,FDL ArticleScreen Shot 2014-10-25 at 3.37.53 PM   WONDERFUL ARTICLE

Pittsburgh Post-Gassett article

Category : News · No Comments October 24, 2014

October 23, 2014 – Pittsburgh Post-Gasset article on murals, Louis Grell and his work inside the Palace Theatre from 1926 is featured.  A wonderful article by the paper’s art critic, Mary Thomas.  Please see link below…Pittsburgh Post-Gassett Grell muralsScreen Shot 2014-10-24 at 12.25.23 AM


Mrs. Thomas plans a follow up article specifically on Louis Grell and our foundations work to preserve his place in American mural history

Magazine coverage

Category : News · No Comments September 14, 2014

Here are some links to recent coverage of the Marquee magazine publication by the Theatre Historical Society of America….What a wonderful story



MARQUEE magazine Q-3 2014 Theatre Historical Society of America

Category : News · No Comments August 5, 2014

MARQUEE magazine is HERE!  The Third Quarter issue of the Theatre Historical Society of America’s theatre magazine is dedicated to Louis Grell and his Theatre mural work across America.

Visit   http://www.historictheatres.org/product/2014-marquee-vol-46-3/    to purchase your copy today for $5!

Marquee Q3 2014 Louis Grell cover small


Category : News · No Comments June 15, 2014

It is recounted that Zeus held a banquet in celebration of the marriage of Peleus and Thetis (parents of Achilles). However, Eris, goddess of discord was not invited, for she would…

Grell on Nebraska Public TV

Category : Events, News · No Comments May 18, 2014

It is official, the University of Nebraska Omaha (UNO) produced video Discovering Louis Grell: vision & versatility will be aired on Nebraska Public Television NET2 World and streaming on their website.

Channel NET 2 Air dates:

Thursday June 19 at 8:30 PM, Sunday June 22 at 2:30 PM, Thursday June 26, 6:30 PM and Sunday June 29 at 12:30 PM.  Check you local listings for channel NET2.

If you live in Nebraska or Eastern Colorado you can watch it live on your TV, otherwise the video will be accessible On Demand at    http://netnebraska.org/basic-page/television/live-demand   Click the “On Demand” tab.

Please enjoy the documentary.  Producer and director B. J. Huchtemann from UNO TV has put a great deal of time into making this happen.  Thank you, BJ.

New Grell Discoveries

Category : News · No Comments May 12, 2014

Several new discoveries of Grell’s former handiwork have emerged in recent weeks primarily due to the St. Louis Union Station mural articles and the Chicago Tribune article regarding the Theatre Historical Society of America opening its new research center in Elmhurst, IL.   In addition to Birth of Electricity featured on our home page and in this news section, many others have surfaced.

During a recently completed $66 million renovation at Union Station in St. Louis, a large mural from 1942 was discovered by construction workers titled Commerce on the Landing reported in roughly 30 papers from St. Louis to San Fransico, New York and Washington DC.  After 30 years in hiding, the mural was discovered walled-in a storage closet in the basement of the large train station.  It is being conserved in St. Louis and plans are to hang it high above a ticket counter in the Grand Hall of the famed station replicating its former glory above the train ticket counter where 100,000 passengers saw it daily during the height of the war.  Simply Google “St. Louis Union Station mural” to read many of the articles that are still active.  Most St. Louis news agencies featured the story and it was covered on at least two nightly TV news broadcasts where it was then picked up nationally by; the New York Post featured the video of the discovery, The Washington Times ran the entire article, the San Francisco Gate featured the story as did most major cities across Missouri.  Others in Indiana and Illinois covered the story.

In Southern Illinois, the widow of a former student of Grell’s contacted us regarding a large oil that she and her husband acquired back in the late 1970′s from the Romano Gallery at Tree Studios.  Apparently, former Illinois Governor James “Big Jim” Thompson made a significant offer for the large painting, however, the former student wanted it more.  The painting titled Judgement of Paris, pictured below, is part of a series of ten different mythological scenes painted by Grell over his lifetime and is from 1937.  Thanks to the current owner, we have learned that our Neptune (1956) is part of the same series and may be number ten.  Apparently, in the late 1970′s all ten were on display in Romano’s gallery after the artist passed in 1960 and his wife Friedl moved out of Tree Studios in 1968.Garden of Eden 2

On a larger scale, another new mural discovery has come to our attention.  Located somewhere in the midwest hangs, in a large palatial home, a mural titled The Great Wonder Carnival.  Grell not only painted the Wonder Ballroom of America, the Aragon Ballroom (1926) in Chicago and the Wonder Theatre of America, the Chicago Theatre (1921), he apparently also painted the Wonder Carnival of America.  This work is strikingly similar to Grell’s later work and is oil on canvas and measures approximately seven feet by twelve feet.