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William C Grauer


Thomas French Fine Art holds the largest inventory of work by William C. Grauer, including drawings, watercolors, and oil paintings.


William C. Grauer (1895-1985) was born in Philadelphia to German immigrant parents. After attending the Philadelphia Museum School of Industrial Art, Grauer received a four year scholarship from the City of Philadelphia to pursue post graduate work. It was during this time that Grauer began working as a designer at the Decorative Stained Glass Co. in Philadelphia.


Following his World War I service in France, Grauer moved to Akron, Ohio where he opened a studio in 1919 with his future brother-in-law, the architect George Evans Mitchell. Soon, the Rorimer-Brooks design company, the developer Van Swerngen brothers, as well as the Sterling Welch and Halle Bros. department stores realized the extent of Grauer's talent and eagerly employed him. Grauer’s work during this time included architectural renderings for Shaker Square, Moreland Courts, and other many other projects commissioned by Cleveland architects. Grauer also remained true to his roots as a master designer of stained glass windows. With his work in such high demand, Grauer received a commission in 1921 to paint murals for the French Grill Room of the Kansas City Club. Later, he also worked on the Cleveland Builders Exchange in 1928.


In the 1920s, Grauer had a studio in the Old Fine Arts Building in Cleveland, where he met his future wife, Natalie Eynon Grauer, whom he married in 1924. After creating murals for the Greenbrier Hotel in White Sulfur Springs, West Virginia in 1932, together Grauer and his wife founded and co-directed the successful Old White Art Colony, School and Gallery, which they continued to frequent during the summer months in the 1930s and 1940s. Grauer’s involvement in West Virginia also included his West Virginia murals for the West Virginia exhibitions at the 1933 Century of Progress Exhibition in Chicago and the 1939 World’s Fair in New York City.


Back in Ohio, Grauer became affiliated with Cleveland College, one of the component colleges of Western Reserve University, which later became Case Western Reserve University. According to Jill Tatem, assistant university archivist with Case Western Reserve University, Grauer was a lecturer in art at Cleveland College from 1934 to 1948, associate professor of art from 1948 to 1966, and then an associate professor emeritus. Following the death of his wife in 1955, he married another Cleveland College art instructor, Dorothy Turobinski, in 1964.  After Grauer retired from Western Reserve University in 1966, he continued to paint and teach privately until his death in 1985 at age 89.


Grauer's work is in the collections of numerous museums including The Cleveland Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C.

For more information about William C. Grauer, visit the artist's page.