June 1, 1956: Artist Blanche Lazelle Dies at 77
Artist Blanche Lazzell died on June 1, 1956, at age 77. She was born in Maidsville in Monongalia County in 1878. After receiving a diploma from the West Virginia Conference Seminary and an art degree from West Virginia University, she moved to New York City and studied with influential artists Kenyon Cox and William Merritt Smith. A remarkably independent woman for the time, Lazzell traveled twice to Paris, where she became enthralled with the avant-garde Cubism movement.
Blanche Lazell eventually settled in Provincetown, Massachusetts. She helped found the Provincetown Printers artists’ colony, which popularized single block color prints. During the Great Depression, the Works Progress Administration commissioned her to create color wood-block prints of scenes in and around Morgantown and a mural for the courthouse titled ‘‘Justice over Monongalia County.’
Lazzell showed her art in many prestigious exhibitions. And today, her work is in major museums and galleries, including the Smithsonian Institution, and in the collections of West Virginia Wesleyan College, WVU, and the West Virginia State Archives. She’s recognized as one of West Virginia’s most notable artists and one of America’s leading abstract painters and print makers.