We remember faculty, staff, alumni, and friends of the Department of Art and Art History who have passed away.
Artist and UA art alumna Linda Rae Bell died at her home in Northport, Monday, June 20, 2017. Bell earned her MA in art history from The University of Alabama and she served on the staff in the Department of Art and Art History as slide curator in the 1990s, overseeing a collection of over 75,000 slides and other image resources. Bell received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from The University of Alabama. She was the first graduate from the new joint program in art history between UA and UAB in 1993. Her master’s thesis was titled “The Music Lesson in Seventeenth-Century Dutch Genre Painting.” Bell, who worked under the name “Elles Beles,” specialized in textile art. Much of her graceful, sensual art was created in fabric collage inspired by music and musicians, fairytales (traditional and her own), 1920s and ’30s fashion and other themes. Read more about Linda Bell.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Dr. Joseph Sullivan Bolt, who served for 36 years as a professor in the department of art within the College of Arts and Sciences at The University of Alabama, died Tuesday, July 9, 2002. He was 81. Bolt, a painter and art historian, was recognized for his extensive knowledge of 20th century art and as an award-winning teacher. In 1984, Bolt received the Outstanding Commitment to Teaching Award, given by UA’s National Alumni Association. The University’s obituary is here.
A well-known painter and long-time University of Alabama professor, Richard Brough died Sunday, December 22, 1996, at his home. He was 76. A native of Salmon, Idaho, Brough taught at The University of Alabama from 1948 until 1987. Throughout his 39 years at the university, he combined teaching with a successful career as a commercial artist. He was a talented watercolorist and maintained a private studio in Tuscaloosa until his death. Read his obituary here. (PDF)
Over four decades, photographer and Professor Gay Burke developed a distinguished art photography program in The University of Alabama’s Department of Art and Art History, all the while creating her own artwork. Burke died May 1, 2017. For the month of October, two exhibitions, of Burke’s work and the work of her students, will be on display in the Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center in downtown Tuscaloosa. A semi-retrospective exhibition, Gay Burke: The Mother of Alabama Art Photography, will be on display in The Arts Council Gallery. In addition, the Alabama State Council on the Arts is assisting with the curation and exhibition of Burke’s former students’ works which will be held in The University of Alabama Gallery.
Remembrances of the life of William Christenberry (BA 1958, MA 1959) in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the New Yorker, NPR and in AL.com by Sarah Moody Gallery of Art Director William Dooley, attest to the depth and breadth of his contributions to the art world, as well as to his cultural influence in the South. In 2009, Christenberry’s solo exhibition at the SMGA coincided with his 50th class reunion and his birthday, so Dean of Arts and Sciences Robert Olin and Lin Olin took Bill (also a Bama fan) and his wife Sandi Christenberry to the Alabama-LSU football game. Remembering his friend, Dean Olin said, “Bill loved Alabama with all its beauty and imperfections. He spent his life having his artwork reflect this love. He was a humble man who seemed amazed at how successful a Hale County man could become. He was a tremendous ambassador for the state and University.”— from The Loupe, Fall 2016
Bruce Alan Crowe
An alumnus and professor of painting at The University of Alabama for many years, Bruce Alan Crowe died June 22, 2008. He earned a BS in education in 1971, an MA in art education in 1972 and an MFA in painting in 1974 from UA, before going on to Mississippi State for his PhD in education. He taught art for fifteen years at UA before his seventeen-year stint at Shoals Community College in Russellville, Alabama. Among many awards and prizes for his artwork and teaching, Crowe was chosen Art Educator of the Year in 1991-92 and in 1995-96 by the Alabama Art Education Association. A student of his in the 1970s, Frances Tucker remembers Crowe as “conscientious and hardworking; yet he had a wonderful, quiet sense of humor. I was impressed by his dedication to teaching and his willingness to spend time helping students.” — from The Loupe Spring 2009
Frank Engle, 85, Professor Emeritus of Art, the University of Alabama, passed away on February 20, 2002, at DCH Regional Medical Center. Engle joined the art faculty at The University of Alabama in 1949 and taught at the University for 31 years. After his retirement, he continued to create at his farm in Tuscaloosa County and at his cottage on the Bon Secour River in Baldwin County, Alabama. Engle is included in the Encyclopedia of Alabama.
MFA alumnus and beloved Alabama artist Frank Fleming passed away in March of 2018. Fleming’s bronze and porcelain fantastical sculptures have been shown throughout the country, from the Smithsonian American Art Museum to the Alexander F. Milliken Gallery in New York. In Alabama, his sculptures can be seen at the University of North Alabama, the Birmingham Botanical Gardens, the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, and The University of Alabama, as well as numerous other venues. He is probably best known for his sculpture, The Storyteller, at Five Points South in Birmingham. In 2014, we interviewed him about how he got his start at a juried exhibition at the Birmingham Museum of Art in 1974. More about Frank Fleming’s life and art is at the Encyclopedia of Alabama.
Farley Moody Galbraith
A memorial gathering for Farley Moody Galbraith, 93, of Anniston, was held at 11 a.m. Thursday, January 29, 2013, at Anniston’s Grace Episcopal Church in the prayer garden with the Rev. Lee Shafer officiating. Mrs. Galbraith was married for 42 years to the late Wilfred Galbraith, who editor of the Anniston Star for 18 years. She was a graduate of Sweet Briar College and received her B.A. degree in History at the University of Alabama. She was a Chairman of the special gifts division with the Calhoun County United Way. Mrs. Galbraith was a member of the YMCA Broad of Directors and the International House for exchange students at Jacksonville State University. She was member of the Anniston Museum’s Special Exhibit Committee spending much of her time with the Children’s Hands-on division. She was a member of Friends of the Library. For many years she was member of the Society for the Fine Arts of life at the University of Alabama and sponsor of the Sarah McCorkle Moody Art Gallery. She was a member of the board of Directors Anniston Community Theatre. Survivors include her daughter, Farley Moody Galbraith; son, George Locke Galbraith; grandchildren, Locke Fulton Galbraith, and Frances Garber Galbraith; nine nieces and three nephews; and special companions, Essie Figures, Marjorie “Sally” Burnett and Emma Berry. Mrs. Galbraith is preceded in death by her husband, Wilfred Galbraith; sister, Sarah Sims Moody Huey; and brother, Frank McCorkle Moody.
Frank Gilson, who earned a BFA in art from The University of Alabama in the mid-1960s, died December 28, 2008, at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital after a brief illness. Fellow classmate Ron Yrabedra writes about Gilson: “We were students together in the ‘60s. He was so creative and intelligent that he baffled the professors. He served as a medic in Vietnam, traveled in the Mid East, and received an MFA from Florida State University in Islamic Art. He worked as an archaeological illustrator for the Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research for most of his career. He was also a beloved teacher of drawing and watercolor at LeMoyne Art Foundation in Tallahassee for many years.” — from The Loupe Spring 2009
Howard D. Goodson
Howard D. Goodson, 55, art teacher at the University of Alabama for 28 years and one of the state’s most well-known artists, died Friday [September 7, 1975] after a brief illness. A memorial service will be held today at 4 p.m at the Garland Hall Art Gallery. The Rev. Emmet Gribbin and Prof. Goodson’s son, Michael Goodson, will officiate. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made to the Art Department Scholarship Fund at the University. Prof. Goodson was known throughout the South for his painting. Additionally, his inventive stage and set designs have contributed to many dramatic productions in this community. Read more about Howard Goodson at The Tuscaloosa News Google News Archives site.
Angelo John “Jack” Granata
Angelo John “Jack” Granata, age 86, died March 10, 2009, at DCH Medical Center. Mr. Granata, professor emeritus of art, is survived by his wife Clara (Topsy) Granata, his daughter Diane Thompson Granata, his son Gary Granata, and his grandson Anthony (Beau) Thompson. His family was by his side when he passed away. Read alumni memories of Jack Granata.
Paul Raymond Jones
Noted art collector and a native of Bessemer, Ala., Paul R. Jones built one of the largest collections of 20th century African American art – now the Paul R. Jones Collection of American Art at The University of Alabama. He died Jan. 26, 2010, in Atlanta after a brief illness.
Sydney Rhodes Hauser
Sydney Rhodes Hauser (BFA 1967) died September 11, 2012, at her home in Sarasota, Florida. She was buried in Oak Hill Cemetery in Birmingham. According to her obituary in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Hauser was born in Birmingham and graduated from Shades Valley High School in 1963. She attended the University of West Alabama and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from The University of Alabama in 1967. She also graduated from the Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota. Hauser was the illustrator of the wildly popular bestseller, Proverbial Cat Calendar. She owned and managed a studio and retail shop, “The Tabby Cat,” in Sarasota for many years. Her illustrations may be seen on several book websites, including this one.
Theodore Klitzke, art history professor and head of the UA art department from 1959 to 1968, died January 10, 2008, in Baltimore, Maryland. Living in Alabama seemed to have enhanced Dr. Klitzke’s full and rewarding life as much as The University of Alabama was enriched by him. While he was here, he served on the board of the ACLU, and he marched with his wife and children from Selma to Montgomery in March of 1965. In The Freedom Quilting Bee, author Nancy Callahan writes that he befriended organizers of the Gee’s Bend quilters and in 1967 helped the artist Lee Krasner find her way down to Wilcox County to meet them. According to a former student, the KKK burned crosses in the front yard of his Pinehurst home three different times. Dr. Klitzke also contributed an essay to Emphasis ‘67, an SGA publication in which he discussed civil rights, women’s rights and the rights of college students. — from The Loupe, Spring 2008.
While still working on his master’s in painting, James McNutt (BFA 1966, MFA 1968) was employed by the Tuscaloosa County Board of Education as a Title I Elementary School Art Teacher. After graduation, he was drafted into the army and served as an art illustrator at the John F. Kennedy Institute for Military Service at Fort Bragg. With an honorable discharge in 1971, he returned to Tuscaloosa and taught art in the Tuscaloosa County School system at Matthews Elementary and at Brookwood High School. In 1973, McNutt joined the UA faculty with a joint appointment in the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Education. In 1978-79, he also worked as an art illustrator for Alabama Air National Guard at Donnelly Field, Montgomery (honorably discharged in 1979). He took a leave of absence from UA in the 1980s to attend Florida State University’s School of Visual Arts where he received the PhD in 1988 with a concentration in phenomenological aesthetics and a minor in historical research. He returned to the University in 1988 and continued to teach there until his retirement in 1996.
Throughout his career, McNutt was deeply interested in the history of arts and crafts in Alabama and shared his knowledge through teaching and demonstrations. Among the founding members of Kentuck Art Center, he served on its board in the 1970s, and actively participated in the early festivals, especially demonstrating early Alabama settlers’ use of natural dyes made from native roots, barks and flowers. During his association with Kentuck, McNutt began to collect folk pottery, painting and sculpture by then unknown artists such as Fred Webster, Jimmy Lee Sudduth, Mr. Perkins and Jerry Brown – all now considered icons of this state’s folk art tradition. — from The Loupe, Fall 2016
Melanie Renee Tyler Owen
Melanie Renee Tyler Owen, 38, of Cleveland, Mississippi, and graduate student in sculpture at The University of Alabama, was killed in an automobile accident October 31, 2008. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations to a memorial art scholarship in her memory be sent to the Delta State University art department, P.O. Box 3141, Cleveland, MS, 38733. — from The Loupe Spring 2009
Alvin C. Sella
Professor Emeritus Alvin “Al” Sella, acclaimed artist and long-time faculty member in the department of art and art history at The University of Alabama, died April 8, 2013, at Hospice of West Alabama. He was 93. Sella retired from UA’s department of art and art history in 1996 after a distinguished 35-year career. He continued to teach, by popular demand, until 2010. Known by many as a consummate educator and accomplished artist, Sella influenced thousands of students during his life. Read more about Al Sella.
Morgan Sigler was a UA art major, class of 2012, who lost her life in the tornado of April 27, 2011, after it hit the house in which she was taking shelter with friends. In honor of Sigler, a special reception was held at the Walnut Gallery in Gadsden, owned by Mario Gallardo (MFA 2002), where her work, along with other work by UA art students, was on exhibit at the time of the tornado. She received her degree from The University of Alabama posthumously. Reprinted from The Loupe, Summer 2011.
Brian David Standifer
Brian David Standifer died May 28, 2010, after a brief illness. Dave Standifer earned a BFA degree in graphic design and an MA degree in photography under Professor Gay Burke. Read more about Dave Standifer.
Elizabeth Mitchell Walter
Dr. Elizabeth C. “Betty” Mitchell Walter (MA 1969) died January 1, 2019. Walter was known as an artist, art educator, academic, administrator and author and served as professor and department chair for more than two decades at the University of North Alabama. But one of her most consequential roles was one that is least known: her contributions to civil rights work in Alabama in the 1960s and ‘70s. Read more about Dr. Walter here.
Elizabeth Keyser Wilson
Elizabeth Keyser Wilson (MFA 1978) created work in painting, drawing, collage, and photography while teaching all of those media at Stillman College for three decades. Her art was selected for several national and regional juried exhibitions and prizes, including Ephemera at Northwest Missouri State University and Alabama’s Finest, an exhibition featuring artists with an Alabama connection. Her graphite drawing, The Laugh, won the Purchase Prize in the Border to Border National Drawing Competition at Austin Peay State University in 2003. She was the first recipient of the Purchase Award in the West Alabama Juried Art Show in 1985 (as well as in 2002 and 2010). A friend to many in the department, she contributed photos of her fellow graduate students from the 1970s and noted the influence of her photography professor Gay Burke. At Stillman, she received the Joseph A. Gore Faculty Merit Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2009. Her student, Kardarius Haku Rhinehart, dedicated his 2016 senior BA exhibition to her memory. “Ms. Wilson was a free spirit and it shows in her work. She taught me how to work intuitively. When I look at my work I see her influence. If she could see my exhibition I know she would be proud.” — from The Loupe, Fall 2016
Ron Yrabedra, who earned two degrees in art from UA and worked as a popular artist and a professor of art at Florida A&M University, died February 18, 2022, at his home in Tallahassee, Florida. Read more about his life and career.
Alabama artist and retired University of Alabama professor Richard Zoellner, whose widely-collected paintings and sculpture-like prints were known for their energy and vibrant application of color and pattern, died Thursday, March 6  at the age of 94. Zoellner served for 33 years on the department of art faculty in UA’s College of Arts and Sciences. His retirement from UA in 1978, at the age of 70, launched a period of renewed creativity in which he received extensive recognition as a highly productive painter of elegantly crafted lithographs and canvasses. He worked daily in his studio and continued to exhibit his work until his death.
Please send news to Rachel Dobson, communications specialist, UA Department of Art and Art History, Box 870270, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487 or email us.