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Highlights Archives

'Mary Nohl: A Lifetime in Art'


Mary Nohl at the kiln

Milwaukee-born artist Mary Nohl didn't just make art, she lived it. A prolific and fanciful artist who worked in a variety of media, Nohl was both a mysterious figure and an iconic "outsider" artist who made her home on the shores of Lake Michigan. A new book for young readers by Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 'Mary Nohl: A Lifetime in Art,' tells the life story of the whimsical artist.

Creating an Artistic Legacy

The cover of "Mary Nohl: A Lifetime in Art"
This new book in the Badger Biographies series follows Nohl's life and artistic development. Authors Barbara Manger and Janine Smith explain how, and why, Nohl often created her art from found objects that other people might think of as junk. And they take readers through an artistic journey of her legendary home, a house Nohl decorated with bright colors and eye-catching figures in driftwood and glass, and surrounded with concrete sculptures. Her home became known as the "Witch's House" — a place known far beyond Fox Point, where she lived. Though she died in 2001, Nohl's artistic legacy lives on at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, and her home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Special color pages in the back of the book showcase examples of Nohl's work, many of which can also be viewed in this special video book trailer.

More for Young Readers

The popular Badger Biographies series for young readers explores the lives of famous and not-so-famous figures in Wisconsin history. In addition to Mary Nohl, recent editions include: Father Groppi: Marching for Civil Rights, Joyce Westerman: Baseball Hero, and Les Paul: Guitar Wizard. E-book editions are also available.

About the Authors

Barbara Manger is an artist who has taught printmaking and drawing for many years. She also founded Artists Working in Education, a nonprofit Milwaukee-based organization that provides art experience for at-risk children.

Janine Smith is an award-winning book designer who owns and operates Designsmith, a graphic design company in Fox Point, Wisconsin.

Upcoming Book Events


:: Posted March 4, 2013

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