Gruelle, Justin C. (1889-1978)
Justin Gruelle was born in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1889. His father was the noted landscape painter Richard B. Gruelle, and his brother, Johnny Gruelle, was a popular illustrator and creator of the Raggedy Ann books. Justin studied art with his father from an early age, and moved to New York City to study at the Art Students League. After a year he returned to the Midwest and worked for various newspapers. In 1910 Gruelle moved to New Canaan, Connecticut. He became a member of the Silvermine Guild of Artists and kept a studio in the Bishop Building in Norwalk. He wrote and illustrated several children’s books, most notably A Mother Goose Parade. He had two children, a boy and a girl, with his wife Mabel Brown. He worked for the Public Works of Art Project and later, the WPA Federal Arts Project. Under the WPA, he completed one easel work and seven mural panels. His work was allocated to Fairfield State Hospital, Central Jr. High School in Norwalk, and the Little Red Schoolhouse in New Canaan. Later in his life Gruelle moved to California where he died in 1978.
Sources: WPA Artist’s Work Card; AskART; Who Was Who in American Art (1985), p. 250; “Justin C. Gruelle, Artist/Illustrator, July 1, 1889-April 20, 1978; Bruce L. Johnson, “Justin Gruelle and the Early Birds Mural,” [No Author], “‘Aesop’s Fable’ at the Little Red Schoolhouse by Justin C. Gruelle Funded by the Works Progress Administration in 1939,” typescript; Louise E. Moreh[ouse ?], “Justin C. Gruelle Receives Praise for Mural and Scene,” Indianapolis Star, August 12, 1934; E. Humphrey Doulens, “Justin Gruelle, South Norwalk Sentinel, May 13, 1932. Special thanks to Elizabeth Branch of the New Canaan Historical Society for providing the last three items.
Works of Art Listed in CT Archives’ database from Justin Gruelle:
|Alisande and Sir Boss:||oil|
|Sir Boss Defeats Sir Sagrame:||oil|
|A Conn. Yankee in King Arthur’s Court:||oil|
|Roughing It (Mark Twain Room):||oil|
|The Combat Between Sir Boss and Sir Sagramore:||oil|
|The Crow & The Pitcher:||oil|
|Alladin and his Lamp:|
|Aesop’s Fable Series: The Wind & the Hare:|
|Aesop’s Fable Series: The Crow & the Pitcher:|
|Aesop’s Fable Series: The Fox & the Stork:|
|Aesop’s Fable Series: The Lion & the Mouse:|
|Aesop’s Fable Series: The Hare & the Tortoise:|