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William Schickel (1919-2009) was born in Stamford Connecticut and raised in Ithaca, New York. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1944. His graduation project was the sculptural fountain, Living Water, at the university’s grotto. In 1947 he married Mary Frei, daughter of the stained glass artist Emil Frei, and bought a farm in Loveland, Ohio near Grailville — where the couple lived on the land, raised their family, and created art.

In a prolific career spanning sixty plus years he produced a large body of mostly commissioned work in painting, sculpture, stained glass, graphic design, architectural design, and furniture design. His renovation of the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky, where he worked personally with Thomas Merton, won the American Institute Architects Gold Medal Award in 1968. His downtown Cincinnati wall mural Eighty Foot Love Letter to the Queen, completed in 1978 is perhaps Cincinnati’s most frankly modern work of public art of its era. On other commissions he collaborated with Marcel Breuer, Pietro Belluschi, Emil Frei, and Philip Johnson. His works can be found in numerous private collections and museums, including the Brooklyn Museum and the Vatican Museum. 

William Schickel’s life and work are documented in the art book Sacred Passion: the Art of William Schickel by Gregory Wolfe which is available at many libraries, art museums, and book stores. The second edition of this book was published a few months after he died in 2009. William Schickel art can be viewed at the William Schickel Gallery in Loveland which is operated by Joe Schickel, William Schickel’s son and artistic executor. Click here to schedule a visit. 

The craving for beauty has been the driving force in my life as an artist.
— William Schickel