Roscoe Misselhorn Exhibit

Roscoe Misselhorn

Picture of Roscoe Misselhorn Painted by
Arlene Green, 1992.

"I knew in the third grade that I wanted to be an artist" said Roscoe Misselhorn. " Mattie Baird, my teacher, had us draw pictures of a chicken using little circles. She thought mine was the best and put it up on the blackboard."

Born just a few blocks from the depot that now houses his work, Roscoe never stopped drawing. In high school he provided drawings for the yearbook, posters for events and sketches for friends. However, at that time, the closest thing to an art class was mechanical drawing. Roscoe dropped out of school and went to work at Hood's Yellow Front store in downtown Sparta, for $15 a week.

Five years later, with the encouragement of his boss Louie Hood, Roscoe headed off to Chicago to try and get into the Art Institute. He was rejected because he had no high school diploma. He returned to his hometown, and his old job, brokenhearted.

Roscoe married Ruth Tritt in 1924. Ruth, a teacher, encouraged him to continue to develop his talent. He finally had his chance when he attended the St. Louis School of Fine Arts , now Washington University, for 3 years. He took commercial art classes and learned advertising, letterhead design and developed his cartooning skills. He was a syndicated political cartoonist for the Meyer Both company out of Chicago and was paid $5 a week to do a cartoon that would appear in over 3000 papers nationwide. He did this for 10 years, saying it paid for art school and models.

Roscoe Misselhorn

Roscoe sketching a picture.

The Depression hit the Misselhorns hard. Ruth lost her teaching job because it was felt that married teachers didn't need the work! It was a very rough few years. Roscoe's odd jobs, such as sign painting and letterhead design, kept them afloat until Ruth opened a dress shop which she ran for seven years before going back to teaching.

Always pleased to see his work in print, Roscoe published his first book, Sketching in Pencil,in 1949. This was soon followed by A Portfolio of Pencil Sketches, The Ozark Sketchbook, as well as books on Missouri, St. Genevieve, steam trains and his last book, Illinois Sketches (1985). Over the years he sold thousands of prints, calendars, and note cards. He became well known for his drawings of the St. Louis riverfront,as well as the charm of old New Orleans. His work has been displayed at the Library of Congress, The Crnegie Institute of Art, and the St. Louis Art Museam just to name a few. In the 40s and 50s his sketches were featured in many national magazines.

Roscoe passed away in the fall of 1997, but not after leaving the City of Sparta his legacy. The Misselhorn Art Foundation, establish in 1988, oversees the collection of over 2000 sketches, painting, block prints, ink drawings, cartoons, advertishing art and much more. In 1992 the Foundation dedicated the Misselhorn Art Gallery located in the old GM&O train depot on west Second street in Sparta, Illinois. Thankfully, Roscoe and Ruth were both on hand and Roscoe was able to spend his few remaining years enjoying visits with friends and admirers. Since opening in 1992, the Gallery has hosted thousands of visitors from over 40 states and 5 countries.

 

Sketch Gallery

Click on the thumbnails to see larger images.

Bald Knob Cross
Bald Knob Cross
Beveridge Mine
Beveridge Mine
Brick Kiln
Brick Kiln
Bringham House
Bringham House
Cahokia Court House
Cahokia Court House
Charter Oak School
Charter Oak School
Coulterville Depot
Coulterville Depot
Bridge of Maryís River
Covered Bridge of Maryís River
Crothers Plow Works
Crothers Plow Works
Kent Kane House
Kent Kane House
Ev Ellers Blacksmith Shop
Ev Ellers Blacksmith Shop
First Brick House
First Brick House
First Capital of Illinois
First Capital of Illinois
First Executive Mansion
First Executive Mansion
Galena Depot
Galena Depot
General John A Logan Memorial
General John A Logan Memorial
GMO Depot
GMO Depot
Grantís Headquarters
Grantís Headquarters
Grantís Graus Ferry
Grantís Graus Ferry
Grantís Grist Mill
Grants Grist Mill
Grantís Half Way Tavern
Grantís Half Way Tavern
Grantís Depot
Grantís Depot
First Executive Mansion
First Executive Mansion
Illinois Central Depot
Illinois Central Depot
Kaskaskia Hotel
Kaskaskia Hotel
Lemonís Mine
Lemonís Mine
Lewis and Clark Memorial
Lewis and Clark Memorial
Grantís Liberty Bell
Grantís Liberty Bell
McKinley Station
McKinley Station
Menard County Court House
Menard County Court House
Grantís Mill
Grantís Mill
Grantís Mine
Grantís Mine
Grantís Mission of the Holy Church
Grantís Mission of the Holy Church
Grantís Moffat Mine
Grantís Moffat Mine
Grantís Old Court House
Grantís Old Courthouse
Grantís Old Court House in St. Clair County
Grantís Old Court House in St. Clair County
Grantís Mine in Belleville
Grantís Mine in Belleville
Pierre Menard House
Pierre Menard House
Railroad Watertower
Railroad Watertower
Shadrack Bond Memorial
Shadrack Bond Memorial
The Betsy Ann
The Betsy Ann
The Delta Queen
The Delta Queen
Underground Railroad House
Underground Railroad House
Willian Bryan House
Willain Bryan House
Wilson Mine
Wilson Mine
Wisecup Fish
Wisecup Fish
Woodlawn Cemetary
Woodlawn Cemetary
Yackles Fish Market
Yackles Fish Market