Crippled by infantile paralysis as a baby, Norman Mangold, born December 15, 1911, lived in Bennington, Nebraska and Fremont, Nebraska where he painted landscapes and portraits, especially of children, in spite of his crippling condition. His favorite medium was pastel, and he also did lettering and design.
He took art classes in Omaha for five years from Augustus Dunbier on Saturdays at the YMCA., taking the bus from Fremont. Of Mangold, Dunbier said he was "frankly amazed and greatly pleased with the smoothness of his technique, the rich coloring and the wide variety of subjects. His first drawings were crude and brought hushed snickers from others in the class. But he soon began to develop. Those snickers changed to "ah's" and "oh's" of genuine amazement. And in some cases, envy".
Sometimes Mangold painted en plein air on location, accompanied by his father, his dog, and a large tricycle, which he often rode far away from the road. When the weather discouraged outdoor painting, he often did still life in his mother's kitchen.
Another talent he pursued was singing, and he occasionally appeared on the radio singing baritone parts. He also trained dogs for neighbors.
Of his painting, Mangold said: "Nature is my greatest teacher. My aim in painting is to express the feeling of being outdoors, it's light and air, by the medium of rich, clean oil color".
Copyright 2003 Janet Gwendolyn Smith
Credits: Undated clippings from Omaha World Herald newspapers.
Personal interviews and letters from family and friends.
Copyright 2003-2020 Janet Gwendolyn Smith Art
All artwork is copyright of the respective owner or artist.