John Suess: Collection of paintings by retired Milwaukee librarian on display at public library
A collection of visual works by local artist and retired librarian, John Suess, has been on display at the Greenfield Public Library.
Suess works primarily in acrylics and occasionally oils, and describes his style as impressionist, tonalism and color field, with some realism. His favorite subjects are landscapes, especially local scenery.
“I find my inspiration outdoors. While working in my garden, playing golf, or taking a walk or drive, I will often be captivated by the beauty of nature and stop to capture it with my camera. Then, I’ll make it come back to life on canvas,” Suess said.
Over 20 of his works will be display through January 31 on the second floor of the Greenfield Library. The pieces included in the show are a selection from Suess’ “Road Trips” series, featuring rural scenes from locations around southeastern Wisconsin such as Hartford, North Prairie and Kettle Moraine; a grouping of landscapes, many of which are also based on local vantage points; and a wide variety of florals.
“I’m grateful to the Greenfield Library for giving me the opportunity to display my art for the community to enjoy. After the last two years we have all had, it is nice to be able to visit places and interact with others again. It’s long overdue and I hope many will check it out,” Suess added.
Suess has also completed several commissioned works. In 2019, Suess was commissioned by his parish, Christ King, to produce works in celebration of its 80th anniversary. The largest of these paintings, Christ the King, a 30x40 acrylic on gesso board, is on permanent display on the southeast wall inside the church, while four others capturing the local church’s iconic steeple as viewed during each season, are on display in the vestibule.
Born and raised in Milwaukee, Suess has always had a passion for art. The 73-year-old began drawing and painting at the age of 3. After high school, he pursued a degree in commercial art at Milwaukee Area Technical College, but realized he was more interested in fine art instead. He eventually transferred to UW-Milwaukee where, after a brief stint in the Army Reserves, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in ancient history and a master’s degree in library science.
Suess spent the next 34 years working in the Milwaukee Public Library system, with the majority spent at MPL-Central in the science and business department. There, Suess met his wife, Mary, who is also a retired librarian.
Since retiring in 2007, Suess has devoted his free time to playing golf, working in his award-winning garden, taking photographs and…painting. After his retirement, Suess has produced over 150 works of art, many of which he has sold, or gifted to family and friends.
Suess’ other recent showings include the Wauwatosa Public Library in July of 2021; Milwaukee County Parks, where a selection of his work featuring local golf courses was showcased in the clubhouses of courses such as Dretzka, Currie and Hansen; and Redline Milwaukee, where Suess was featured as part of the Modern Landscape exhibition in 2018.