Monday, October 13, 2014

Belle Goldschlager (1902-1988)

Aka Belle Baranceanu
Illustrator, Printmaker, Painter, Muralist, Teacher
Born July 17, 1902, Chicago, Illinois
Died January 17, 1988, La Jolla, California

Belle Goldschlager was born on July 17, 1902, in Chicago to Romanian Jewish immigrants Abram Goldschlager and Mary Agnes Baranceanu Goldschlager. Belle had one sister, Teresa (1904-1987). When they were young, their parents divorced or separated and the girls were sent to live on their grandparents' farm in Williston, North Dakota. Belle was interested in dance and art, Teresa in music. Their family encouraged them in their interests.

The girls' parents reunited in 1920. Belle and Teresa went to live with them once again, in Minneapolis. Belle Goldschlager graduated from West High School in 1921 and studied at the Minneapolis School of Art under Anthony Angarola. She graduated in 1924 and spent 1924-1925 in post-graduate studies. In 1925 or 1926, she went to the Art Institute of Chicago to further her studies. Angarola was there at about that time also, and in that brief window, Belle Goldschlager contributed three illustrations to Weird Tales magazine. They were printed in the February and April issues of 1926.

Belle's father objected to her relationship with Angarola, one that had grown from teacher-student to something more. In 1926 or 1927, he sent her to live with her uncle, Zack Baroney, in Los Angeles. She spent two years in California and returned to Chicago in 1928 or 1929. Anthony Angarola had spent the year in Europe (Aug. 1928-Aug. 1929) on a Guggenheim Fellowship. At some point the two were engaged to be married, but Angarola died suddenly within days of his return to Chicago. Despite the loss, Belle Goldschlager stayed on in Chicago, teaching, painting, and exhibiting her work.

In 1932, Belle Goldschlager changed her name to Belle Baranceanu, her mother's maiden name. The following year she relocated to San Diego. Belle Baranceanu was a painter, printmaker, illustrator, and muralist. She also taught at numerous institutions, including the Frances Parker School (1946-1969), the San Diego School of Arts and Crafts (1946-1951), California Western University (1959), and the La Jolla School of Arts and Crafts. Her students called her "Miss B." Belle also painted murals in the La Jolla Post Office, La Jolla High School, and Roosevelt Junior High School. In 1950 she was elected president of the San Diego Art Guild.

Belle Baranceanu took part in many exhibitions from 1926 to 1985 and won a number of awards from 1931 to 1945. In addition to drawing pictures for Weird Tales, she illustrated two textbooks of gynecology written by Dr. George Huff. Late in life, she was afflicted by Alzheimer's Disease. Belle Goldschlager Baranceanu died on January 17, 1988, in La Jolla, California. Her estate is managed by the San Diego Historical Society.

Belle Goldschlager's Illustrations in Weird Tales
"Red Ether" (Part One) by Pettersen Marzoni (Feb. 1926)
"The Other Half" by Edwin L. Sabin (Feb. 1926)
"The Outsider" by H.P. Lovecraft (Apr. 1926)

Further Reading
A simple search will turn up plenty of information on and images by Belle Baranceanu.

Note: In Jaffery and Cook's index to Weird Tales, Belle Goldschlager is misidentified as "B. Goldschlagel."
Three paintings by Belle Goldschlager Baranceanu, top to bottom: "The Bobs at Riverview Park," "Still-Life," and "The Johnson Girl." 
And because she is so striking, two photographs of the artist in her roles as muralist and printmaker. Notice how her pose in the top photograph echoes that of the figure behind her.

Text and captions copyright 2014 Terence E. Hanley

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