Peterpaul Ott

Theme/Style – Modernism, figurative art

Media – Sculpture in wood, aluminum, bronze, and terracotta, bas reliefs, oils, murals, graphics

Artistic Focus – Working in many media, Peterpaul Ott produced sculptures from small to monumental in size, and exhibited a clear and undeniable mastery of the human figure, both in form and movement. The meticulous detail and energy evident in his bas reliefs, full of people and action, offer the viewer a glimpse into the world of a talented and serious artist who clearly was dedicated to his craft.

Career Highlights –

• Peterpaul Ott was born in Pilsen, Czechoslovakia in 1895, raised in Dresden, and studied art in both Germany and Austria.
• In 1924 Ott came to New York City, and by 1928 had received commissions for architectural sculpture in the area. While in New York he studied at the Cooper Union and under Alexander Archipenko. He exhibited between 1928 and 1933 at the New York Architectural League, the National Academy of Design, and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, as well as at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor in 1929.
• Ott moved to Chicago in 1931. There he taught sculpture privately and at local colleges, and served as the Chicago supervisor of sculpture for the WPA from 1936 to 1939.
• Ott exhibited widely and often in the Chicago area, including a solo exhibition at the Evanston Academy in 1932, as well as participating in the A Century of Progress exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1934.
• His public sculptures in Illinois include two 15-foot-high mahogany reliefs in Chicago’s Lane Technical High School; and aluminum sculptures and wood reliefs in post offices.
• Ott visited California in 1939, and moved there the following year. Settling in Laguna Beach, he taught at several area high schools, as well as at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, and exhibited at the Laguna Beach Art Association throughout the 1940s, as well as at the Laguna Festival of the Arts and Sawdust Festival annuals.
• Retiring from teaching in 1967, Ott lived in Laguna Beach until his demise in 1992.