Six pieces by Louis Grell, an artist and Council Bluffs native, were moved last week from the Pottawattamie County Courthouse to be displayed at the UNO Art Gallery in Omaha.
Those works — which include three paintings, two drawings and one mural — will be a part of an exhibit at the University of Nebraska at Omaha that also will feature a student documentary about Grell. The display runs from Jan. 17 to Feb. 20. The pieces will return to the courthouse following the UNO exhibit.
Grell, who died in 1960, is known for his 20th-century murals that have been displayed in national landmarks such as the Times Square Paramount in New York City, the Netherland Plaza Hotel in Cincinnati and the Chicago Theatre.
The artist's grand-nephew, Richard Grell, said his relative also emphasized art education.
“Louis was an art educator most of his career,” Richard Grell said.
Richard Grell, a member of the Louis Grell Foundation, actively searches for more information about his great-uncle in an effort to find undiscovered murals and paintings. The foundation was created to collect, archive, preserve and exhibit the work of Louis Grell.
In 1916, Louis Grell worked as an instructor at the Academy Fine Arts in Chicago. Six years later, he became a teacher at the Art Institute of Chicago where he taught various design and illustration courses.
Louis Grell won many awards including the Harry Frank and the Municipal Art League prizes. His work was exhibited 25 times at the Art Institute of Chicago.
For UNO students, the gallery was the result of a semester-long class that taught art curation, said Charley Reed, the university's media relations coordinator.
The class cataloged more than 60 original works of Louis Grell and offered opportunities to work under the guidance of numerous professional art professors and curators in the Council Bluffs and Omaha metro area.
“It's a great educational opportunity for students to learn about a nationally recognized artist,” Richard Grell said. “It helps students put together a show using his collection.”