GEORGE ZIEL 2014 UPDATE
From Lynn Munroe Books
Publisher and art collector Robert Wiener recently purchased some of the paintings George Ziel did at Jove for their set of Ngaio Marsh uniform editions. This is Ziel's art for COLOUR SCHEME (Jove 0515-06014-3, 1982). As I said in 2011, Ziel was so good that his cover paintings often transcend the material. Robert kindly allowed me to share this remarkable painting with you here.
In 2014 I received an email from Carol Smaldino, the psychotherapist who writes for Huffington Post and divides her time between Italy and the United States. Carol told me she had found my Ziel checklist on the internet. When she was starting her medical studies at Roosevelt Hospital in New York 35 years ago, Carol's boss was Elsie Ziel, George's wife. She became friends with George & Elsie's niece and once visited Ziel in his studio.
“He was an unusual, sad, bitter and very kind man”, Carol told me. She was able to add more detail to our Ziel biography. Ziel was Polish Catholic and his first wife was a Polish Jew who was sent to Germany as a laborer, where she was killed during one of the American bombing raids. George was sent to Auschwitz, where he was beaten by a guard until he was deaf in one ear. The doctor who tended to him learned he was an artist and got him some paper and charcoal. He survived because all the guards used him to draw all their Christmas and birthday cards. Ziel also sketched some lithos of life in the camp, which he smuggled with him when he was transferred to Dachau. He was at Auschwitz for three years, then at Dachau until the end of the war.
Carol recalled Ziel was working on a cover painting for a book when she visited him, but she did not find that book on my website. I am thrilled to be able to add it with this update. The book was a biography of the actor Montgomery Clift called MONTY. Carol remembers Ziel used a white background and told her it signified that the man had died. When the painting was published, the art department at Avon changed the background color.
Thank you so much Carol for all of this information!
Thank you: Tom Lesser, Robert Speray, Ruben at paperbackart.com, Carol Smaldino, Chris Eckhoff, Merritt Falkner, Rachel Parker-Stephen, Grant Thiessen and Robert Wiener.
I think George Ziel was one of the most important artists I have profiled, and I will continue to add updates like this one to my research as long as additional Ziel covers come to light.