Karl Priebe

(1914, Milwaukee, WI – 1976, Milwaukee, WI)

Karl Priebe was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1914. He studied at the Layton School of Art under Gerrit Sinclair and the Art Institute of Chicago. During the Depression, Priebe was employed by the Federal Art Project (WPA) to be a staff member at the Anthropology department of the Milwaukee Public Museum. He also worked as the Director of the Kalamazoo Art Museum in Michigan before taking a faculty position at the Layton School of Art.

In 1941, Priebe won the Prix de Rome for his painting, “Madonna and Child”, now part of the Patrick & Beatrice Haggerty Museum of Art’s permanent collection. Six years later, in 1947, he was featured in “Life Magazine” as an integral part of the surrealist movement. While Priebe’s works can be categorized as fantasist, he described his work as “tempered realism…realism filtered through the imagination”.


Museum of Wisconsin

Karl Priebe
Circus Performer by Karl Priebe
Circus Performer
20 x 16 in.
Rehearsal for Suicide by Karl Priebe
Rehearsal for Suicide
15 x 19 in.
Untitled by Karl Priebe
12.25 x 19.5 in.
Untitled (Botanical) by Karl Priebe
Untitled (Botanical)
21 x 14 in.