Wanda Hazel Gag (1893-1946)
Wanda Hazel Gag was born in New Ulm, Minnesota in 1893 and grew up with the fairy tales and customs from her parents native country of Czechoslovakia. Her father, Anton Gag, was a well respected artist who would encourage her artistic interests.
Wanda Gag was an avid drawer, and in 1910 her drawings were in a traveling exhibition which was organized by the Minneapolis School of Art. After receiving several prizes for her artwork she decided to study art-making at the St. Paul School of Art and Minneapolis School of Art. She met another accomplished artist named Adolph Dehn; they became romantically involved for a while and remained lifelong friends. She received a scholarship at the Art Students League in New York City, where she lived and worked for the rest of her life.
Wanda Gag was a prolific printmaker and illustrator. She created several etchings, lithographs, and engravings which were well received by the public. She is most known for her children’s book Millions of Cats, which won a Newberry Honor. She also gained notoriety for her illustrated translations of Grimm’s Fairy Tales and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Perhaps adopted from her proficiency in illustrating and printmaking, Gag’s style for paintings utilized strong, winding lines to create organic forms.
- 1893 – Born in New Ulm, Minnesota
- 1910 – Her drawings were in a traveling exhibition for the Minneapolis School of Art
- Received a scholarship at the Art Students League in New York City
- Created illustrations for “Millions of Cats”