Elmer Novotny, born in 1909, was a long-time resident of Ohio, teacher at Kent State University and painter of portraits, figures, still-lifes and landscapes. He studied at the Cleveland Institute of Art and London’s Slade School of Art. In the 1930s, like so many other socially conscious artists, Novotny painted workers.

There was also a symbolic aspect to his work, as in “Monolith,” 48 x 36, an intense, very three-dimensional painting of a massive, foreground stone towering above a plain, widening near the top, whose forms and crevices suggest meshing human figures. Novotny was a Kent State faculty member for thirty-nine years. He chaired the Art Department for twenty-seven of those years. During his career, the artist created 1500 paintings, including portraits of every Kent State University president.

Novotny was the founding director of the Gallery of the School of Art. He received the President’s Medal, the highest honor awarded by Kent State. He also received a purchase award from the Butler Institute of American Art and a First Prize from the Cleveland Museum of Art. He exhibited at the Carnegie Institute and Milwaukee Art Museum. His work is in the collections of the Butler Institute and Akron Museum of Art. He died, age 87, on May 4, 1997.

Works by Elmer Ladislaw Novotny