Mill Valley, CA
John Stoll was a 20th-century Bay Area painter, etcher and sculptor who specialized in maritime views and works with a nautical theme. Born in Göttingen, Germany in 1889, he studied art at the Academy of Fine Arts in Dresden. Stoll left Germany for South America as a young sailor before the start of World War I. In 1915 he settled in San Francisco, where the art works shown at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition inspired him to pursue a career as an artist. Stoll received additional artistic training for a short time at the California School of Fine Arts (now the San Francisco Art Institute), but was otherwise self-taught. He began showing his works in the early 1920s. In 1934 he worked for the Public Works of Art Project sponsored by the U.S. Treasury Department, submitting designs for low relief plaques for San Francisco’s Ferry Building. Then Stoll made watercolor drawings of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge under construction for the Federal Art Project of the Works Progress Administration. At the end of the decade Stoll created six murals for the Court of the Seven Seas at the Golden Gate International Exposition on Treasure Island. In 1946 Stoll was commissioned to create murals for the Sailors Union of the Pacific Building in San Francisco in memory of sailors lost in World War II, as well as a statue of a helmsman for the Union’s plot in the Olivet Memorial Park cemetery in Colma, Calif. Stoll exhibited widely, with his works appearing in exhibitions in Chicago, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and Washington, D.C as well as San Francisco and Los Angeles, and in overseas exhibitions in Mexico City, Madrid, Rome and Caracas. In 1960 Stoll moved from San Francisco to Mill Valley, where he lived until his death in 1974. (Rev. TNB 12/2013) Selected bibliography: Hughes, Edan Milton. Artists in California, 1786-1940. San Francisco: Hughes Publishing Co., 1986. 2nd ed. 1989, p. 537. McChesney, Mary Fuller. “Interview with John Stoll,” February 8, 1965, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.