Stella Emma Harlos

Stella Harlos was both an artist and a teacher in Wisconsin, well known for her work in painting, ceramics, weaving, and printmaking. Her art is described as being whimsical and vivid, painted realistically but with impressionistic influences. She joined other Wisconsin artists to create Wisconsin’s own special regional style. Her work captured her love of small towns, open farm lands, woods and shorelines, and through it she expressed the values and virtues of grassroots America.  She also spent time in Mexico, which was yet another backdrop for her paintings.


Born in Milwaukee,Wisconsin, Harlos studied under some prominent Wisconsin artists: Gustave Moeller at the Milwaukee State Teachers College, Gerrit V. Sinclair at the Layton School of Art, and Kenneth Weber in Hollywood, California. In addition to being an artist, she also taught at the Layton School of Art (1926-1936, starting their ceramics program); Francis Parker School of Arts and Crafts (1923-1924), and Milwaukee Downer College (1930). Harlos was also a member of the Wisconsin Painters and Sculptors and the Works Projects Administration, helping to organize the first art rental gallery in the country. She painted a WPA post office mural, Land of Wood and Lakes, in Hayward, Wisconsin, and won many awards for her artistic excellence. Her work is in numerous collections, including the City of Milwaukee and the West Bend Art Museum’s Permanent Art Collections.


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