World-renowned artist Arnold dies at 94
It would be difficult to mention Paul Arnold without thinking of some connection to Oberlin — both town and gown — the worldwide art scene and even that of local galleries he enhanced such as the Allen Art Museum and the Firelands Association of the Fine Arts.
Arnold, the longest continuous tenured of any current faculty members at Oberlin College, an artist whose work has appeared in more than 225 exhibitions, died Monday, July 2, 2012. He was 94 years old.
Born Nov. 24, 1918, in T’aiyuanfu, Shansi, China, where his father was a YMCA general secretary, Arnold grew up mainly in China except for furloughs which brought the family to the United States.
Arnold completed his A.B. in art in 1940, and M.A. in studio art in 1941, at Oberlin College, and his M.F.A. at the University of Minnesota in 1955. While his teaching career at Oberlin College started in 1941-1942, it was interrupted for four years during World War II, when he served in the U.S. Army. During 1945, Arnold was involved in intelligence work for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) in China (for which he received the Bronze Star), followed by a brief post-war stint in Canton, China, analyzing the escalating conflict between the Communists and Nationalists.
It was at Oberlin College where he met his future wife, Sally.
When Arnold returned home in 1946, he became an instructor in fine arts at Oberlin College, where he remained throughout his career. He retired in 1985 as a Full Professor, claiming the longest continuous tenure of any current faculty member. He started as a watercolorist, but was tapped to teach a printmaking class in 1950, and discovered his favored medium.
A sabbatical in 1962 connected him with famed Japanese woodblock printer Toshi Yoshida, who mentored him, and thus began his love affair with the Japanese technique, which he adapted to his own creative needs and practiced until 2011.
Throughout his long career, in addition to teaching and working in his studio, he served as acting chair of the Art Department at Oberlin on three different occasions; illustrated books; was Visiting Professor at Tunghai University in Taiwan, Sarah Lawrence College and the Cleveland Institute of Art in Lacoste, France; was project director of the Oberlin College Peace Corps Training Program (1964-65); served the city of Oberlin on the zoning board, planning commission and city council; was president of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (1976-1979) and the College Art Association (1986-1988); served on the boards of the Mid-American College Art Association, Karamu Foundation, Oberlin Shansi Memorial Association, Firelands Association for the Visual Arts, Oberlin Historical and Improvement Organization (now Oberlin Heritage Center); led numerous tours to China, Taiwan, France, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia; was named John and Eva Young-Hunter Professor of Art in 1982; and was commissioned to design and create monuments in Oberlin to Martin Luther King, Johann Friedrich Oberlin and the Wellington Rescue.
In 2011, he was honored by the Cleveland Wing of the Commemorative Air Force as the Armed Forces World War II Veteran of the Year.
His prints are held in 15 public collections, including the Cleveland Museum of Art, Baltimore Museum of Art, Allen Memorial Art Museum, Wadsworth Atheneum, and the Library of Congress.
Arnold and his wife traveled extensively worldwide. They moved to Kendal at Oberlin in 1993.
Survivors include brothers James (Marna) Arnold of Port Townsend, Wash., and Allen Arnold of Black Mountain, N.C., daughters Peggy Arnold of Longmont, Colo., Tacie (Craig) Hampton of Lorain, Judy (Bill Puett) of Dahlonega, Ga., son Kemper (Julie) of Rocky River, Ohio, AFS daughter Tsugiko (Bill) Scullion of Old Greenwich, Conn., eight grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
A celebration of his life is planned for September. Communications to the family can be directed to Kemper Arnold, 21751 Kenwood Ave., Rocky River, Ohio 44116 or email@example.com. Memorial gifts may be sent to the Residents Assistance Fund of Kendal at Oberlin, 600 Kendal Drive, Oberlin, Ohio 44074; Firelands Association for the Visual Arts, 39 S. Main Street, Oberlin, Ohio 44074; Oberlin Shansi, Oberlin College, 173 W. Lorain Street, Oberlin, Ohio 44074; or Hospice of the Western Reserve, 300 East 185th Street, Cleveland, Ohio 44119.