Richard Floethe was born in Essen, Germany on September 2, 1901. He studied art at various schools in Germany, including the Munich State School, the Dortmund Art School, and the Bauhaus in Weimar. After completing a mural for the International Exposition in Cologne, Germany he immigrated to the United States in 1928. Once in America he worked as an industrial designer, book illustrator, and from 1936-1939, as the art director of the New York City poster division of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) art projects. Floethe later taught at The Cooper Union in New York City and at the Ringling School of Art in Sarasota, Florida.
Louise Lee was born on March 13, 1913 in New York City. She studied drama at Columbia University and the Neighborhood Playhouse Studios. Louise and Richard married in 1937, at which time she was already an accomplished children’s author. After their marriage they began to collaborate on children’s books, publishing their first book together,
If I Were Captain, in 1956.
If I Were Captain was chosen as a Junior Literary Guild Selection. They traveled around the world and often went sailing in their yacht. These experiences heavily influenced their work, which often explored different cultures and maritime activities. Richard designed or illustrated over a hundred books, including twenty-three written by Louise.
Richard won the limited Editions Club International Contest for best illustrated books for
Tyl Ulenspiegl (1935) and for
Pinocchio (1938). He also won the Limited Edition Club, American Institute Graphic Arts award for
English is Our Language (1950). As their son Ronald began to make educational films, Louise wrote the film scripts and assisted with editing. She won the Birmingham Educational Film Festival award and the Golden Babe award from the Chicagoland Film Festival, both for "The Beekeeper" (1976). Louise Floethe died on August 6 and Richard Floethe on September 30, 1988, in Sarasota, Florida.
Falk, Peter Hastings.
Who Was Who in American Art, 1564-1975: 400 years of Artists in America. Madison, CT: Sound View Press, 1999.
“Louise Lee Floethe (1913-1988),”
“Richard Floethe,” RichardFloethe.com, accessed January 5, 2012, http://www.richardfloethe.com/About_Artist.html.
“Richard Floethe (1901-1988),”
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