Portrait of Anita Kaetzke 1944, commissioned by the sitter’s father, Harold Liebmann (1895-1960), a personal friend of Grell’s. Harold Liebmann, along with his lovely wife Lola, were famous stage and TV dance performers. Harold was also an accomplished painter. Lola introduced Grell to the Mandel Brothers in 1930 for whom he executed landscapes and produced the sketches for Chicago Fashioned (1930). The portrait of Anita, is held in a private collection in Eckernförde, Germany which is 123 km north of Hamburg in the very northern coastal region of Germany near the Danish boarder. The painting was conserved by renowned Munich conservator, Volker Stoye in 1991. Many years after it’s commission, Anita transported the painting to Germany where she had it reframed.
UPDATE – Since the publication of this painting on our foundation’s website, Anita’s son contacted us and we have put the owner of the painting and Anita’s son in contact with one another. Both live in northern Germany and once knew each other a long time ago. Anita’s son told us she passed away 14 years ago. We hope to learn more about this amazing connection made possible through the far reaching prominence of Louis Grell’s career and long lasting relationships that he made over his 55 year professional painting career.
oil on canvas, signed LOUIS GRELL 1944 in red lower left, 79 cm x 71 cm
Information and photos courtesy of current owner. Links and family data on the Liebmann’s courtesy of their grandson Dr. Paul Kaetzke.
For more information on Harold and Lola please visit
To see a video of Lola and Harold performing one of their famous dance scenes please watch this youtube video. Their performance begins at about 2:00 minutes into the video
Harold and Lola were friends of many of the artists at Tree Studios in Chicago.