Alpine Historical

Justin Gruelle

Justin Gruelle’s “Early Birds” mural which traces the history of aviation.



July 1, 1889 – April 20, 1978
Justin was the youngest son of R. B. Gruelle, who was one of the “famous four” original Hoosier artists, and would emulate his father’s fine art style by working in watercolors and oils. Justin became a masterful portrait artist as well as a landscape artist. He was commissioned by the Works Progress Administration to do murals, eight of which are in the Collection of WPA murals in Norwalk, Connecticut.
Murals by Justin Gruelle have been on display in the Smithsonian and in museums from Norwalk, Connecticut to San Diego, California. In 1970 his mural “Early Birds”, shown above, was hung in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institution’s Art Wing in Washington, D.C. This mural traces the history of aviation.
Justin and his wife Mabel came to Alpine in 1955 and purchased a home on Lilac Lane off of Alpine Heights Road. A visit to his studio convinced the visitor that here was an artist of real stature and amazing versatility. His works range through illustration, huge murals for public buildings and institutions, advertising and publicity art, landscapes and portraits in oils and watercolors. He wrote and illustrated a very popular book for children, “A Mother Goose Parade”. Justin also illustrated some of his brother Johnny Gruelle’s “Raggedy Ann” and “Raggedy Andy” books.

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