Oil on canvas laid on a board, 24" by 18" (32" by 26" framed), the painting of the face of Jesus Christ, the Christian cross behind him, all executed in an expressionistic manner, the cross and Jesus appearing to rise from the lower portion of the painting, signed at lower left in capital letters "STAHL". The artist WILLY STAHL was the son of New York portrait artist William A. Stahl. An only child, the younger Stahl was at the Imperial Conservatory of Music in Vienna, Austria when only 13 or 14. He was in New York by age 16, becoming the youngest member of the New York Symphony. Starting in the 1920's, Stahl conducted symphonic orchestras and began composing his own music for symphony, chamber orchestras, and film scores (he composed up until the last months of his life). Marrying in 1920, by 1934 he left New York for Hollywood, to paint and compose, after a number of exploratory visits to Southern California in the early 1930's. A period of travel followed when he and his family moved around the country in search of work during the Depression. During his time in Los Angeles Stahl became known as a talented archaeologist, mostly in the Mojave Desert. Items that he found are now in the archives at the Southwest Museum in Los Angeles. During the late 1940's a Beverly Hills gallery held an exhibition of his work and his work was recognized at the 1946 State Fair in Sacramento. At the Charles E. Young Research Library at UCLA, an archive of his musical compositions, and clipping files, is retained. A man of many talents, Stahl also created and was interested in ceramics. The artist died of cancer in Los Angeles 1963. A 1952 Toledo, Ohio newspaper article provided me with a lot of the above information, supplemented by a recent conversation with his daughter. The painting makes quite a powerful statement as a work of art. On the reverse it is signed again and titled "The Christ" and dated there 1956.
WILLY STAHL (1896-1963) expressionist painting of Jesus and the cross by known California artist and composer