Artist of the Month

2525 4th Avenue Rock Island, IL 61201

Telephone: 309.794.0991

Edward J. Strobl was born near Chicago, Illinois in 1896 and passed away in Huntington, Long Island, New York, in 1988.  He was the oldest of 4 children and from a very early age, displayed a patience and thirst for learning  however self taught.  As a young man he worked many small jobs in the Chicago area, and was apprenticed as a compounder in a Chicago area drug store when called to duty in World War I. His assignment to France provided him with risks, as well as rewarding experiences, common to wartime service.  Losing he hearing in one ear to shrapnel, it is as if his other senses intensified.

 Edward displayed bravery in the field, creating and distributing medical supplies to American and Alllied soldiers, both during the actual conflict, as well as in the year immediately following the conclusion the war; while continuing to learn and absorb the French culture.  As a young American soldier he was welcomed into the many environments of the area, but he took particular interest in learning first hand, how fragrances were extracted from flowers and plants.  In his mind, he began to collect formulations as well as techniques for making perfume oil.  He also visited Paris on many occasions, and made connections in the perfume industry which he would continue after his discharge from the Army.  By 1919 Edward was proficient in French, had seen most of the avant-garde art of Paris, and invested his time wisely in learning the perfume industry secrets of France.

 As good fortune often follows determination, Edward returned to Chicago and sought out investors to start up a fragrance and cosmetics business, locally.  He parlayed his French sources for essential oils and began importing raw materials from a great French perfume house, Albert Verley et Cie., Paris.  The fragrance industry continued to grow, and the center of manufacturing American perfumes gravitated to New York and New Jersey, where Edward would open offices, a perfume plant, and cater to many of New York's finest department store, with his own line of designer perfumes. World War II saw a boom in the cosmetic and fragrance market as women were taking their place in the offices and factories of that era.  Edward was a leader and was honored to be inducted into the Society of American Perfumers in 1950 upon the recommendation of other notable houses of perfume such as Chanel, Elizabeth Arden, Coty, Proctor and Gamble, Estee Lauder, and Avon.   Shortly thereafter, he became the President of the American subsidiary of Albert Verley, et Cie.,  and within a few years, he would take this company into a merger with the Andrew Jergens company, famous for Jergens' Lotion. 

 Edward, and his wife, Helen, a career public health nurse,  began to collect art, as well as travel to meet artists in their studios in the 1940's.  It was a marriage made in Heaven, as Helen was astute to recognize his passion for painting, a talent literally born from observing the techniques of many famous artists.

Most of the works of art that are on display are reminiscent of my father's travels to Europe, New England, or near his home on Long Island, New York 

Our family hope that you enjoy your experience at the Quad Cities Botanical Center, and please let the staff know if you are interested in acquiring any of the art on display.