Peter Minchell

 

Minchell created watercolors on paper of exotic landscapes, architectural settings, fictional worlds in space, and the creation of the earth. Born Peter James Isenberg, hechanged his name because he thought that a non-Germanic name would help him succeed in a new business venture. Self-taught, Minchell’s art developed from draftingskills he acquired while working in the building trades. His earliest pictures were architectural drawings, produced in the 1960s. Many of his early works were alsoinfluenced by his life in a Catholic seminary in the early 1900s.Minchell’s older brother brought the young artist to Louisiana from Germany. Minchell attended Catholic school, completed seminary training, and was only weeksaway from ordination into the priesthood when he realized that he had another calling, as an architect, builder, or engineer, his family’s trade. He retired in the 1970s,and died in 1982 at the Palm Beach Care facility in Lake Worth, Florida.As Minchell’s skills grew, vegetation and plants reminiscent of his early years living near the bayou appeared in his works. Birds and reptiles are often placed in andaround water and dense, lush trees and plants. Many of his drawings were inspired by dreams and strong elements of fantasy. He painted a series he called Geological Phenomena, which were pictures of natural disasters such as hurricanes, tidal waves, and ornadoes. Another series, Planet Perfection,
illustrates a utopian world, and still another group of works features jungle landscapes. Often in the margin below thedrawings Minchell neatly lettered tiny text narratives with comments on the work. Initially, the artist gave his drawings away, but later he began to sell his work at artshows in local shopping centers. He may have painted between two hundred and five hundred watercolors.