Retired art professor, successful painter dies of hypothermia

Courtney Lewis

Malcolm Myers, a retired art professor and painter, died March 16 after a fall in his driveway. He was 84.

Myers retired from the University in 1987 but continued teaching watercolor classes through the Department of Extension Classes. His last class was held the Monday before his death.

Before teaching, Myers served in the Merchant Marine during World War II. While studying at the Art Students League in New York, he received two Guggenheim Foundation fellowships to study in Paris in 1950 and four years later in Mexico.

Famous for his printmaking, Myers has pieces in more than 30 museums, including the Weisman Art Museum, the Smithsonian Institution and the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris.

Myers graduated from Wichita State University in Kansas, where his family resided after the Depression. He later received a master of fine arts degree from the University of Iowa, where he studied with printmaker Mauricio Lasansky.

Myers taught alongside Lasansky for two years before coming to Minnesota.

Recruited in 1948 to work in the art department, Myers and his wife at the time, Roberta, drove up from Iowa. It was the first job he had taken, and Myers recalled in a 1996 written statement how he “fell into the job.”

His artwork, which utilized watercolors, acrylic paints and intaglio, focused on topics ranging from the Wild West, jazz, the birdwatcher and the walking dog.

One piece Myers showed in 1998 depicted his idea of heaven: listening to jazz and painting, while sipping a martini and smoking a pipe.

Myers was found by a snow-removal service employee and had suffered from hypothermia. He had been at his studio earlier in the day.

Mark Pharis, art department chairman, along with Myers’ surviving wife Marilyn, have planned a memorial service for April 15 at 3:30 p.m. in the Weisman Art Museum.

Courtney Lewis welcomes comments at [email protected]