Ervin E. Nowicki

Ervin E. Nowicki of Port Washington, an artist and art teacher, passed away at the age of 85 on Monday, March 12, 2007 in the presence of his loving wife Dorothy (nee Humphreys). A memorial service for Ervin will be held at noon on March 31 at First Congregational Church (131 N. Webster St.) in Port Washington. Visitation will take place at 11 a.m. at the church, prior to the memorial service. Eernisse Funeral Home in Port Washington is serving the family.

Nowicki graduated from Pulaski High School in 1939, Wisconsin State College in 1946 (B.S.), after returning from service in World War II and UW-Milwaukee in 1952 (M.S.E.). On Dec. 13, 1945, he received an honorable discharge from the U.S. Air Force, where he served as a navigator with the 384 Bomb Group, 8th Air Force and was awarded the Air Medal EAME Ribbon. He had flown 15 missions by the time the war ended in Europe.

Nowicki taught art at Whitefish Bay High School for 30 years and was the department head. He also taught at UW-Milwaukee, the University of Saskatchewan and at the Milwaukee Country Day School. Additionally, he coached cross country and track at Whitefish Bay High School.

In 1961, Nowicki was awarded a John Hay Fellowship for a year’s study at Yale University and in 1968 a Fulbright-Hay Grant under which he taught at the Medway Technical School in Rochester, England.

Nowicki’s drawings and paintings were exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Walker Art Center, the Anderson Art Center, the Bradley Galleries, the Shirley Shannon Gruen Gallery, La Galleriera del Conte, the Wisconsin State Fair, the lakefront show, the Charles Allis Art Library, the Paine Museum and the Layton School of Art. Nowicki’s artwork remains in the permanent collections of the Milwaukee Art Museum, Clarke College, Museum of Wisconsin Art, Carroll College, Chase Bank, Bay View High School and also in numerous private collections.

Nowicki’s style and medium changed over the years, ranging from pen and ink, oils and acrylics, pencil, landscapes, representations and abstract; he considered himself a colorist after his training at Yale University. Nowicki was an officer in the Wisconsin Painters and Sculptors Association and a member of MATA.

One of his family’s favorite works was "Lonesome Beach," which was the subject of a Feb. 12, 1961 Sentinel art review titled, "Oriental Feeling in Nowicki Show." In the interview Nowicki stated, "art is an activity (as opposed to a thing) in art, I cannot say ‘this is how the world is,’ but rather ‘this’ is what I have found it to be."

Nowicki is survived by his children Michael Nowicki of Grafton, Julia (Timothy Sandborn) of Chicago, Joan Werner of Port Washington, Claudia Cunningham (Robert) of Polson, Mont.; his grandchildren Anne (Ian Corcoran) of Cedarburg, Corinne of Grafton, Jessica of Grafton, John Swank of Chicago, Julia Werner of St. Louis, Madeline Cunningham of Polson, Mont.; and his great-grandchildren Lucy and Quinn Corcoran. He is further survived by his brothers Eugene (Betty) Nowicki and Ralph (Elaine) Nowicki; his sister-in-law Dilys Spransy; along with nieces, nephews, other relatives and close friends.

The family suggests memorials to the Museum of Wisconsin Art, 360 S. 6th Ave., West Bend, WI 53095 or to the First Congregational Church in Port Washington.