Artifact/Archives: Hand carved art objects by Auseklis Ozols. Wooden Cross for the Grave of Gwendolyn Laan Ozols

Auseklis Ozols. Hand carved cross inscribed with hand cut lettering for the grave of Gwendolyn Kathleen Laan Ozols. Wood (pine.) 1980. Collection of the artist.

This cross was made and carved by Auseklis Ozols out of an antique pine support beam. The beam came from a house they renovated together in the 1970’s and made their family home. It was an old double shotgun which they converted into a single family residence and included a large painting studio. A. Ozols replaced the pine cross with a bronze one he designed. The new cross was cast by a local New Orleans sculptor in his foundry.

Gwendolyn Ozols died in 1980 from a neighbor’s gunshot in the front room of the Dufossat St. house. jpg

Photo of Gwendolyn by Auseklis Ozols taken in Audubon Park, New Orleans. She is wearing her wedding dress which she was also buried in.

About Gwendolyn:

and about her mother, Miek Laan

“She was the wife and muse of Auseklis Ozols. She supported him as they envisioned and founded the New Orleans Academy of Fine Arts in 1978. The founding documents of NOAFA are all in her handwriting, the lists of supplies and lumber for the Ozols designed easels; the first rosters of students, of faculty schedules, of receptions, events, and every other part of establishing an arts institution were written by her. Her dedicated support eased the studio and visual arts practice into place for structuring NOAFA. She helped attract a supporting community of arts and culture loving friends that she grew up with in New Orleans. She sailed, she played guitar, classical piano; she danced and she sang.”

Obituary above for Gwendolyn Laan Ozols in the Times-Picayune, 1980.

Below is an excerpt from a 1985 article in the Times Picayune that addresses her death and the New Orleans Academy of Fine Arts.

Auseklis Ozols on Founding the New Orleans Academy of Fine Arts

Auseklis Ozols with Saskia, Aija, and Indra in Audubon Park, New Orleans, LA