The first time you meet Donald Zolan
, you have the feeling of meeting an old friend whom you just haven't seen for awhile.
warmth, candor and interest in others can disguise the fact that he's
one of our nation's most talented and popular children's artists.
The love and joy you see in his
paintings are a sincere expression of himself.
Donald James Zolan was born on August 11, 1937 in a little bungalow on Prairie Avenue in the small village of Brookfield, Illinois a working class suburb near Chicago.
was the youngest child of James and Margaret Zolan.
came from very humble beginnings sharing a bedroom in the attic with his
brother and his
In greeting someone for the first time, Donald always started by saying, "Hi, I am Donald Zolan, an Artist, a humble Artist from Illinois.
This site is dedicated to Donald James Zolan, a Great American Painter, who will be forever remembered as the Humble Artist from Brookfield, Illinois.
Requiescat in Pace.
Born into a family legacy of five generations of artists and sculptors, Zolan's
oil paintings spanned the world of both fine art and commercial licensing.
With original oil paintings selling in the five digits, and collectibles and licensed products selling worldwide, his
art continues to speak to millions of collectors.
A child prodigy, Zolan
began drawing and painting at the age of three winning his
first scholarship in oils to the Art Institute of Chicago
at the age of thirteen.
Upon graduation from high school, he
won a full scholarship to the American Academy of Fine Art
in Chicago completing the Academy's four-year program in just two years.
He apprenticed under Haddon Sundblom, the well-known illustrator of the Coca Cola Santa Claus and later attended the Arts Students League in New York City.
Upon graduation from the Academy, Zolan
pursued a fine arts career exhibiting and selling his
oil paintings at shows and museums throughout North America, Europe, United Kingdom and Japan winning numerous fine art awards including best of show by the Salmagundi Club
in New York.
successful fine art career led to the opening of the Zolan Gallery
on Nantucket Island.
By the mid 1970's, as Zolan's name and reputation in the fine art world flourished, his
portrait commissions expanded to include political leaders, writers, religious figures, astronauts and industrialists from around the world.
By 1978, Zolan's fresh new style of children paintings launched his
career in the collectibles and licensing world.
incredible talent to portray the joyfulness, innocence, tenderness and wide eyed wonder of early childhood propelled him to the top of the collectibles industry while his
works commanded some of the highest secondary market values.
Voted America's Favorite Living Plate Artist for seven consecutive years, Zolan also won more individual artist's awards in the annual Collector Editions Magazine's Awards of Excellence than any another artist.
can be seen as carrying John Singer Sargent's legacy of American Impressionism into the late 20th century."
had the exceptional ability to adapt his
artwork to the changing times while maintaining his
classical unique style known today as the Zolan brand.
The wholesomeness of his
subject matter combined with his
Americana style became an ideal partnership with some of America's iconic corporate brands.
Born in Brookfield, IL in 1937 to middle class parents, Zolan
embodied the values of the Heartland of honesty, humility, and straightforwardness.
captured in his
oil paintings was the pure, honest, and open expression of his
A compassionate and kind man, an insightful and positive man, and a dedicated artist his
entire life, there was no distance between what he
portrayed and how he
Painted in oils at the age of 15, Donald's
copy of Rembrandt's Father
vision for his
art was that one day it could make a positive change in the lives of children.
This art is a reflection of the life we can all strive to create again for our children.
It is a dream that can one day be a possible reality for so many.
Let's give hope to a dream.
"All my paintings reawaken moments of my own wonderful childhood in the small mid western town of Brookfield, Illinois that I never want to forget."Donald Zolan
an interview with Donald Zolan
by Donald Zolan (recorded by Zolan in 2007)
is a man of unusual talent, however, I am impressed by his
excellent personal character.
Fifty years later, Zolan
continued to be inspired and influenced by his
recalled years later, " Haddon
inspired me to create and to think big and to believe in my work.
That was his
greatest gift to me the rest of my life."
In 2007, Zolan
own Santa Claus collection.
"There is only one way to do something and that is the Right way."
Donald Zolan, everyday life
"I continually rediscover the innocent and curious child inside me.
And, I find that I never stop discovering the joys of life."
"I am a humble artist with a burning passion to create day and night.
I recognize my responsibility as an artist to Society to create works that can profoundly impact a person's daily life but most importantly the life of a child."
"I am guided by Faith and inspired by Creativity and I have always known that God has blessed me with this wonderful gift therefore Faith and Spirituality are synonymous with my work."