Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Architect Harold Sterner documented ship camouflage

American architect Harold Sterner
Albert Sterner (1863-1946) was a prominent American painter and illustrator. His brother was an architect, Frederick Sterner (1862-1931), whose commissions included the Denver Athletic Club (1889), and Antlers Hotel in Colorado Springs CO (1901).

In 1888, Albert Sterner moved to Paris, where he studied at the Académie Julian. He returned to the US in 1918, to teach at the Art Students League in New York. As shown in the photograph below, he also designed war posters.

Albert Sterner creating war poster (1918)

Albert Sterner’s son was an architect named Harold Sterner (1895-1976), who later designed the Helena Rubenstein beauty spa at 715 Fifth Avenue in New York. Harold Sterner’s mother was Marie Walther Sterner, founder and director of the Marie Sterner Gallery (1920-1950).

Harold Sterner attended St George’s School in Newport RI, then studied architecture at MIT, where he graduated in 1917. That same year, he enlisted in the US Navy, where he was assigned to the camouflage department, in the Third Naval District. During his wartime service (according to a listing of MIT graduates), he “kept records of types of camouflage on vessels entering New York Harbor, sending drawings to Washington to be checked with original designs.”

He opened his own architectural firm in 1932. While never formally trained as a painter, he produced a substantial number of drawings and paintings of ships, some of which were given to the South Street Seaport Museum in New York.