Lois Blonder worked from a home-studio in Morganville, NJ where she lived more than two decades producing paintings, prints and sculptures that won more than 50 awards and were selected for numerous juried shows. A native of Newark, NJ she was well known in statewide art circles and was represented by galleries in Monmouth, Morris and Union counties. She was 66 when she passed away suddenly in March 1999.
The only child of Charles and Sadie Wallerstein, Lois' early years were shaped by the hard times of the depression. Her father Charlie found work whenever he could- as a longshoreman, roofer, ditch digger and finally a trucker. Often she and her mother (despite company rules, but out of practicality) would crisscross the country; Charlie driving an auto-carrier, and Lois and her mother sitting in the front seat of the topmost car. Perhaps these adventures stimulated her lifelong excitement for travel and for discovering new places.
Lois always knew she would become an artist, but needed a job as well as a passion. So, after graduating from Newark's Barringer High School in 1950, she attended the Newark Art's School to studying drafting. She remained committed to the city and particularly to the Newark Museum even though it meant driving over an hour in each direction from Morganville to volunteer as a docent or attend a lecturer or a members' reception.
After finishing her training, Lois worked for a while as a draftsman at Bell Labs in Murray Hill, NJ. She soon met Isaac Blonder on a blind date, and within a year was married at age 21.
Like many women of her generation, Lois focused on building a family and supporting her husband, as he concentrated on building a new company, Blonder Tongue Laboratories . Over the next four years, she gave birth to three children- Greg, Brad and Terry. During this time, she not only learned how to cook (albeit with an artist's disregard for exact measurements and a penchant for improvisation), but grew as an artist- turning from amateur to professional.
Unlike many women of her generation, Lois returned to school in the midst of raising her children. First, to Upsala College and then to Monmouth University where she earned her A.A. in 1970 and her B.A. in Arts in 1974. Lois loved to learn, to read, to travel and to explore the world through her art. Her trip diaries (voluminous books illustrated with pen and ink drawing along with paper ephemera and script), encompassed more than two dozen adventures to everywhere from South Africa to Europe to Papua New Guinea. Her sheer joy of learning continued unabated, as she earned a second A.A. in English from Brookdale Community College in 1989 and her M.A from Montclair State in 1994.
In addition to her own art, Lois and Ike were inveterate "junkers". No weekend was complete unless some garage or yard sale yielded up a prized find. As a result, they accumulated more than 20,000 items over a lifetime, segregated into collections of depression glass and chinese paper lanterns. She later turned to these collections as inspiration for collages and sculptural assemblages.
But art was her life. In addition to creating her own work, Blonder designed and mounted art and craft exhibitions for individual artists and such organizations as the Monmouth Festival of the Arts, a major cultural fixture sponsored by Monmouth Reform Temple.
Several galleries have represented her. They include Gallery 9, Chatham; Gallery 12 and the Sachs Gallery, both in Rumson; Guild of Creative Art, Shrewsbury; The Old Mill, Tinton Falls; The Artists and Craftsman Guild, Cranford; the Gerri Galleries, Marlboro; and the Art Alliance, Red Bank.
Her paintings and prints have been displayed in such juried competitions as Knickerbocker Artists (N.Y.), Allied Artists (N.Y.), Jersey City Museum, New Jersey Collection of Contemporary Art, New Jersey Watercolor Society, Garden Watercolor Society, and the West Orange Chamber of Commerce.
Lois' work has been exhibited in many private and corporate collections including Rines and Rines, Boston; Mysterings, Los Angeles; Electrocomp, Old Bridge; Overlook Hospital, Summit; Monmouth Reform Temple, Tinton Falls, and at Upsala College.
In addition, she was tutored privately by artists Manny Soloman, David Kwo, Hugo Lutz, Tom Vincent and George Muller.
A very active volunteer she gave her time to The Newark Museum and to many fine arts and other institutions and causes. An inveterate "set designer", she often created entire banquet room themes, and then decorated the room entirely from items nestled within her collection.
She and husband, Isaac Blonder, were longtime benefactors of the Monmouth Junior Science Symposium, an annual event which is designed to encourage gifted high school students to pursue science careers. A symposium scholarship, which they supported, honors their late son, Bradley, while a sculpture garden at Monmouth University honors hers. Along with five grandchildren, their son, Greg, a physicist, lives in Summit, NJ while daughter, Terry, of Carlisle, MA is a cookbook author.
Copyright Lois Blonder
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