Liesel Boose, of Freeport, a renowned children's portrait artist, died Wednesday at South Nassau Community Hospital of heart failure. She was 91.
Born in Germany in 1919, Boose, her mother and a brother came to Brooklyn during Germany's runaway inflation in 1928, in search of a better life in the United States.
Boose, whose father was also an artist, introduced her to painting when she was 12. She attended Washington Irving High School, an all-girls school of art in Manhattan, where she learned figure drawing, using watercolor and Conte crayon.
When Liesel Boose graduated from high school in 1938, she worked for various companies in Manhattan, designing greeting cards and working as a fashion illustrator. In Manhattan, she met her husband, Donald Boose, whom she was married to for 55 years until his death in 2005.
"Painting is the strongest pull in my life. When I'm away from it for any length of time, I feel at loose ends," Boose told Lewis Lehrman in his 1992 book, "Being an Artist." "I feel very happy over in my messy studio, and if I just go through the studio door, I'm all right."
She was only 12 or 13, according to the book, when she sold her first painting: splashy sunflowers painted in oils.
Her work, which included portraits of her husband and children, brought between $12,000 and $50,000.
Steve Boose, the youngest of her three sons, described his mother as "a very selfless type of person. She thought of only other people. Everyone she met loved her very much."
Lois Wyckom, Liesel Boose's friend of 70 years, agreed, saying, "She was not only an open person. She was very friendly and always concerned about people. Everybody liked her."
Other survivors include sons Christopher Boose and Jonathan Boose, both of Patchogue, and four grandchildren.