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August Molder (1914 - 1982)
August Molder was born in January 14, 1914 in Estonia. He spent his youth on a farm where he was known for his drawings of farm animals. After graduating from high school everyone in his family expected him to enter the Pallas, the college of the arts in Estonia. He attended the University of Tartu to study law graduating with his masters in civil law in 1944. In 1944 the Russian forces advanced on the German forces, who had occupied Estonia in 1941. Wartime conditions prompted August to leave his native land with only a razor, toothbrush and a comb in his pockets. Accompanied by some university students he walked south out of Estonia and worked as a farm hand in Germany until the Allies were close enough for him to join them. Molder finally reached Augsburg, Germany where the camps were set up for refugees. He joined a group of artists and received a license from the city to become a freelance artist. This made it possible for him to buy the materials for his work. He sold his watercolors of Germany to US GIs.
After the war August immigrated to Australia, where he began to paint as much as possible. In Canberra he met his future wife, fellow Estonian, Susan Raid. They lived in Australia for ten years and moved to the US in 1958. Here he was able to devote himself fulltime to his artistic pursuits.
In 1962 he became artist in residence at Augsburg College and taught there for more than 20 years. He also executed the bulk of his work from his studio at Augsburg College. He was known as a pioneer of a mosaic art technique of faceted stained glass and as an artist who specialized in expressionistic oil painting. His oils and acrylics are primarily abstracts that are built up in surfaces in his trade mark three dimensional style.
His stained glass windows were commissioned for numerous churches in the upper Midwest and are sought by both private collectors and businesses. Among the commissions are St. Olaf College, Northfield; First Lutheran Church, White Bear Lake; and the Augsburg College Meditation Chapel.
When August died in 1982 an art scholarship was established at Augsburg College.