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Elsie Nydorf, 93

Acclaimed artist Elsie Nydorf 93, of Port Washington, died Sunday, Oct. 6, at Port’s Amsterdam at Harborside Hospice. A celebration of her life will be held at a later date.

Elsie was born Feb. 11, 1920 in Passaic, NJ, to Herman and Anna Nadel Rosenberg, the youngest of five children. She was predeceased by her husband of 56 years, Seymour; and is survived by her children, Amy (Eric) Moore, Ethan Nydorf, and Roy Nydorf (Terry Hammond); and by her grand-daughter, Alana Weiss-Nydorf.

Elsie earned a diploma in fashion illustration from the Newark Public School of Fine and Industrial Art (now Newark College of Fine and Industrial Arts) in 1936. She also studied sculpture, ceramics, and glaze chemistry there. Subsequently, she worked as an illustrator in New York, and, after answering an advertisement in the New York Times for “a person who draws well,” was hired as a fashion illustrator by Hecht’s Department Store in Washington, D.C. She met her future husband, Seymour, in a drawing class he was instructing there.

During World War II, both Elsie and Seymour worked as espionage illustrators for the United States Government’s Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and traveled to Egypt, India, and Sri Lanka (then Ceylon). They married in 1945 after returning to the U.S., eventually moving to Port Washington in 1951 to raise their family. In the 1960s Elsie was active in the Civil Rights movement and helped an African American family to historically integrate their neighborhood of South Salem.

Elsie continued to work as a full-time artist and focused on ceramic sculpture as her primary medium. Her main subject was the human figure in different guises, including portraits, nudes, socio-political narratives and whimsical play. She exhibited actively in the New York metropolitan area, and won many awards for her sculpture, including the prestigious Elizabeth N. Watrous Gold Medal for Sculpture at the National Academy of Design in New York, in 1977. One of her sculptures – a combination of world leaders – is displayed in the Newsday corporate headquarters. She also had a large sculpture of a female figure displayed at the World Trade Center, and was commissioned to sculpt various sports figures at the former Roosevelt (now Belmont) Raceway.

In recent decades Elsie became interested in gems and mineralogy, and focused on jewelry making. She excelled in creating startlingly inventive designs combining metals and lapidary work such as onyx, turquoise, agate and alabaster.

A generous and passionate teacher, Elsie taught drawing and sculpture privately, at the North Shore Community Arts Center in Great Neck, and for the past thirteen years at the Garvie’s Point Museum in Glen Cove, where her classes continued until she reached 93-1/2 years of age.

Youthful in attitude all her life, Elsie Nydorf exuded a positive and humorous spirit to all who encountered her. Her last spoken word was “love.”

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions be made to the Long Island Chapter of The National MS Society, P.O. Box 1579, Melville, NY 11747-0579. Condolences may be sent to <rnydorf@guilford.edu>.

Acclaimed artist Elsie Nydorf 93, of Port Washington, died Sunday, Oct. 6, at Port’s Amsterdam at Harborside Hospice. A celebration of her life will be held at a later date.

Elsie was born Feb. 11, 1920 in Passaic, NJ, to Herman and Anna Nadel Rosenberg, the youngest of five children. She was predeceased by her husband of 56 years, Seymour; and is survived by her children, Amy (Eric) Moore, Ethan Nydorf, and Roy Nydorf (Terry Hammond); and by her grand-daughter, Alana Weiss-Nydorf.

Elsie earned a diploma in fashion illustration from the Newark Public School of Fine and Industrial Art (now Newark College of Fine and Industrial Arts) in 1936. She also studied sculpture, ceramics, and glaze chemistry there. Subsequently, she worked as an illustrator in New York, and, after answering an advertisement in the New York Times for “a person who draws well,” was hired as a fashion illustrator by Hecht’s Department Store in Washington, D.C. She met her future husband, Seymour, in a drawing class he was instructing there.

During World War II, both Elsie and Seymour worked as espionage illustrators for the United States Government’s Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and traveled to Egypt, India, and Sri Lanka (then Ceylon). They married in 1945 after returning to the U.S., eventually moving to Port Washington in 1951 to raise their family. In the 1960s Elsie was active in the Civil Rights movement and helped an African American family to historically integrate their neighborhood of South Salem.

Elsie continued to work as a full-time artist and focused on ceramic sculpture as her primary medium. Her main subject was the human figure in different guises, including portraits, nudes, socio-political narratives and whimsical play. She exhibited actively in the New York metropolitan area, and won many awards for her sculpture, including the prestigious Elizabeth N. Watrous Gold Medal for Sculpture at the National Academy of Design in New York, in 1977. One of her sculptures – a combination of world leaders – is displayed in the Newsday corporate headquarters. She also had a large sculpture of a female figure displayed at the World Trade Center, and was commissioned to sculpt various sports figures at the former Roosevelt (now Belmont) Raceway.

In recent decades Elsie became interested in gems and mineralogy, and focused on jewelry making. She excelled in creating startlingly inventive designs combining metals and lapidary work such as onyx, turquoise, agate and alabaster.

A generous and passionate teacher, Elsie taught drawing and sculpture privately, at the North Shore Community Arts Center in Great Neck, and for the past thirteen years at the Garvie’s Point Museum in Glen Cove, where her classes continued until she reached 93-1/2 years of age.

Youthful in attitude all her life, Elsie Nydorf exuded a positive and humorous spirit to all who encountered her. Her last spoken word was “love.”

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions be made to the Long Island Chapter of The National MS Society, P.O. Box 1579, Melville, NY 11747-0579. Condolences may be sent to <rnydorf@guilford.edu>.

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