Mary Nohl’s House
Fox Point, Wisconsin
Mary Nohl (1914-2001) studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She was a jewelry maker, sculptor, and painter. Her most well-known work, however, is her family home on Lake Michigan. After her father’s death, Nohl began transforming the house and surrounding property using materials at hand. She melted down her mother’s silver service and collected debris that washed up on shore. She made sculptures from eggshells and chicken bones. She created driftwood figures, windmills, and glass chimes. She painted the furniture, carpets, and walls. She drew mazes, carved logs with a chainsaw, and created enormous heads out of cement.
Among local children, Nohl became known as “The Witch of Fox Point,” and the artwork suffered vandalism over the years. Although Nohl left the entire art environment to the Kohler Foundation with instructions to leave the art where it was built in situ, several new lakefront neighbors have fought having such an attraction nearby. The property was listed on the National Register of Historical Places in 2005. Despite ongoing disputes, the Kohler Foundation began a major restoration in 2015.
Nohl’s name appears several times in the sculpture garden.
Biography and photos
Video Mary Nohl: A Life’s Work by Kohler Foundation Inc.(13 minutes; 2001)