Female, born 07/17/1902, died 01/10/1988

Professional History

Baranceanu did at least three notable murals for the Works Progress Administration in the 1930s. Her first painting was Scenic View of the Village," executed for the US Post Office in La Jolla, CA, (1935-36). She worked murals depicting construction of the first Mission Dam ("Building Padre Dam") and "Gaspar de Portola's Departure" illustrating his journey north from San Diego to map and colonize the natives at Roosevelt Junior High School in San Diego, CA, between 1934-1941; she painted these murals on canvas. They were removed from the school and stored temporarily at the San Diego History Center, to be hung in the Museum of San Diego History, Balboa Park. Her largest work was the casein mural on plaster, "The Seven Arts," painted for the La Jolla High School Auditorium's proscenium (1939-1940). This painting was destroyed after earthquake damage rendered the building unusable.

Instructor, American Boys Commonwealth, Chicago, IL; Instructor, Deborah Club, Chicago, IL; Instructor, Hebrew Schools of the Board of Jewish Education, Chicago, IL; Instructor, Jewish People's Institute, Chicago, IL; Instructor, San Diego School of Arts and Crafts, San Diego, CA, 1946-1951; Art Instructor, Francis Parker School, San Diego, CA, 1946-1969.

President, San Diego Art Guild, San Diego, CA, 1950;

Building Padre Dam and Portola's Departure


B.F.A., School of Art, Minneapolis, MN,1924. Here she studied under painter Anthony Angarola (1893-1929). Coursework, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL, 1925; she continued to study with Angarola here, as well as with painters Morris Davidson (1898-1979), Cameron Booth (1892-1980) and Richard Francis Lahey (1893-1978).


Born in Chicago, IL, her parents split up when Belle was young. She spent her youth on a farm in ND, and received her art training in Minneapolis, MN, in the early 1920s. She subsequently lived in Los Angeles, CA, (1927-1929), and back to Chicago. Baranceanu received a Guggeneheim Fellowship in 1929 to travel through Europe. She returned to live in Chicago, before moving to San Diego, CA, where she remained for the rest of her life. She died in nursing home in La Jolla, CA, at the age of 85.

Her parent were Jews who emigrated from Romania; her father was Abram Goldschlager, her mother, Mary Agnes (Baranceanu) Goldschlager. They remained married only a short time before separating.

Belle Baranceanu never married. It is thought that Baranceanu was bisexual, with a preference for women. (See Bruce Kamerling, "Belle Baranceanu (1902-1988),"Accessed 12/14/2010.)

She had no children.

Associated Locations

  • Chicago, IL (Architect's Birth)
    Chicago, IL

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  • La Jolla, CA (Architect's Death)
    La Jolla, CA

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PCAD id: 1136