Angela Lahs Gonzales Biography

Angela Lahs Gonzales was born in Düsseldorf, Germany in 1935. Her parents, Curt and Marianne Lahs, were both artists. Curt Lahs was born in 1893 in Düsseldorf, Germany and was a member of the "Junge Rheinlander" group founded by Johanna "Mutter" Ey, who were active from 1919 to 1929. In 1928 he taught at the Volkskunstschule, Düsseldorf and in 1929 he became director of the Academia de pintura y esculera, Instituto de Bellas Artes, Medellín, Colombia. He returned to Volkskunstschule, Düsseldorf in 1930, but was dismissed from his teaching post by the Nazis, Branded a "Degenerate Artist" in 1933. Gonzales's mother, Marianne (Ari) Lahs (nee Matthiae), was born in 1910 in Dessau, Germany. She began painting and drawing at an early age, having been inspired by the Dessau Bauhaus artists like Kandinsky, who encouraged her to attend art school in Berlin. When she graduated high school, she traveled to Berlin to become a student at Staatlichen Hochschule für Bildende Künste, where she met Curt Lahs, who would become one of her professors. She and Curt Lahs married in 1934 after they were both expelled from the school by the Nazis, after they deemed their work “degenerate.” They spent the next 12 years moving around Europe--living in France, Yugoslavia, and Italy-- before returning to Germany in 1945. Curt Lahs became a professor at the university in Halle but they were again forced to leave Halle hen they were warned by a colleague of the new Communist regime's suppression of abstract artists, and in 1948 the family fled to Berlin, where Lahs was able to return to his position at the Staatliche Hochschule für Bildende Künste. Ari Lahs continued to make her art while she was mother to two children, Angela and her younger brother Christian. She rarely exhibited but produced a stunning body of work in gouache and later colored ballpoint pen.

Angela Lahs Gonzales began studying art in 1945 at the Staatliche Hochschule für Bildende Künste, where she was under the tutelage of the sculptor Hans Uhlman and Wilhelm Hölter and completed her graduate studies in graphic arts with Holter in 1958. In 1959 after her father’s death, she emigrated to the United States and began work for Dr. Robert R. Wilson at the Laboratory for Nuclear Studies at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Wilson, a sculptor as well as a physicist, respected her work, and when he began the National Accelerator Laboratory (NAL) in 1967 (now Fermilab FNAL), he offered her the position of assistant to the director for art and design. Lahs Gonzales, who was employee #11 there, worked with Wilson to create the aesthetic design at the laboratory. Her mark can be seen in the colors of buildings and floors, publications, posters and even some architecture. Lahs-Gonzales also designed the Fermilab's iconic logo, which was based on the shape of the Lab’s dipole and quadrupole magnets. While at Fermilab, she also developed the lab's color scheme, favoring rich primary colors like red, orange, yellow and blue. During her tenure, Lahs Gonzales designed and created hundreds of publications, laying each out by hand, and drew intricate pen and ink book covers which drew from Greek, Egyptian and Old Master art as well as natural history. One of her most well-known designs was the cover of the 1968 NAL Design Report, which featured Leonardo da Vinci's Vitruvian Man inside a representation of the Main Ring accelerator, which caused some consternation among a few employees for its depiction of nudity. Lahs-Gonzales’s legacy can still be seen around the Fermilab campus, and can also be viewed in their archives here at, and also here:, and here: