Dan Piel was a former member of Cal Poly’s Art and Design faculty. After a long career in advertising on Madison Avenue in New York City, Piel went to teach at Washington State University in Pullman. He was hired as a graphic design instructor at Cal Poly in 1980 and later taught drawing and painting as well.
“Dan Piel’s years in the advertising business helped develop him into a consummate salesman who could charm your socks off,” said Chuck Jennings, art and design professor emeritus. Jennings fondly remembers Piel and his good humor.
Piel is widely known in San Luis Obispo as the artist who painted the huge “Mozart” in the Cal Poly Theatre. His large portrait of President Lyndon B. Johnson hangs in the Johnson Library in Austin, Texas, and his portraits of Chief Joseph hang in the Nez Perce County Museum in Lewiston, Idaho. A portrait series, titled “From Lincoln to Lenin”, first exhibited at Cal Poly in the 1980s was purchased by the Lavignes/Bastille in Paris.