Marion Stiebel Siciliano, fled Germany with her family in 1938. She settled…
Marion Stiebel Siciliano, an abstract painter and philanthropist who was active in environmental causes and inner-city development, died July 17 at her Beverly Hills home. She was 86.
FOR THE RECORD: Marion Stiebel Siciliano:
An earlier version of this article misspelled Marion Stiebel Siciliano's maiden name as Steibel.
The cause was complications of a stroke, said her son John.
Siciliano was a self-taught artist who began painting in 1969. In a major show at Cal State L.A.'s Luckman Fine Arts Complex in 1997, she displayed what Times art critic William Wilson described as a "hard-edge abstract style" that bore the influences of the German Bauhaus and artists such as Frank Stella and Ellsworth Kelly.
"It's solid, intelligent, sometimes playful stuff that manages to convey great pleasure in the doing and a likable lack of larger ambition," Wilson wrote.
The critic characterized Siciliano as a "something of a semi-pro" because she was not a full-time artist. She had a thick resume of civic involvements that included being a board member of the Center for Law in the Public Interest and the Economic Resources Corp./Watts Industrial Park, a nonprofit devoted to stimulating minority businesses and job growth in South Los Angeles.
In the 1980s she also chaired TreePeople a group focusing on the greening of Los Angeles.
Descended from a prominent Austrian Jewish banking family, Siciliano was born in Frankfurt, Germany, on Aug. 9, 1924. After Hitler rose to power, she fled Germany with her family in 1938, eventually settling in Boston.
After earning a bachelor's degree in library science from Simmons College in Boston, she spent the war years in Washington, D.C., cataloging classified documents for the Research and Intelligence Division of the State Department.
In 1947 she married Rocco Siciliano, a Georgetown law school graduate who later held positions in the Eisenhower and Nixon administrations. They moved to Beverly Hills in 1971 when he was named president of Ticor, a financial services company.
Fifty-five years after fleeing Germany, she returned to Berlin as a guest of the German government to show her paintings at Berlin's historic Rotes Rathaus.
In addition to her husband and son John, she is survived by daughters Loretta and Maria, sons A. Vincent and Fred, seven grandchildren and a great-granddaughter.
A memorial service will be held at 5 p.m. Aug. 21 at the Skirball Cultural Center.