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John J. Lanzendorf (born 1946) is an American hairstylist who amassed one of the world's largest collections of dinosaur-themed artwork.[1] The collection is now owned by the Children's Museum of Indianapolis.[2]

Lanzendorf lives in the Gold Coast neighborhood of Chicago. During the 1970s and 1980s, he earned a reputation as one of the favorite hairstylists of Chicago's socialites. He worked with the fashion photographer Victor Skrebneski and had his own studio on Chicago's Oak Street. Recently, he has cut hair at a Gold Coast salon called Timothy Paul.[3]

Lanzendorf had begun collecting dinosaur-related items as a child, when he found a small plastic dinosaur toy in a cereal box.[4] After recovering from cancer in the early 1990s, he started purchasing sculptures, paintings, and drawings from some of the best-known paleoartists, such as James Gurney, John Gurche, and Michael Skrepnick.[3] He also acquired drawings from the University of Chicago paleontologist Paul Sereno, who became a close friend.[5] By 2000, he owned about 500 pieces,[3] which he kept in his one-bedroom apartment.[6]

In 2000, Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History displayed about seventy of Lanzendorf's Tyrannosaurus sculptures and paintings to complement the grand opening of their Sue the Tyrannosaurus exhibit.[4] That same year, a coffee table book about Lazendorf's collection, Dinosaur Imagery, was released by Academic Press. The book included a foreword by paleontologist Philip J. Currie and commentaries on the collection from other dinosaur researchers.[7][8][9]

Lanzendorf sold his dinosaur collection to the Children's Museum of Indianapolis in 2001. He then redecorated his apartment with Asian art. Lanzendorf told an interviewer that he developed an interest in Asian artifacts after visiting fossil sites in Mongolia.[6] He continues to support dinosaur artists with the Lanzendorf PaleoArt Prize, awarded through the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology.[10]


  1. ^ Kathy Kaplan. "Jurassic at home; living with dinosaurs in the 20th century". Chicago Tribune. May 11, 1997. 24. "Take John Lanzendorf, a Chicago hairstylist, who began buying dinosaurs (plastic ones) when he was 9 years old. Now, 40 years later, after much research, many lectures and meetings and much traveling, his is among the largest collections of dinosaur fine art in the world, says Donald Glut, an expert on dinosaurs and author of more than 25 books on the subject."
  2. ^ Dinosphere at The Children's Museum of Indianapolis: Gallery of Dinosaur Imagery. Retrieved on November 21, 2008.
  3. ^ a b c Mary Daniels. "Lost world found; It's in this extreme collector's Gold Coast apartment where period decorating takes on a whole new meaning". Chicago Tribune. May 14, 2001. Home and Garden, 1.
  4. ^ a b Nancy Moffett. "Field to show dino-mite art". Chicago Sun-Times. April 9, 2000. 19.
  5. ^ Mary Houlihan-Skilton. "Collector exhibits a huge passion for dinosaurs". Chicago Sun-Times. November 27, 1998. 26.
  6. ^ a b Lisa Skolnik. "The serial collector; To enliven his one-bedroom apartment, John Lanzendorf amasses a staggering number of artifacts. Then he starts over." Chicago Tribune Magazine. January 28, 2007. 24.
  7. ^ Dale A. Russell. "Dinosaur Imagery" (Review). American Scientist. July/August 2001. Volume 89, Issue 4. 368.
  8. ^ Lawrence M. Witmer. "Science, art, and dinosaurs" (Review). Science. October 20, 2000. Volume 290, Issue 5491. 460.
  9. ^ Gilbert Taylor. "Dinosaur Imagery: The Lazendorf Collection" (Review). Booklist. September 15, 2000. Volume 97, Issue 2. 195.
  10. ^ Lanzendorf PaleoArt Prize. Retrieved on November 21, 2008.


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