Karl Kappes (1841-1943) was born in Zanesville, OH just six weeks after the start of the Civil War and would live to be a prodigious artist who passed away in Toledo, OH in the middle of another war – World War II. He was often reported to cite a “an old Chinese saying” that no man is an artist until he has painted 10,000 pictures. “I am an artist” he would add. During his lifetime, he produced thousands of oils, watercolors, and pencil drawings. His widow reported that at the time of his death he held at least 2,000 of his works in his apartment in Toledo.
Kappes was a committed artist who studied art seriously and serially over many years with renowned artists of the era such as William Merritt Chase, himself trained at the Royal Academy of Art in Munich. Kappes first painted in that tradition of life-like representational art, and became especially noted for lively portraits filled with personality of the subject. Upon return to Ohio, his work in a commercial pottery firm led him to teach and create designs that remain to this day as exceptional examples of fine arts “pottery”. And like many artists of his time, his style and subjects would evolve, leading Kappes to be recognized for his interests and skill in his own style of impressionistic paintings.
Kappes developed a rich and large portfolio of life-like portraits and colorful landscapes, many of which were donated by the artist to the Zanesville Museum of Art and are currently on display in our Dr. and Mrs. Carl A. Minning, Jr. Gallery and Dr. and Mrs. Juan Lacerda Gallery.
This work, Sketching Near Studio – Texas, Ohio is displayed as part of #CelebrateOhioArts, 2017.