Karl Kappes Exhibition at Zanesville Museum of Art

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Updated Wed, Nov 16, 2011 2:22 pm
Karl Kappes, "Self Portrait"

The Zanesville Museum of Art will present the exhibit "Karl Kappes: Ohio Painter, 1861 – 1943" on Saturday, Dec. 3, with a public reception being held that day at 2 p.m. 

The exhibition features 50 paintings, watercolors, and drawings, dating from 1880 to the early 1940s. Included are numerous works on loan from prestigious private Ohio collections.

Kappes, a Zanesville native, trained in Munich and Paris, painted thousands of Ohio scenes and portraits of Ohio people, taught three generations of Ohio artists, and served as Head of the Art Department at Zanesville’s Weller Pottery beginning in 1904.

The Kappes contribution to the cultural legacy of Ohio is remarkable. His paintings were exhibited at the National Academy of Design in New York, the Royal Academy in Munich, at the Detroit Institute of Art, and at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art.

He was also a teacher, opening an art school in Zanesville in 1892, instructing the painters at Weller Pottery, then teaching out of his studio. He moved to Toledo in 1912 to find a larger audience and more stimulating environment for his work. 

This exhibition will be second solo exhibition for Karl Kappes at the Zanesville Museum of Art. The first exhibition was in 1945, two years after the artist’s death. The 1945 exhibition was occasioned by the splendid donation of more than 40 Kappes works to the Zanesville Art Institute. The donor was Mrs. Edward M. Ayers, wife of the Museum’s founder and sister to Karl Kappes. 

Kappes was born in Zanesville 150 years ago, on May 28, 1861. His parents had emigrated to Zanesville from Germany; his father, John J. Kappes, owned a busy hotel at the corner of Seventh and Main Streets in Zanesville for many years.

As Charles A. Kappes, the boy graduated as valedictorian from Zanesville High School in 1879. By that time, he had been studying art with Charles Craig in Zanesville, then at the Cincinnati School of Design, before finally moving to New York to study with William Merritt Chase at the Art Students League.

From 1883-1885, he studied in Munich, changing his first name to Karl. In 1890, the artist enrolled at the Academy Julian in Paris, then again enrolled in Munich. In Munich, he was secretary of the American Art Students League and was assigned the responsibility of hosting visiting Americans. The most famous, and probably the most outrageous, was Buffalo Bill Cody.

Kappes' subjects were Ohio people, small towns, and the beauties of woods, fields, and gardens in every season. The 10,000 paintings he completed during his 60-year career are historical documents of life in Southeast and Northwest Ohio in the early 1900s. 
 
The exhibition continues through January 28, 2012. Visit www.zanesvilleart.org for more information.

Karl Kappes, "Meditation," 1884
Karl Kappes, "The Kappes Garden," 1920
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