Wednesday, August 28, 2013

(Not-So-) Wordless Wednesday: Another Painting by Gretchen Reis Pape, circa 1906

painting by Gretchen Reis Pape, 1906, courtesy Margaret Williams
Recently a lady named Margaret Williams sent me a message through my blog: 

In researching a painting my husband's grandmother Rose Weiland Gorman left after her death, I came across your blog about the artist Gretchen Reis Pape [1886-1947].  The painting we have is signed only G. Reis, and a note on the back reads "from Gretchen Reis, September 5, 1906".  We think it might have been a wedding gift to Rose Weiland Gorman's parents.  She was born outside of Chicago, and moved to Denver as a child...she was born in 1908 and passed away in 2006.

As a child, my husband thought this was a picture of Santa Claus after a hard night delivering gifts, getting ready to finally go to bed!  We have always wondered who the subject in the painting was, if it was based on a real person or just from the artist's imagination.

It was a blessing to find your blog, and we are happy the mystery of the painting has been solved.

Best wishes to you,

Margaret was kind enough to photograph her painting and take a close-up of the signature, and to give me permission to use both on this blog:
enlargement of the signature "G Reis 9/1/06" in the lower right corner of the painting - photo  courtesy Margaret Williams

I suggested to Margaret that perhaps the painting's subject might be a member of Rose's family (maybe a grandparent or uncle?), and she might want to compare to any photographs her husband or Rose might have had.

Rose's parents were Henry Weiland and Mary Bugner, and they did marry in Chicago on September 5, 1906 (per  Henry was born in 1882, Mary was born in 1884, and Gretchen was born in 1866.  Based on some of the names I see in the family trees on (such as Didier), I think they probably met each other through church, likely St. Nicholas in Evanston.  Perhaps Gretchen was friends with Henry's and Mary's younger sisters, both named Anna, born 1885 and 1887 respectively.

© Amanda Pape - 2013 - click here to e-mail me.


  1. Amanda and Margaret,
    This is very exciting to me. Another Gretchen painting is just fabulous. What I have will be a treat!
    Henry Weiland b. May 29, 1882 wife Mary Bugner b.1884 born Henry John Weiland to Mathias and Margaret Reinberg Weiland. baptized at St Henry’s his mother is my Gr grandmother’s sister… was my Grandmother who was also friends with Gretchen and they were all related too.
    Margaret you will like this >Gretchen Reis was born Margaret A. Reis…..1910 Evanston Directory has her listed with Reis at 808 Washington St Evanston... Henry’s brother George C. Weiland b.1880 had 6 children Uncle Jerry the youngest b. 1919
    Jerry is my dad’s 2nd cousin. In 1910 George Weiland lived at 515 RidgeRd Evanston, IL with his wife Louise Sontag Weiland with their 3 children and her father Henry Sontag and her 2 brothers Henry and Arbogast.
    If you will remember Amanda the Sontag information on the back of my G Reis painting, I am sure that Henry J Weiland came back to visit his family in Chicago/Evanston and he would have known the Sontag’s.
    They all lived at either 505 Ridge Evanston, 515 Ridge Evanston and my Weiland’s around the corner on 510 Elmwood, Evanston.

    Definetely St Nicholas people although because of all the shared relatives, Muno, Sontag, Weiland Reinberg, Zender, Windler I know that Margaret and Mathias Weiland are at St Henry’s along with Gretchen Reis, her parents (Joseph and Margaret Muno Reis), gretchen’s 2 brothers and a sister, my Grandmother Amy Zender Windler, and many more branches and neighbors.
    I have more information but absorb this and if you have any other questions please feel free to contact me.

  2. I must comment on the painting also. I love the look on the old man's face as he pours himself a little libation to go with his evening meal. His pinkie is up and it could even be his apertif after his plate of ribs seem completed. What a great picture. If he rings the bell, I wonder who would answer? I love Gretchen's works I hope we can find some more. Thank you Amanda for your blog as a means to get the word out. The Santa Claus reference is so cute and I can see him thinking that as a child. If these are from Gretchen's imagination then she had a keen sense and it is a delight. ...The stories just keep on giving... Many Thanks to Gretchen and her wonderful works of art.

  3. Margaret,

    I am a descendant of of Henry Weiland's brother, John Weiland (1873-1932). Recently I posted pictures of Rose Weiland, her brother Raymond, and her sister Evelyn Ann Weiland on They had been passed down in my family and once belonged to John Weiland and his wife Margaret Kartheiser, my great grandparents. I grew up in the house they built at 1516 Greenwood in Evanston, IL and knew Grandma Weiland as a child. I have other pictures of Weiland relations but I have not been able to identify them. Please feel free to contact me at Many thanks to Amy Windler for telling me about ABT UNK. Well done Amanda and thank you!

    Bill Lemieux

    1. Any time, Bill, and thanks! I have Margaret's e-mail and will pass this message on to her in case she does not see it here.