Sunday, January 15, 2017

Sentimental Sunday: Karl Pape's Art

I've been corresponding a lot recently with three grandchildren, siblings, of Karl James (Jakob Lorenz) Pape, 1889-1958, the son of my great-grandfather John Pape's brother Lorenz.  Karl is my first cousin two times removed, and his grandchildren, the three siblings, are my third cousins.

Karl was born on August 27 1889, in Duesseldorf, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany, the oldest child of Lorenz Pape (1862-1932) and his first wife Maria Henrietta Kamp (1862-1899).  Lorenz, Karl, and son/brother August, all painters, sailed from Antwerp, Belgium, on May 15, 1913, and arrived in Boston, Massachusetts, on May 27, intending to go to brother / uncle John Pape's home at 1043 Sherman Avenue in Evanston, Illinois.  They (and four more siblings who arrived in December of 1913) did live there until sometime in 1914, when the Evanston city directory shows Lorenz, Karl, and August, painters, living at 1622 Forest Avenue in Wilmette.  By May 1918, Karl was running the home decorating business on his own, out of that address.  

On July 25, 1923, Karl married Catherine Gertrude Schwall (1892-1977), "daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Simon Schwall of Ridge avenue," at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Wilmette.  Karl and Catherine were living at 1632 Central Avenue in Wilmette when Karl was naturalized on January 7, 1926.  Later that year, the first of their four daughters were born, and by the 1930 Census, Karl and Catherine were living with Catherine's parents at 804 Ridge (they died in 1935 and 1933).  Karl and Catherine were still living at this address at Karl's death on June 26, 1958.  He is buried at All Saints Cemetery in Des Plaines, Illinois.

Besides being a house painter and home decorator, Karl was a talented painter and artist.  His daughter Elizabeth told me that "Karl went to a prestigious art school in Duesseldorf; his brothers did not.  Apparently, Karl's artistic aptitude was already significant for him to attend that school."  She also told me that, "The Pape family did artistic work on the old St. Joseph church after they arrived in Wilmette."  The old St. Joseph Catholic Church was a brick building that existed from 1869 to 1939; it was torn down after the current church building was completed.

Here are some of Karl's other works:   

Mari told me, "I inherited a painting [by] my grandfather of the farm with the church and their house in the background....Painted in 1929....The white house on the left was my grandparents' home [at 804 Ridge].  The huge [red] building on the right is St. Joseph's [Catholic] Church [at the corner of Lake and Ridge]."  

Mari also sent a close-up of the signature on the painting:

Mari describes this next one as her mother "Mary Ann Pape as a teenager, sketched by her father, Karl Pape. Probably 1946. Mom said her father told her faces were not easy to sketch. She is wearing a silk blouse with a peacock he painted. My brother has the blouse in a glass frame. Still stunning after all these years."

Here is the photo of the silk blouse, sent by Mari's brother Joe:

Detail, sent by brother John:

Another painting by Karl, sent by Joe:

I found the next image in a number of auction house web sites.  It is titled  "Stormy Waters, Wilmette," a framed oil on canvas, 36" x 48.5", signed and dated 1927.  The fact that Wilmette is part of the title (Karl lived there for 40 years) makes me feel this is the same Karl Pape.

Below is a photo of Karl Pape in his 20s.

I hope to show more of Karl's art in a future post.

© Amanda Pape - 2017 - click here to e-mail me.

1 comment:

  1. Amanda, I'm very glad to have this information for our files at the Wilmette Historical Museum. Any chance we could get a high-resolution scan (say, 400 dpi, for a file that's a few Mb in size) of that photo of Karl Pape? We don't have a single photo of him in our collections. You can reach me at