Monday, October 10, 2011

Bartsch smartsch.

unnamed, W. Bartsch, 15" x 18", oil on canvas

This was an ebay find. It was presented as the work of Wilhelm Bartsch (1871-1953) and the signature does somewhat resemble his signature, but this painting is done on a commercially produced American canvas, and Bartsch was a German painter with no records to indicate that he ever painted in the US. I doubt that this is his work.
The stretcher bears an 1886 patent date, but I doubt that this painting is so old. It more likely dates to around 1900-1920 and is in a European style. I think it is more likely the work of an immigrant named Bartsch, but would be happy to be proved wrong.

Polzer puzzler

unnamed, Joe Polzer, 9" x 15", watercolor

This was a thrift shop find. It is in a Mission style oak frame with wavy old glass and I think dates from the 1920s or 1930s. I could not find any record of this artist, though there were several men named Joe or Joseph Polzer in the early 1900s. This is a fairly decent watercolor, so likely not this artist's only work. There are some light pencil notations on the back of the watercolor, framing instructions and a name and address that reads "Mrs. J. Roth, 203 So 25th St., Call Wed.".  There is no telephone number, so my guess is that Mrs. Roth planned to call in person.


I was contacted by Mr. Polzer's granddaughter and with her information and information from census and other records the following biography was created.

Joseph J Polzer Jr. was born on 18 September 1890 in Omaha,Nebraska, son of Austrian immigrants Joseph and Mary Weiss Polzer, and died on 7 September 1966 in San Gabriel, CA. He was married to Ruth Irene Roth on 6 February 1917. He was working as a painter in 1910 in Omaha. Joseph and Ruth were living in Rapid City, SD in 1920 where he was employed as an interior decorator. They were in Los Angeles by 1930 where Joseph was working as foreman, telephone. They had children Louis A and Jo Ann.  Joe was an active member of Telephone Pioneers and participated in local area art shows, especially during the early sixties around Alhambra, Temple City and San Gabriel, CA. He was active as a painter in oils and watercolors for most of his life, often selling paintings. He is buried in the Resurrection Cemetery in San Gabriel. According to his granddaughter, his signature changed over time. My painting was done early in his career. I will add him to the California Artists page of my art collection web site, since he lived and worked there for many years.