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Family History, News, and Plans for the World Wide Gathering of the Pulskamps August 1-3, 2008

Story about Joseph Pfister, friend of the Pulskamp Family in Celina

Posted on June 29, 2010 - Filed Under Family history

Cousin Daniel Hart wrote recently to tell me about the loss of his mother, Mary Bea Kohnen, granddaughter of J. Henry Pulskamp. She died June 9th 2010 and left Daniel and his siblings with some wonderful pieces of the Pulskamp history. One piece he is sharing with us is the a story from a 1978 History of Mercer County Ohio. The story is a biography of artist Joseph Pfister, who grew up with the large Pulskamp family in Celina, Ohio. He is the artist who did the painting, Dulah in Red which is posted on this website.

Text from story. (Not all the text, just the story part. If you need the entire text, let me know and I will forward the full PDF to you.)

Joseph Pfister, born March 3, 1895 in Newport, Ky. (died August 16, 1952 in Cincinnati, Ohio) received his early education at the Immaculate Conception School in Celina. Then he attended the Art Institute of Chicago and on June 15, 1917 received a certificate of completion of three and one-half years of drawing, antique life, painting and still life.

Pfister enlisted in the US Army September 18, 1917 at Celina. He served in Co. A 308th Engineers in the Aise-Ainse offensive Aug. 18-30, 1918; Ainse-Marne July 28-Aug. 6, 1918, Aesle sect. defensive Aug. 6-30, 1918; Meuse=Argonne offensive Oct. 9-Nov. 11; Chateau Thiery offensive July 12, 1918. Before he was sent overseas he was trained in the Military Trade School, Washington Barracks, D.C. and was awarded a certificate of achievement from the School of Photography. It was his job to sketch or to photograph bridges or other works that were blown up by the Germans. These sketches or photographs, often made from an airplane, were rushed to headquarters where the engineers made plans for restoration so that Allied forces could move ahead. After Armistice, Pfister was assigned to the Army of Occupation. He sketched German military fortifications along the Rhine. Honorable Discharge was received July 14, 1919. Then came two year scholarship at the Beaux Arts Institute in Paris an travel in Europe. At the Versailles Peace Conference he sketched Clemmenceau, the Old Tiger of France, a work that is in France today. Returning to USA, Pfister studied anatomy for a year at Flower Hospital in New York.

His major work was portrait painting. He had his studio in Chicago, in Celina, and after 1938 in Cincinnati. Pfister’s favorite commissions were the two portraits of Don Gentile, the flying ace of World War II who completed three hundred missions, which he did for the Gentile family and for a Piqua, Ohio veterans’ organization. In 1940 he painted the portrait of Pope Pius XII, whom he had never seen. The war prevented his going to Rome, so he resorted to other portraits, photographs, and the descriptions of people who knew the pope. Most Reverent Archbishop John T. McNichols offered many helpful criticism of the work. Another portrait which was received with much publicity an acclaim was that of President Truman done in 1946.

A collection of clippings, exhibition catelogues, photographs of his works, document, by and about Joseph Pfister are in the file of the Cincinnati Art Museum Library donated by Mrs. Donald M. Wood.  She is Anna Lee Pfister Wood, daughter of Leo an Margaret Pfister, and she has the following collection of Joseph Pfister’s works in her Cincinnati home. Franklin D. Roosevelt; Federal Judge Frank L. Kloeb of Toledo; President Harry Truman; Governor John W. Bricker; John Francis Beckmeyer (?); John MacGrego (?); Dulah in Red Velvet; Miss Dulah Pulskamp; The Misses Alexandra and Mary; Miss Nathalie Fleish (?); Woman Wearing Orchids; Mrs. Albert Gearson (?); Orchids; Venus de Milo; Football Game; Expulsion; Broadway Chorus Girl (chalk); Hiawatha; Sketch for a Proposed Mural; Charcoal studies of: Josephine Pfister; Pius Pfister; Three watercolors: As You Like It — Roselinda; Falstaff; Midsummer Night’s Dream; One oil cartoon: Dorothy’s Little Boxer.

Biography of Joseph Pfister, friend of Pulskamp Family of Celina

Biography of Joseph Pfister, friend of Pulskamp Family of Celina


5 Responses to “Story about Joseph Pfister, friend of the Pulskamp Family in Celina”

  1. joe kohnen on May 6th, 2014 1:59 pm

    Joseph Pfister did a wedding portrait of my grandmother Rosemary Pulskamp(kohnen,armstrong).It is at my Dad’s(Donald Kohnen’s) house.I remember Grandma teach us how to play cards at her dining room table with that picture across from us.
    Joe Kohnen
    Defiance Ohio

  2. Ellen on May 8th, 2014 11:34 am

    Joe, can you take a photo of that painting? I would love to add it to our website.

  3. Sandra Havel on October 10th, 2015 5:51 am

    I have a picture of a polo match signed by Joe Pfister. It was in a pile of pictures we found when we cleaned our my mother-in-law’s (Connie Havel) condo last month. Might anyone be interested in it?

  4. Michael Hotng on April 21st, 2016 6:54 pm

    My parents in Coldwater, Tom and Betty (Elizabeth Josephine Ofuster) have the original charcoal study of the football game and a polo match. A number if the family members now have the pairings that were in Ann Wood’s house.

  5. Ellen on April 21st, 2016 7:58 pm

    How wonderful! I assume then, that Ann Wood has passed on? Do you know what became of the painting called Dulah in Red?

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