Bernice P. Reinoehl Ozmun was active/lived in Illinois, Indiana. Bernice Ozmun is known for portrait and still life painting, teaching.
Biography from the Archives of askART
Bernice Ozmun was born on 20 April 1892 in Hudson, Steuben County, Indiana, a daughter of George M. and Cora Reinoehl. Her middle initial is reported as "C" in records before 1920 and as "P" in records in 1920 and later. The Reinoehl family was living in Dekalb County, Indiana in 1900, where George was employed as a farmer. Bernice has not been located in the 1910 Federal Census, but her parents and brother were living in Hudson, where George was employed as a rural mail carrier.
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Bernice was married to Kenneth Leland Ozmun on 12 October 1912 in Cook County, Illinois. Kenneth was employed in the family business, the Chicago Mat Board Company, and held several executive positions with that company. The Ozmuns were living in Evanston, Illinois in 1917 when Kenneth completed his WWI draft registration card, and during the 1920 Federal Census. The Ozmuns were divorced before 1928 and Kenneth was remarried to a much younger woman at the time of the 1930 Federal Census of Evanston, Illinois.
Bernice arrived in New York City on the ship Ile de France on 13 November 1928 from Le Havre, France. The passenger list is the source for her birthplace and date. She is listed as Bernice "Ozman" in the 1930 census of Evanston at the same address, 905 Michigan Avenue, that is given in the 1928 passenger list and the 1939 Evanston City Directory. No occupation is given for Bernice in 1930, but her occupation in 1939 was "instr. (Chicago)". Once again, her surname is given as Ozman in the Evanston City Directory. She was possibly teaching art, though that is a guess.
The first reference to her work as an artist is in Mallett's Index to Artists Supplement in 1940, where she is referred to as Bernice Reinoehl Ozman. It is possible that the alternate spelling of her surname was intentional, as her ex-husband's parents and brother also lived in Evanston. Coincidentally, Kenneth Leland Ozmun's brother, Donald Charles Ozmun, was also married to an artist, Pauline Graff Little Ozmun.
Bernice was an artist in oils and watercolors. It is not known where she received her training as an artist. The only record of an exhibition of her work is one exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1943. She was apparently a successful artist, though, as President Harry S. Truman sat for her portrait of him in 1945. This portrait is currently in the Truman Presidential Museum and Library. In addition to the listing in Mallett, Bernice is listed in Falk's Who Was Who in American Art and Jacobsen's Biographical Index of American Artists, and may be
the "Beatrice" Ozmun listed in Davenports Art Reference and Price Guide.
A lot of paintings by Bernice Ozmun, some of which were fully signed "Bernice Ozmun", came onto the market on ebay in late 2011. Several also included an early 1940s date after her signature. Ozmun sometimes only signed her work verso, and sometimes signed both on front
and verso. The lot included oil portraits and still lifes, and watercolor still lifes.
No record of Bernice's death has been located. It is possible that she remarried or died before she could collect Social Security. There were three women in the Social Security Death Index named Bernice who were born on 20 April 1892. Their surnames were Cartier, Heisler and
Cotten. None of these women's SSAN was issued in Illinois, nor were any of them living in Illinois at the time of their deaths.
Researched, written and submitted by Kevin Daniel, University of Illinois graduate student of Library and Information Science with a focus on art Cataloging.
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