The following information was compiled and submitted by Sharon Theobald:
From 1867 to 1871, the Allen County Gazetteer and Fort Wayne Directories list only one artist, Joseph H. Dille. Because of his extended stay in this area and his large output of work, he came to be regarded as the town's leading artist and was looked upon by many as Fort Wayne's "old master". He painted landscapes, still lives, and portraits, and as a partner of Augustus V. Crane, photographer, he tinted photographs and painted with oil colors over photographic prints.
The records show that Joseph H. Dille, was a painter who lived from 1832 -1918 and painted in Indiana and was known for his still live and naive portraits. He was born near Cleveland in 1832. His family had arrived in this country from Alsace-Lorraine, not long before, settling in northern Ohio where Joseph grew up.
The next bit of research brings him to Fort Wayne, in 1854, he married Carrie I. Hedges. After his wife's tragic death, he moved to Goshen, Indiana, where he embarked on his career as a painter and married his second wife, Libby Crane. In 1865, he returned to Fort Wayne with is family and it is here where most of his work was done, and here his son Ralph worked and grew to be a painter as well.
Working in a neat meticulous technique, Dille produced portraits that appealed to his Fort Wayne and Allen and Elkhart County patrons. One of his best Fort Wayne portraits is that of Thomas H. Swinney, and preserved in the historical museum; another is the canvas bearing the likeness of Mrs. John G. Olds, dated 1869, also in the historical museum and a work of comparable merit.
Reference Source, Peat, Wilbur D. Pioneer Painters of Indiana. Art Association of Indianapolis. 1954.