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 Joseph A. Wilhelm  (1923 - 2003)

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Lived/Active: Louisiana      Known for: ship portrait, marine, harbor

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Ad Code: 4
Joseph A Wilhelm
from Auction House Records.
"Tug-W.A. Bisso"
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Marine artist, Joseph A. Wilhelm was a native of New Orleans. Wilhelm began his career as one of the country's preeminent marine ship modelers. Wilhelm's artistic skills and attention to minute details first found expression in model railroad hobby magazines. In the 1950's and 60's he was a constant contributor to the principal national railroad magazines describing detailed structures that he built for this hobby. He advanced into ship models of intricate detail and finally turned to painting on canvas as an art he joked that was "easier on my eyes".

Influenced by a childhood spent along the Mississippi River, he started painting harbor scenes that depicted the character and romance of the great merchant vessels that traded in the harbor of New Orleans. Wilhelm frequented the docks of the river, photographing and cataloguing ships for decades. He even learned to pilot a steamer. His realistic and accurate portrayals and documentation of the river and marine vessels spawned an international audience for his artwork. The large numbers and diversity of commercial vessels from countries all over the world reflected the image of New Orleans as an international city. His international popularity mirrored the images he painted. His sense of proportion, scale and understanding of ships, as well as his archive of research materials enabled him to create paintings that were crisp, clean and very distinctive in their photo-realism. His marine subjects, gathered from other ports and harbors from New York to the Gulf of Mexico and down to the Panama Canal, captured the imagination of art critics, collectors and historians.

He was featured in the classic books, "Marine Painting, Techniques for Modern Masters" and "Bound for Blue Water, Contemporary American Marine Art." His work has also been featured by the Times Picayune and on numerous magazine covers. He received numerous awards from Mystic Seaport and was named a Patron Artist for the Maritime Gallery at Mystic Seaport in Connecticut. He was regularly commissioned to do portraits by steam ship companies and collectors. Self-taught, Wilhelm was widely regarded and respected as a teacher and mentor to many artists. His well known humor and personality made him one of the most popular artists in art galleries across the country. His paintings are displayed in public and private collections worldwide.

Wilhelm died December 22, 2003 at his home in Covington, Louisiana from cancer.

Information submitted as a bulletin by: Marx David Sterbcow
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Following is the obituary of the artist, December 2003, also submitted by Marx David Sterbcow: Source is the "New Orleans Times-Picayune" where his write up was the featured obit.

"Joseph A. Wilhelm, 80, Internationally renowned local artist"

Joseph A. Wilhelm, the world renowned local artist died December 22 at his home in Covington, Louisiana from cancer. He was 80.

A native of New Orleans, Wilhelm retired from New Orleans Public Service Inc. in 1979. Wilhelm was widely recognized internationally as one of the premier marine artists of our generation. Wilhelm began his career as one of the country's preeminent marine ship modelers. His models today are widely sought after and collected. Wilhelm's artistic skills and attention to minute details first found expression in model railroad hobby magazines. In the 1950s and 60s he was a constant contributor to the principal national railroad magazines describing detailed structures that he built for this hobby. He advanced into ship models of intricate detail and finally turned to painting on canvas as an art he joked that was "easier on my eyes". His paintings are displayed in public and private collections worldwide.

Influenced by a childhood spent along the Mississippi River, he started painting harbor scenes that depicted the character and romance of the great merchant vessels that traded in the harbor of New Orleans. Wilhelm frequented the docks of the river photographing and cataloguing ships for decades. He even learned to pilot a steamer. His realistic and accurate portrayals and documentation of the river and marine vessels spawned an international audience for his artwork. The large numbers and diversity of commercial vessels from countries all over the world reflected the image of New Orleans as an international city. His international
popularity mirrored the images he painted.

His sense of proportion, scale and understanding of ships, as well as his archive of research materials enabled him to excel in paintings that were crisp, clean and very distinctive in their photo-realism. His marine subjects, gathered from other ports and harbors from New York to the Gulf of Mexico and down to the Panama Canal, captured the imagination of art critics, collectors and historians.

He was featured in the classic books, "Marine Painting, Techniques for Modern Masters" and "Bound for Blue Water, Contemporary American Marine Art." His work has also been featured by the Times Picayune and on numerous magazine covers. He was regularly commissioned to do portraits by steam ship companies and collectors.

Self-taught, Wilhelm was widely regarded and respected as a teacher and mentor to many artists. His well known humor and personality made him one of the most popular artists in art galleries across the country.




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