Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Two Portraits of Great Grandfather

Filling in with some background information during a letter-writing hiatus from December 20, 1949 to January 5, 1950, as June enjoys Christmas break at home (with frequent dates with Art)…

My next free night I really have to do some work on my great grandfather.  I wonder if that last sentence sounded strange to you?  I mean work on his portrait.
                                                                  Art Price
                                                                  Letter to June Anderson, Dec. 15, 1949

There are two versions of this painting.

Art was unsatisfied with his first attempt at a portrait of his great grandfather George J. Werner.  He was working from a photograph of his ancestor in his Civil War uniform, posed after the war as is indicated by the Grand Army of the Republic insignia on his cap.  This is the first version of Art’s painting.

Portrait of George J. Werner, oil painting by Art Price.

Then Art tried again.  This time he painted his great grandfather against a landscape typical of the backgrounds found in some of his other paintings.

Portrait of George J. Werner, oil painting by Art Price.

Art’s great grandfather George J. Werner was born in Baden, Germany in the early to mid-1840s.  While still a boy, he and his family immigrated to the United States.  He would have been in his late teens or early twenties and probably living in New York City when the Civil War broke out.

George Werner entered the army in a brigade composed entirely of German immigrants living in New York.  He started in Company E, 20th New York Volunteer Infantry, in September 1862.  His service in the Army of the Potomac placed him at important battles in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia.  He was slightly wounded by gunshot on his right side near Cold Harbor, Virginia in July 1864.  Promoted to the rank of Sergeant, he continued his service and was present at Appomattox Courthouse at the conclusion of the war on April 9, 1865.  His service continued a few months longer, and he was honorably discharged on June 24, 1865.

After the war, records indicate that George Werner married Emma Baldwin, and he worked as a hatter in a felt hat factory and later as a letter carrier in Orange, New Jersey.  George and Emma had two sons, Herbert and Edwin.  Herbert was Art’s grandfather;  Ada Belle (Art’s mother) was his daughter.

© 2010 Lee Price

1 comment:

  1. Greetings Lee,

    We were surprised and delighted to come across this site while researching our mutual great grandfather, George Werner. Thank you so much for posting this great portrait! We would be very happy to pay the costs of a color copy suitable for framing, if that is possible.
    Best Regards,
    Dan Werner, nephew of Adabelle Werner Price