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Encyclopedia Dubuque


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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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BURKART, Helen. (Tomah, WI, Mar. 14, 1918--Dubuque, IA, Nov. 11, 2009) The daughter of Herman and Augusta (Reetz) Neuendorf, Helen married Ralph Link October 10, 1934. He preceded her in death February, 1940. She married Eugene Burkart, Feb. 21, 1942 in Kahoka, Missouri. He preceded her in death on March 3, 1999. (1) She attended Tomah, Wisconsin elementary schools and DUBUQUE SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL. Known as the "Rose Lady of Dubuque," she was a practitioner of painting on porcelain in a two-story building along Rhomberg Avenue.(2)

Her designs were spontaneous and original. She did not trace but sketched with a pointed sable haired brush right on the surface. Her favorite technique left her blossoms incomplete of some detail. "Let the viewer's eye complete the composition," said Helen. (3)

Helen discovered her talent relatively late in life. In 1976 while on a trip to Davenport, Iowa with her sister who was taking a china painting, Helen, then fifty-seven, became curious and ended up enrolling in the class. (4) With several others, she drove to Davenport once a week for instruction from an instructor who demanded no tracing.

Helen's skill soon resulted in students coming to her come in Dubuque where a three-hour lesson cost $6.00 plus supplies. She also taught had special seminars and exhibits at china painting shows each year. (5)



1. "Helen E. Burkart," Hoffmann-Schneider Funeral Homes & Cremation Service, Online: http://www.meaningfulfunerals.net/fh/print.cfm?type=obituary&o_id=457029&fh_id=10641

2. Olsen, Gary. "The Rose Lady of Dubuque," Online: http://www.garyolsen.com/RoseLadyWeb/index.htm

3. Ibid.

4. "China Painter Teachers Others," Telegraph Herald, January 1, 1992, p. 3A. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=aEyKTaVlRPYC&dat=19920101&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

5. Ibid.