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Encyclopedia Dubuque


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WALTER, Joseph

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WALTER, Joseph. (Galtuer, Austria, July 5, 1865--Dubuque, IA, Sept. 18, 1946). Painter and church decorator. Walter studied art in academies of Munich, Germany and Vienna, Austria. He devoted himself to portrait painting and became well-known in art circles of Budapest, Hungary; Munich and Vienna. He came to the United States in 1901 and settled in Dubuque where he established a studio at Sixth and Main STREETS. He painted portraits of famous residents of the city and gave art lessons.

In 1905 Walter's artistic focus changed, and he devoted his life to church murals and stations of the cross. He came one of the most successful and best known proponents of ecclesiastical art in the mid-West over the next thirty years. He painted originals for and decorated 185 Catholic churches in Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nebraska, and the Dakotas. He has been credited to creating more original paintings for churches in these states than any other individual.

In Dubuque, he decorated ST. MARY'S CATHOLIC CHURCH once, ST. PATRICK'S CATHOLIC CHURCH twice and the interior of [[[HOLY GHOST CHURCH]]. In moved his studio to his home at 2625 Carroll Street and worked there during the winter on landscape paintings. He often painted a small watercolor before beginning a large oil painting of the same subject. He attempted to keep the two views together if they were sold. His subjects included the Diamond Jo boatyard, washday, Lake Peosta slough, trees in EAGLE POINT PARK and CATFISH CREEK.

Walter's paintings won many awards and were displayed in galleries in the Chicago Art Institute in Chicago, the Anderson Galleries in New York, and exhibits in Denver and Philadelphia. He retired from his church decorating business ten years before his death, but continued his other work until 1945.