Original oil on canvas by artist Paul Bettinger.
Paul John Bettinger was born in Frankfort Corners, Spencer Township, Lucas County, Ohio on August 3, 1878 to Peter P. and Caroline “Carrie” (Kramer) Bettinger. His father was a farmer in Spencer Township until they moved to Toledo ca. 1891. There his father worked as a carpenter for the B.A. Steves Company until 1899. For approximately two years he was a partner in Howe, Bettinger & Terry, which manufactured furniture. By 1901 he was again a carpenter at the B. A. Stevens Company
Paul first showed up in the Toledo city directory in 1897, first as a bookkeeper, then as a clerk for a grocer. He then became a clerk for Howe, Bettinger & Terry. In 1901, he was a bicycle worker, then a streetcar conductor from 1902 to 1917. That year he worked for Electric Auto-Lite as a foreman. With the exception of 1921, when he was listed as a clerk for the Willys Corporation, his occupation was foreman until 1927 when it changed to painter. From 1936 to 1941, he was listed as an artist. In 1942 he became a production operator for Toledo General Manufacturing, which produced machinery. The last city directory entry showed him as an artist for Lynch Package Machinery Corporation.
Bettinger married Daisy Adams on June 17, 1902 and they had one daughter, Hilda. Daisy was a poet, writer and musician. Hilda’s daughter, Joyce Faustman, recalls that her grandparents’ home was filled with music, art and people.
Paul did not have the opportunity to study art when he began painting. He began by painting Indian heads on hide. When friends he made on his Toledo Beach streetcar line began buying these paintings, Paul started saving money to go to Chicago for art lessons.
He began to paint woodland scenes with dogs and other animals. The astounding fact about these paintings is that, at least in the beginning, he painted at night, after work, in his studio at home. These paintings were created from his imagination after living on a farm as a small boy and not from other pictures or real life.
Bettinger often visited the Toledo Museum of Art to study paintings exhibited there. Mrs. Faustman remembers that he was never able to go to Chicago for the lessons he wanted to have. His work was brought to the notice of George Stevens, the first director of the Art Museum, in 1912. Mr. Stevens gave Paul helpful criticism but also declared Paul’s work the best he had seen by a Toledo amateur. Winter landscape highlighting birch trees framed in a gold gilt frame. Overall size is 29 1/” x 35 1/2″. Image is 23 1/2″ x 29 1/2″. Very nice condition with light wear to the frame.
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