William Kaether, Dec. 1917

Who is William Kaether?

It’s a question I’ve asked myself more than a few times since I married Jonathan. That’s when Mr. Kaether’s painting joined the household we started together.

The painting is rendered in oil of a late fall-early winter scene. A broken down fence next to a slow-moving stream gives the painting (to my eye) a gloomy, melancholy air. The atmosphere seems still and attuned to winter, although it could just be dirty and in need of cleaning. The work is, after all, almost 100 years old. I know this because Mr. Kaether signed it “Dec. 1917.” The painting is heavily crackled and the frame looks to be old, probably the original one. It came to us through Jonathan’s grandparents who owned an antique shop in Florida.

I’ve casually Googled William Kaether, but haven’t run across him yet. Perhaps someone with more time and more investigative skills can tell us more. But I tend to think of Mr. Kaether in the most friendly of terms—wondering who he was, what he did (other than paint) and what he might think of his long-ago winter scene and of us, this family of tumbling children and tired parents who live on the edge of the Denver plains.

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