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Bessie Hoover Wessel

female 1889-1973
20th century
Life city:
Brookville, IN
Work city:
Cincinnati, OH
Still Lifes
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  • Franklin County

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Bessie Hoover Wessel was born in Brookville, IN in 1889, but moved with her family to Cincinnati when she was a child. She enrolled in the Art Academy of Cincinnati in 1906, and took classes there for nearly a decade, studying with L.H. Meakin and Frank Duveneck.

She was appointed to the faculty of the Art Academy in 1915, having become well-known for her skilled portrait and miniature paintings. Bessie married Herman Wessel, a colleague at the Art Academy, in 1917, at Duveneck’s cottage in Gloucester, MA.

Bessie decided to not continue teaching after returning to Cincinnati. Instead, she served as the president of the Woman’s Art Club, working to increase public recognition of, and professional support for, female artists in Cincinnati. She returned to painting professionally in the mid-1920s, concentrating in portraiture, completing over two hundred portraits before she died.

Throughout her career, Bessie chose not to compete professionally with her husband’s work, taking a more modest stance in relation to his talent. However, several critics claimed that Bessie exhibited notable talent for color choice and composition, and deserved to be considered an artistic equal of her husband’s.

Source: Skirting the Issue, by Newton and Weiss

Wessel portrait of red hawk 24x18 thumb

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