Cincinnati Art Club & Wessel Gallery, 1021 Parkside Place, Cincinnati, OH 45202 513‑241‑4591

History - Lost and Found Tambola

Lost and Found Tambola Panel

Once when Norman Doane, Club President 1941-1943, was visiting Herman Wessel in his Walnut Hills studio, he did what he should have years before, he asked Mr. Wessel to tell him about the Tambola. Mr. Wessel gave a complete picture of the subject. Only one question he could not answer, "Where was the Panel and who was the owner?"

A number of years later, Doane was invited to have dinner with Mr. and Mrs. Joseph A. Verkamp and their daughter, Mary. After dinner, the conversation, as could be expected, turned to Cincinnati art and its artists. During the conversation, Mrs. Verkamp told of an old painting that for years had been stored in the attic of the stable now used as a garage. The more she spoke of the painting, the more sure Doane became aware Mrs. Verkamp was describing the long lost Tambolia.

After telling Mrs. Verkamp that it could be the missing Tambolia Panel, he was invited back to view it, and a few days later, the panel was in the Music Room. At first glance, Doane knew at long last the Tambolia Panel was found. The plywood panel showed that it had been stored in a barn.

It was not on a board of good solid wood, but 1890 plywood. The different sections of the board had separated and needed to be glued back solid as soon as possible if the historical work of art was to be passed on to future generations. Doane came to an understanding with Mrs. Verkamp that he would do the restoring and preservation at no cost if she would give him permission. Thus began the long and tedious work of making the old look new.

There was a great deal of preservation and little restoring to be accomplished on the panel to bring it back as it was in 1897. There was a ring, two and one half inches in diameter on the painting which looked as if some hot object had been placed on it making a blister shape ring. After six weeks of hard, nervous and enthusiastic work, Doane completed the task.

We thank Norman Doane for all the work he put into the task of preserving a very interesting period of Cincinnati art and the city's great artists.

Tambola Panel of 1897
Like an entire exhibition, this single panel provides examples of the styles and subjects then in vogue. With astounding intricacy, 29 tiny paintings were painted by Art Club artists, including, left to right, top to bottom: Artus Van Briggle, Dwight Huntington, Albert Robert Valentien, Matthew Daly, George Debereiner, William Dietz, John Rettig, Edward Henry Potthast, Henry Mosler, William Jacob Baer, Robert Frederick Blum, William Verplanck Birney, William Henry Drake, Charles T Webber, Joseph Henry Sharp, Kataro Shirayamadani, William McCord, Charles Courtney Curran, Frank Duveneck, Otto Walter Beck, Edward Smith Butler, W Purcell McDonald, Martin Rettig, Lewis Henry Meakin, Henry Farny, Anthony Biester, Raphael Strauss, John W Dunsmore and Vincent Nowottny.

Tambola Panel of 1894
Each vignette was signed and dated by twelve prominent Cincinnati artists which included, from left to right, top to bottom: Avery Sharp, Arthur Le Boutillier, Kataro Shirayamadani, Edward Henry Potthast, Henry Farny, Thomas Corwin Lindsay, Charles T Webber, John Rettig, Albert Robert Valentien, Martin Rettig, Lewis Henry Meakin and John Reilly.

The artists who decorated these tambola panels were all "first generation" Cincinnati artists and contemporaries of Frank Duveneck, some of them founding members of the Art Club. As such, they contributed immensely to the artistic development of the region.

— Paraphrased from document handsigned and dated by Mary T. Verkamp, March 24, 1988.