August Wendt and Giacomo Rosa were fresco painters. Italian immigrant Giacomo Rosa (1871 savings account) worked in churches, painting religious-themed murals.
August Wendt, a German immigrant, opened a savings account with Dollar Bank in 1893. Shortly after that, he moved to St. Louis, where he opened his own interior decorating shop, specializing in wallpaper and fresco paintings. Wendt created decorative paintings inside homes and churches.
Jules A. Burgun (1880 savings account) was a Belgian glass decorator who worked for many years at Charles Reizenstein’s china and glassware firm. Glass engraver Edward Marschner (1880) was born in Germany.
Architectural sculptor Arthur Albert Raison (1891), an English immigrant, was also a deaf-mute. Metal sculptor Raimund Yanda (1893), born in France, designed a carousel for a local amusement company.
Artist and illustrator Pierre W. Paulin listed his occupation as “glass designer” when he opened a savings account at Dollar Bank in June 1910. Born on the North Side, Paulin attended Pittsburgh’s Stevenson Art School and the Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia. In 1915, he was awarded the Hewlett Memorial Art Fellowship from the Design School at the Carnegie Institute of Technology. His brother, Victor Philip Paulin, was the president of Whipple Art Glass Company in Cleveland.
Susan Irwin Haymaker’s savings account was opened in trust for her (along with one for her younger sister, Marion) in June 1885, by family friend Morris S. Nemer, a civil engineer. The Haymaker girls’ father, Obadiah, had been killed in a gas well riot in Westmoreland County in 1883, leaving his widow, Ann, with five young children to care for.
Susan Irwin Haymaker was one of 20 female artists whose works were displayed at the Carnegie Art Institute’s exhibition in 1910. Earlier that year, she sold one of her watercolors, “Lighthouse at Gragiot Point, Lake Erie,” at the first Associated Artists’ Exhibition, held at the Grand Opera House. In 1912, she took a trip to Europe, sketching the cities of Antwerp and Bruges.
Haymaker shared a studio with artist Mary Ethel McAuley in the McCance Building at the corner of Seventh and Smithfield Streets. Haymaker and McAuley were part an experimental group of female painters, all Pittsburghers. The Joseph Horne Co. hosted an exhibit of their paintings in 1913. Haymaker later moved to New York City and, in 1926, married Josef Lenhard, a Czech painter and illustrator.
Other painters who opened accounts with Dollar Bank were Jennie E. Chambers (1877), John R. Bowes (1893), Alonzo B. DeLo (1898), Emory Ellsworth Synder of Nebraska (1912), and French-Canadian immigrant Ida Didier (1898), who gave French lessons to supplement her income as an artist.
Rawsthorne Bros., a printing and engraving firm, was founded in Pittsburgh in the 1880s by a family of immigrant engravers. The Rawsthornes left Manchester, England in 1879 and settled in Pittsburgh. Robert Rawsthorne, Sr. became a Dollar Bank customer in 1900, as did his sons Robert Rawsthorne, Jr. (1890) and Edwin (1920). Another son, Leonard, joined his father and brothers in the United States 1883.
In Pittsburgh, the Rawsthornes ran several family-owned businesses in the fields of printing, engraving, and commercial art and illustration. From wood engraving, the traditional family skill, they expanded into photo engraving, electrotyping, and halftone and zinc cuts. On-staff illustrators included Leonard’s son, John W. Rawsthorne. (He headed Stevenson’s Art School for many years, training students in commercial illustration in the early 1900s.) Robert Rawsthorne, Jr. and his wife hosted annual company banquets at their home on LaBelle Street in Mount Washington.
Walter L. Spencer (1891) ran a jewelry engraving business, Spencer Bros., with his brother Arthur. By hand, they created custom designs and messages on precious family mementos such as baby spoons, silver cups, wedding rings and other jewelry.
Edgar Forest Wolfe (1903) was a sports writer and cartoonist for the Philadelphia Inquirer for nearly 20 years in the early 1900s, working under the humorous pen name of Jim Nasium. Wolfe got his art training in both Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. Before he joined the Inquirer, he managed the art departments at the Pittsburgh Press and Pittsburgh Dispatch. Under his own name, he wrote sports-oriented feature articles for magazines such as Nation’s Business, The Saturday Evening Post and Literary Digest. In 1922, he became the editor of Sporting Life. His daughter, Brighta Wolfe Dunn, became a portrait artist.
Charles Kwalwasser (1915), known around town as Charlie Kaye, was a comedian and dancer in his youth before he found his real niche – designing uniforms. From waitresses at department store restaurants to hotel bellhops and church ministers, many Pittsburghers wore garments fashioned “by Kaye.” Kwalwasser attended art and design schools in both Pittsburgh and New York City. He joined Kaufmann’s in 1935 in a department that specialized in designing uniforms. While at Kaufmann’s, he created uniforms for employees at the H.J. Heinz Company. In 1951, he opened his own small business, Artcraft Uniform Company, on Penn Avenue. He was the uncle of acclaimed violin soloist Helen Kwalwasser.
The Scalp Level School
The Scalp Level School painters were a group of Pittsburgh-area artists who visited and painted landscapes inspired by the natural beauty of the area around Paint Creek in Cambria County, Pennsylvania. Starting in the late 1860s, every summer, for the next several decades, the location hosted dozens of artists clad in straw hats and toting shade umbrellas and sketching stools.
Among the Scalp Level artists who were Dollar Bank customers were:
George Hetzel (1866) was a European-born painter who founded the Scalp Level School.
Alfred S. Wall (1864), from Westmoreland County, was one of several artists in his family.
Pittsburgh native Martin B. Leisser (1884), a second-generation Scalp Level School painter, was known as “the dean of Pittsburgh artists.”
J.J. Gillespie & Co.
No discussion of the early arts community in Pittsburgh would be complete without acknowledgement of the firm of J.J. Gillespie & Co., the oldest art gallery in America. Before the inception of public art galleries in Pittsburgh, J.J. Gillespie & Co. filled the role of a gathering place for artists and exhibitions of their works.
As an 1868 Pittsburgh newspaper put it, J.J. Gillespie & Co. was the “art headquarters of Western Pennsylvania.” The firm bought and sold fine works of art, managed exhibitions in locales other than its own, advised wealthy Pittsburghers on building their art collections, and was one of the first stops for out-of-town portrait painters when they arrived in Pittsburgh on assignment to capture the likenesses of the city’s industrialists.
The namesake of the firm, John Jones Gillespie (1816-1886), was born in Milton, Pennsylvania. He arrived in Pittsburgh in 1831 and took a job as a clerk with Vorhees & Barche, a looking-glass and notions shop, on Wood Street. He became a partner in the firm in 1838 and eventually its proprietor. Gillespie expanded the store’s offerings from looking-glasses to paintings, engravings and other works of art. The company published the first lithograph west of the Alleghenies, and in 1845 began offering the services of framing, gilding and picture restoration.
A painting by self-taught African American artist Robert S. Duncanson, “Cliff Mine, Lake Superior” (1848), was exhibited at J.J. Gillespie & Co. in 1852. The work had been commissioned by Methodist minister and Pittsburgh abolitionist Charles Avery.
While Gillespie made annual trips to Europe to bring back art treasures from that continent, he encouraged and supported local talent. He was on the exhibition committee of the Pittsburgh Art Association, which held its first show in January 1860; was a friend of social realist painter David Gilmour Blythe (1815-1865), who illustrated a storefront view of Gillespie’s Gallery on Wood Street; and opened his premises to exhibitions of paintings by artists from the Scalp Level School. In 1868, painter and art critic Alfred S. Wall joined J.J. Gillespie & Co. as a partner in the firm.
Gillespie lived in Evergreen Hamlet, a bucolic community in Ross Township, where he bought the former Wade Hampton house in 1867. He was married for nearly 52 years to Eleanor Moore Gillespie. The couple raised six children.
J.J. Gillespie was a Dollar Bank Trustee from 1863 through 1886.