Home is where the Art is
Most of us abandon our homes every weekday to ply our trades, but for a creative few, the magic happens hearthside.
Cincinnati has a rich artistic heritage. In the 19th century, the city was a rapidly growing manufacturing center and a gateway to the west. An interest in developing Cincinnati into an urbane and sophisticated metropolis led to the birth of enterprises such as the Cincinnati Art Museum, Music Hall, Rookwood Pottery, McMicken University (later the University of Cincinnati), and the McMicken School of Drawing and Design (later the Art Academy of Cincinnati). The growth of a wealthy elite and a prosperous middle class created the demand for quality art. Artists flocked to Cincinnati to fill that demand, and for many years, the Queen City was considered an important art center, producing a stellar cast of prominent artists.
Over the years, numerous homes in Cincinnati have housed the studios of working artists, and we visit three of them, as well as their current occupants and caretakers, in these pages. The homes of Charley and Edie Harper, Herman and Bessie Wessel, and John Hauser—all artists linked by a common thread to the Art Academy of Cincinnati—still exist today. What also exists is the legacy these artists have left us—their lingering personalities in the homes where they followed their muses, and the art that was born of their inspiration.