Thursday, May 22, 2014


The Prestele family moved to Amana, Iowa in 1858, including Joseph and his three sons, Joseph Jr., Gottlieb and William Henry. They did hundreds of beautifully detailed botanical, original lithographs, drawings, spiritual images and watercolors,  a nearly forgotten artistic heritage at one time until the 1970's when scholars in Germany and the US discovered Joseph Prestele's work. Below are some photos of my prints by William Henry Prestele who lived from 1838-1894. He was born in Hessen-Darmstadt after his parents left Munich, immigrated to Ebenezer, NY, and left the Amana group to become an artist in NY. He hand colored many of his father's prints as he was highly skilled. A nursery in Illinois hired him to do the same in 1867. W.H. also printed in Missouri, D.C., and Texas. In 1875 he set up a print studio in Iowa City, Iowa where he did lithography, with freely drawn lithograph crayon, under his own name not Amana Society. His daughter assisted him. In the late 1870's he published a catalog that listed 472 different titles of fruit and flower prints. All these prints below are signed W.H.Prestele. Much of his work is stored in the Nat'l Agricultural Library, his work was less detailed than his father's, but still very fine. Several places and people in Amana have collections as well. He was appointed head artist at the Pomological Division of the Dept. of Agriculture because of his creativity, and for seven years did his colorful chromolithographs till his history trail ended in 1895 when he passed in Virginia, where he rests in Arlington National Cemetery.

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