Keats Lorenz - Woodcarver
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JMorris



Joined: 16 Sep 2007
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2007 7:58 pm    Post subject: Keats Lorenz - Woodcarver Reply with quote

I discovered this site while doing a search for Keats Lorenz. I am his great-niece. I never had the opportunity to meet him as he passed away long before I was born. My family is in possession of a couple of Keat's small pieces. I am very interested in getting more but I have no idea where they may be or if I could afford them if I were to locate them. I'm afraid I don't have much information about the man or his trade to offer, but I would love any information anyone can share with me about this notorious member of my family. Thank you!
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rbfoy



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Location: Metropolitan Boston

PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2007 10:04 pm    Post subject: keats Lorenz Reply with quote

Sorry, but I do not know who Keats Lorenz was. Could you fill us in? Many thanks, ROsemary
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johnleeke
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Location: Portland, Maine, USA

PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2007 6:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jennifer:

I'm sorry I missed your message earlier.

I have a few of his carvings myself, and many of his books, working drawings and even some of his carving tools. I am currently researching his life and works, so would like to know more about the carvings you have.

Here is a brief bio of Keats and how I got to know him when I was a kid.

Keats learned traditional English woodcarving (1900-1915) in Boston and New
York shops, and worked in the Boston architecture office of Cram, Goodhue and
Ferguson as a stylist and modeler of classical details. He did architectural
woodcarving for prominent buildings throughout the mid-west (1915-1960) from
Dallas to Chicago including the famous Indian Doors of the east senate chamber
in the Nebraska Capitol Building (that huge Art Deco tower designed by
Goodhue). He taught my father woodcarving and woodworking in the 1920s.
I knew Keats when I was a child in the 1950s, though I did not learn woodcarving
directly from him. I can recognize his work because my father sent me out on
many, many sketching and modeling assignments, recording and studying his
work. By the time I was 14, I was the woodcarver in my father's shop. When
Keats passed away his wife called me and my father out to his shop. She said
Keats wanted me to have his carving tools because he knew that in my hands
they would continue in the good work of making the world a better place to
live. There are 300 or so chisels of every description including some custom
made. She also gave me several of Keatsí sketch books, work books and
architectural reference books. She then advised me to go "back East" where my
work would be better appreciated, which I did. In my research for this little
biography on Keats I notice that he worked in Maine for a few years, which is where I have
landed some 80 years later. As you can imagine, Keats and his tools continue
to inspire me in my woodworking and historic preservation work.

I'll post more on Keats later. I have lots of stories, photos etc.

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by hammer and hand great works do stand
by pen and thought best words are wrought
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JMorris



Joined: 16 Sep 2007
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 8:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

John-
I'm very happy to hear that so many of Keat's tools, books, sketches, etc. are being put to such wonderful and inspiring use. Although, I'm a little sad that more of it didn't stay with the family.

I'm very interested to hear about the pieces you have. My sister has a panther he carved. I have a few small advertisements for some of his pieces and saw similar tigers and lions he has sold. I have searched the internet a few times just hoping I'd get lucky, but no luck. Do you realize how much pops up when you search for "wood carved lion"? I've examined the one we've kept in the family and can find no way that he marked his work. I have a piece that my mother says is Bacchus (God of Wine?) and she says that it was a plaster mold that Keats used in his work but I'm really not sure.

My father apprenticed for Keats for awhile, but as he's gone also, I don't have any information from him. On one of our last family trips before Dad died, we went to visit his hometown of Lincoln, Nebraska and Dad showed us where Keat's home and shop were when they were there. We also saw the Senate Chamber doors at the Nebraska State Capitol. They are truly amazing!

I will see what information I can dig up to help you. I have a small ace in the hole. Myrtle wrote a family history book and gave it to her relatives one year for Christmas (early seventies, I believe). She must've taken it from her diaries through the years. You may have it too, but I don't know. Besides family history, she often mentions her and Keat's moves, and what he's currently working on. I will see what I can find in it that may be of interest to you and post it again when I get a chance.

Thank you so very much for your time!
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johnleeke
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Joined: 20 Aug 2004
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Location: Portland, Maine, USA

PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 11:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jennifer:

Quote:
I have searched the internet a few times just hoping I'd get lucky, but no luck.


I know, it will be up to you and I to let the world know about Keats!

OK, there's a lot we can share, let's peck away at this as we have time.

Exactly, how are you related to Keats?

What years and places was your father apprenticed to Keats? Did your father become a carver or woodworker in his own right? Are there any of your father's papers or photos (or carvings?!) relating to his apprenticeship? Would your father have been writing letters to family or friends who may still have those letters? Did your father study with any other carvers?

I knew Myrtle, of course. I did not know she had written a family history. Could you send me a photo copy of it? I did read a brief journal she kept of her and Keats' wedding trip, I think it was to California. That must have been in the Nebraska Historical Society collection in Lincoln. Myrtle gave many of Keats' papers and drawings to the Society. I've been there three times studying them.

Here is a brief timeline of Keats' life. Now we can get your father's apprenticeship in here:


5/22/1889 Keats born, growing up on Long Island, east of NYC

1902 Keats first interested in carving

1903 studying at Eric Pape School School of Art in Boston
for 3 years worked days and studied at the Boston Normal Art School evenings

1910 employed at Cram, Goodhue and Ferguson, Boston as a stylist and architectural modeler

Worked at shops of sculptors: George Loesser, Hugh Cairns, Maura

Employed at Irving and Casson

? 1921 moved to Lincoln, Nebraska

? May 1922 leaving Ellis, Kansas, where he was teaching school

1924 shop and home at 2218 Sheldon St. in Lincoln

1930s in Oklahoma City

1940s in Dallas, shop at 3201-3 Oak Grove Ave.

1954 moved to Lincoln, Nebraska, shop and home at 115-121 No. 28th St.

12/1966 Keats passes away in Lincoln

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by hammer and hand great works do stand
by pen and thought best words are wrought
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johnleeke
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 7:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just realized I had this series of carving photos here on the website that show me using Keats' carving tools:

http://www.historichomeworks.com/hhw/workshop/gilding/Gilding1Design1.html

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by hammer and hand great works do stand
by pen and thought best words are wrought
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JMorris



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PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2007 4:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm sorry it takes me so long to get back to you. I sit at a computer all day at work and come home to a toddler. I usually don't have the time or desire to get on the computer at home.

To answer some of your questions:
Myrtle was my paternal grandmother's sister. My father was 61 when I was born so I did not get to meet much of his family. I do not know off the top of my head when he worked with Keats, I will see if Myrtle's book or my mother have any clues. He did not become a woodworker himself.

I will try to find out sometime what it would take to get you a copy of Myrtle's book or I will at least send you the excerpts that I think you would be interested in.

I must run for now...have a crying son. I will try to post more. Maybe after the holidays my time will free up a little.
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johnleeke
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2007 5:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jennifer:

Your timing is fine. Family first, then Keats research.

OK, that's good. What is your father's name? I could check my Lorenz research to see if he is mentioned.

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John

by hammer and hand great works do stand
by pen and thought best words are wrought
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