Wednesday, November 29, 2006

An individual - Artist Hermann Dahl

Hermann Dahl,  Betty Dahl
Odessa, DE
 Hermann Dahl, Odessa DE; Floral watercolor

People driven to create; and the spouses who make it possible by doing what needs to be done, to foster the other.

Hermann M. Dahl.  At Odessa, Delaware 23 years ago. See, in the Middletown area, south of Wilmington, south of the canal; and his wife, Betty; and sons - their Tim used to babysit for ours.

Hermann was all oils, pen and ink, watercolor. Canvases and sketches everywhere. What is left of his work? No reference on the internet that I can find.

There is a diner on Route 13, the old Route 13 - at Odessa, however. On the wall are two large paintings, like murals, of the Odessa area in colonial times before the rivers and tributaries silted up.  Who has a photograph of that so we can add to our collection here?

 Hermann did those works at the diner - his signature is right there and now nobody seems to know who he was. We asked, and did not have a camera.

  •  These flowers were a Christmas card from Hermann and the family - have to go back and re-scan, because I see the name is off.
Odessa:  There were real docks and waterways then, in Odessa in colonial times, and people traveled by boat from house to house and house to town, even before there were many good roads. Fine depictions of the times then. Here is the map. Get off the big freeway thing, turn off to the old Route 13, and stroll. Colonial main street, restored walkways. And Hermann and Betty's house, off to the side, beside it all. And stronger people than many of us are. See Hermann died some time ago.

Hermann Dahl, Odessa DE, pen and ink sketch, scene

His wife, Betty - Elizabeth - just died at 83 in July 2006, see  She is another great unsung. They had four (five?) sons, and Tim used to babysit for our Daniel. Can't find any of them either. *

*   Update 2012 -- Tim has contacted us, see comments and enjoy.

Update 2016:

See newest comment.  I had thought of redacting the name, but the comment was indeed signed, so here it is.

Thank you for your contact. In response to the question of works, see the gallery and contact options at


The tribute here is to a family just getting by, Betty working, and a hugely creative needlework person; Herman agonizing over his work, then joyous about it, then cutting it up. We have a large slashed painting of a church in Newcastle DE, blue oils, he then repaired.

Hello, Hermann and Betty. We remember. Can't find a trace on the web or in news. So here you are.


Anonymous said...

Hello... I was looking up Hermann Dahl's work and found only your reference. I'm writing a book "100 Artists of the Brandywine Valley>' and he was mentioned as a former teacher at the Wilmington Friends School. he is mentioned in out-of-print book called "Speaking for themselves," only his name is in the book, as the former instructor of artist Anna Bellenger.
you can write me back at THank you.

Bonnie said...

I knew Hermann Dahl VERY well and have many of his works: oils~watercolors~pen and ink and brilliant letters!! We were extremely close friends (along with my best friend who had been a student of his MANY years ago and I am so sad because my friend died two months ago and she would have been thrilled to meet anybody who knew Hermann as well)~

Please pardon the punctuation here as my computer has been malfunctioning~ I would LOVE to write or speak with anyone who knew Hermann and (or) his wonderful body of work!!

Hermann and his talents are definitely in need of praise~awareness~and "singing" to begin the elimination of his "unsung" status! Please contact me!! Thank you for writing about him and reading my comments~

I have missed my friend (& Betty and kids) DEARLY!!

Tracy said...

I have a painting by Hermann Dahl that was given to me by my mother in 1977. It's a small watercolor with greens, yellows and reds very similar to the floral painting above. The technique is also somewhat similar, but the composition is quite different. It is geometric, abstract, a bit surreal with suggestions of a landscape and female lips. It is one of my most treasured possessions, but I know very little about the artist and I would love to know more. I would especially like to see more of his work.

My mother is an artist who was based in Dover in the 1970s, and thus became acquainted with Hermann Dahl. I was a teenager at the time, and I admired Mr. Dahl's paintings at an outdoor art exhibition. This painting in particular caught my eye and I pointed it out to my mother. A few months later I was surprised and delighted to receive it as a Christmas present!

Mr. Dahl died a few months later, on May 1, 1978. I cut out his obituary from the newspaper and taped it to the back of the painting. It said his work was in collections of the Peale House in Baltimore and the Phillips Memorial and Corcoran galleries in Washington, DC. If anyone can tell me more I would love to hear from them!

Tim Dahl said...


I am Hermann's youngest son Timothy. I was very pleased to see this rememberance of my family. I have been very touched to find people who knew my dad as well as still want to know of him and his work. It is of course nice to see my mom remembered as well. I am interested in finding works of my dad's as I am working on a web site, so far very small. I don't know if I can get away with this, however the site is My contact information is available on that site if desired.

Anonymous said...

I have a painting that was in my parents living room called "New Jersey Farmland". I have the obituary also. I've been trying to find out the value of the painting, and have not success.

Anonymous said...


I was a Friends School student of your father, and he "saved" me during my tears there. He could always give me a gentle new persepctive on life, and guided my creativity. One summer ( I think 1961 or 62) I came to your home and your father gave me ceramics instruction a couple of afternoons a week. I loved being in your family home , seeing your father paint, and admiring your mother's quiet ways with you boys.
I bought a painting of his that summer - a wonderful intense blue and red painting called "Lights from the Chester Ferry" It was stolen from my apartment 50 years ago, and I always hope I will see it someday in someone's home I visit. (someone NOT the thief, but who came into it later)

Do you have any photographs of your father's works? Martha Greene (Phillips)