Nora Debolt - 19th Century woman artist
Have you seen this artist's signature?
For many years I have been collecting this artist, posted about her and advised about her life for what I could discover.
She is one of those unkowns that we can only speculate about, but she has a huge following, a community of admirers wishing to know
more about this 19th century artist. This lens is about her.
I have learned much. Nora's maiden name was Nora Fidelia Debolt. I found out that she lived in Riverside California in 1910 at 1473 Park Ave, (ward 5-Riverside).Apparently, this neighborhood no longer exists, as it appears that it used to be where the current Riverside 91, 60,and 215 Freeways now merge.Coincidently, my home that I grew up in, was also taken by the Santa Ana Freeway widening project many years ago.
Greg's info below is accurate. More research is on going!
UPDATE: (Thanks to Greg!)
She is not an unknown Nora Fidelia DeBolt Nafzgar had four brothers John,George,Silas and Rezin she also had a sister named Emma P.DeBolt Nafzgar.Her father's name was Silas I.DeBolt her mother's name was Elizabeth Parkinson DeBolt .Her sister married George Washington Nafzgar on Dec.24,1874.Emma gave birth to a son Earl B.Nafzgar on Aug.17,1881 Emma died Aug.26,1881. Two years after Emma's death Nora DeBolt married George Washington Nafzgar Emma's husband I suspect to help care for her sister's son Earl. I would think that if you checked around Smithville,Ohio you may find more out this is where Nora DeBolt and her younger sister Emma lived. I purchased a Nora DeBolt print titled "Resting" it is done in blue and white no other colors were used. Nora was born Oct.11,1847
ARTHUR KAPLAN Galaxy of Graphics By Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele Sunday, Jan. 30, 2000
In an age when companies fall in and out of business arrangements more frequently than Puff Daddy's name punctuates the tabloids, Arthur Kaplan is a throwback. He started his decorative-art business in Manhattan more than four decades ago, selling prints of landscapes and flowers as well as children's art. Walk into any Target or Wal-Mart or K Mart today, and you will find his framed works of largely unknown artists.
For years Kaplan maintained a warm and profitable relationship with one of London's venerable print dealers, Felix Rosenstiel's Widow & Son Ltd. "We represented them exclusively in America. They represented us in the rest of the world. They sell our products in places like Australia and South Africa. We sell theirs in the States."
Make that past tense. What severed this business association was the decision by the U.S. to impose a 100% tariff on British prints shipped to Kaplan--a tariff imposed in retaliation for European quotas and tariffs on bananas. Kaplan's is a business in which "if we sell a picture for a penny more than our competitors, we lose the sale," he says. So when the U.S. doubled the price of his British prints, Kaplan had to stop selling them.
The physical evidence of the decision is striking. Stroll through his storage rooms, and see the thousands of prints neatly arranged on metal shelves that run from floor to near ceiling, row after row. And there, sandwiched in the middle, are rows of shelves standing bare. "Those used to be filled with Rosenstiel prints," Kaplan says dejectedly. "It was a real loss to us to lose them as a supplier." His business will survive, but Kaplan has lost income and, he adds, "a [business] relationship that worked beautifully for us."
TIME ARTICLE http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,38425,00.html
My Passion for Nora
15 years ago I was at my local church thrift store looking for maybe, a couch or a chair when I discovered a beautiful print framed and matted.
The colors reached out to my artist's heart and I stood and stared, for a very long time! I had been painting for many years, and believed I had
come in to my own style, a bit of expressionism and impressionist combined.but there in that painting was my inspirations all combined in to
one gorgeous painting.
The brush strokes jumped out at me, lovingly laid down in layers to draw the eye to this or that spot of glowing light, or sweet, cool shadows.
From that moment on, I knew that she was my inspiration for all my future paintings, and perhaps my teacher too.
I studied her paintings with an eye to how she laid down the brush strokes, each color layered on top of another to build the beautiful
subjects in this painting. What impressed me the most was the cool blues, purples, and lavenders used to create the cool, sweet shadows
and the greens and yellows layered to create spots of sunlight that drew my eyes around the painting.
I had to know more about this artist!
My Journey with Nora
Teacher and Kindrid Spirit
During my time in my studio, when I would come to a point where I could not figure out what was wrong with my painting, I would study Nora's, hanging there on the wall and ask myself, "What would Nora do here?", and it was as if she spoke to me and said.."Listen to me, fellow artist, you see the area there, where there are shadows needed?..do not think in terms of browns or blacks, think of the colors in shadow ! Think of how cool, refreshing, relaxing and delightful it would be to stand among those beautiful flowers on such a hot day!"
That always did it for me, I had my answer and I reworked my painting listening to her, hearing her and watching her in my mind as she lovingly dipped her brush and placed each brush stroke.
The more I consulted her paintings, the more I learned. But as I learned about her style, I began to wonder about her life.
How did she come in to this world? Where did she live? How old was she and when did she create these paintings?
My first painting, an acrylic, 24 x 30", called "Path to the Lake" inspired by her sold as soon as it was completed. I thanked her
out loud in my mind and carry her work in my heart, always keeping her teachings deep in my artist's soul.
After that first painting sold, I had to find out more about her.
After that first painting, I went on a journey to find out more about Nora Debolt, the woman. I had only a collection of prints and began to study them to see if I could discern where they were painted. There are approximately 20 that I know of. They seem to be all painted in pretty much the same area, with many similar features in each painting. In my heart, I felt that these paintings were all done when perhaps on vacation or a painting journey somewhere in the northeastern United States, around lakes and the ocean, as the houses and buildings look a bit New Englandish, and the women and children in her paintings wear clothing worn in the late 1800's and early 1900s.
The flowers, many of them bougainvillea, the bright red and pink on the fences, hydrangeas, daisies, violets, and the trees, her standout trees are the white birches, most of which are found in that part of the U.S.
In my heart, I felt she must have lived in that general area, and perhaps gone on a summer vacation and created most of her paintings then.
This timeline seemed a good place to start.
So began an internet research project that spanned 6 years. But there is no record of her - none! There are many, many Debolt ancestery
records, but not a one of them refer to Nora the artist. It seemed to me that a woman artist with this talent MUST have made an impression
somewhere in some time, there must be a reference or a newpaper article or a note, but I found nothing.
There are many online reference lists of artists,she is not listed. I also researched the Smithsonian, and the Library and Research Center of the National Museum of Women in the Arts, there are some 18,000 names listed there, but not Nora's. I have also visited 3 libraries and researched books listing hundreds of artists , she is also, not listed. Why?
I also found out that the Arthur Kaplan Co, now out of business, ran the prints about every 5 years, so I knew there were quite a few prints sold
since the late 1800s all the way up to 1998, after that there were no more. I wrote to the company that took over Kaplan, but to date have not
received any response. The records are there, somewhere and I will continue to write in hopes that someone will take notice and perhaps
can give a clue to this wonderful artist's life.
Paintings with clues to location and eraClick thumbnail to view full-size
Nora Debolt Community - Collectors and links
I have received over 200 requests for information from people all over the United States asking for information regarding their prints discovered or handed down or purchased.
- 89% of all requests are for what is the value of my print?
I have received emails from folks who have had one or two handed down from parents and grandparents, purchased at thrift stores and estate sales, some of them in not so good condition, but restored.
These folks I could help a little, with my limited knowledge about Nora, and constantly watching sales of prints.
-11% ask for history of the artist. This is where I am stumped. I can only send what I have discovered, and that is not too much, and ask
that anyone who would have additional information to please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Since I created my studio: Beankitty Studio I also included two dedicated sites to Nora Debolt, located
So that others could view and contact me for their questions.
So, What Do I Really Know about Nora?
If you know, write a comment!
What I know for sure, is that she painted a series of paintings, all in her beautiful style, with brush strokes and colors that have attracted a whole
community of collectors that know nothing more than I do about her. Her prints can be found here and there, sometimes on Ebay, sometimes at the Goodwill, in attics and basements, estate sales, and yard sales. They will never be reprinted.
There are no Original Paintings to be seen or obtained that I know of. Part of my effort was to possibly locate an original, but no luck so far
Where can I look when I cannot even locate a relative, an acquaintance or someone that might have known her?
I did find an obituary - but there is no reference to Nora the artist, or whether that was her maiden or married name, so there are no facts.
My hope is that after she painted these series, perhaps she went back to being a mother and raising her family with no more time to paint, it
would seem so, as after the Terrace paintings, she seems to disappear from history. Perhaps she passed away then, but my hope is that
someday I will locate a personal record, or note or reference that will open up this wonderful artist's life to the world.
Nora's rarest print UPDATE - Title: Reading Bench
Above is a photo of Nora's rarest print: Waiting for my Owner.
It is of a beautiful, colorful and peaceful garden with a white bench, and curled up along side the bench is a little dog awaiting it's owner's return.
8/14/13 UPDATE!! just got an email from a Debolt collector that found one of these IN THE GARBAGE!!! ..and emailed
me inquiring about the value of the print. I have posted a photo of it, and have discovered the correct title to this print is "READING BENCH"...wow, what a find!!!!
Reading Bench 3rd Print Run by Kaplan coClick thumbnail to view full-size
A Few More RaresClick thumbnail to view full-size
A little about me
All of the photos and information included are available to the public view thru image and web searches.
My information can also be viewed at my website: beankittystudio.com at wetpaint.com or wordpress blog.
Any and all comments or inquiries or information about Nora Debolt, the artist is most welcome!