Bio: Kuse, Walter (1896 - 1956)
Contact: Robert Lipprandt
----Source: The Medford Area Centennial Historical Album 1874-1974, pages 139 to 140
Two Gothic shaped murals looked down on a summer afternoon, August 26, 1956, at funeral services conducted at St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church for the artist Walter Kuse, 60 year old town of Medford resident who preferred rural life to seeking fame in the cities.
The gentle person was content both when he had soil or oil paint pigment under his fingernails.
The native of Medford became A well known Wisconsin rural artist and nationally known church muralist in spit of his preference for tilling the soil for a life time which ended August 23, 1956 at his home which he himself build from glacial stones gathered from the fields.
His excellent church murals sprung from a deep faith and his devotedness to detail in painting familiar landscapes and animals reflected his quite patience with farm animals and love for wildlife in Taylor county forests.
Among his favorite wood carving is a span of oxen he created. Having kept a pair of huge oxen for farm work, he made them stand as models for hours while he studied and carved the lines in the short legs and the low massive shoulders.
But his chief distinction and his chief interest were in the strong and richly colored religious murals which he painted in numerous churches in central and northern Wisconsin.
Two large 12 foot high murals graced both sides of the altar in the former St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church building in Medford. They revealed not only superior craftsmanship but deep religious feeling. On the right side he was asked to paint a picture of Hoffman’s “Gethsemane” from a small print. He was also allowed to create his own idea on the left and painted an interpretation of the Shepherd’s Psalm, a Palestine setting with a realistic flock of sheep.
An oil painting, depicting the announcing of the Nativity by angels to shepherds, appeared in a mural above the opening to the sanctuary of the former Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Medford.
He also executed a background painting in the First Baptist Church.
The rural artist’s influence continues to be felt in the Medford area. A large number of amateur artists annually show works at county and state rural art shows. The Black River Art Society is an active group of men and women who pursue arts and crafts, some of whom having become semi-professionals. The society is staging an arts and crafts show during the 1974 Medford Centennial year.
The unassuming artist who with his family lived a quiet life on a small farm at the outskirts of Medford has left a wealth of paintings and other works of art which will live on to perpetuate his memory.
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