Investigating the Painted Past
Painted by Lavern Kammerude (1915-1989).
Oil on board, 1988.
Wisconsin Historical Museum object #1996.118.200.
Lavern Kammerude was born on a farm near Blanchardville, Wisconsin and left school after eighth grade to work on the family farm. In 1934 he met Mildred McQuillan at a dance and they married a year later. For years he worked two farms doing what he called "plain old farming." Kammerude liked to draw at a young age; horses were a favorite subject.
He began painting in the early 1960s and enrolled in an artist's correspondence program. In 1967 he began working for a nearby automotive parts company and he painted at home in the evenings. Soon he found that many people were interested in his detailed scene paintings of a bygone era, so he started selling his works in the 1970s.
The popularity of his works increased, and in 1987 Kammerude received the Governor's Heritage Award.
This painting depicts an old-fashioned house party from 1927. Wisconsin folklorist Philip Martin of the Wisconsin Folk Museum commissioned and chose the subject for this painting, and Kammerude filled in the details. The scene is a composite based on memories. Kammerude consciously dated the painting by including a 1927 December calendar on the living room wall, under the shelf on the right.
Investigate this painting by clicking on an image below.