William Teschner, Tampa. Oil on canvas, 21 by 28 inches, a portrait of two children at a Tampa homestead, circa 1915. Signed lower right W. Teschner. Painting needs cleaning and restoration. 

Artist William Teschner immigrated to the United States from Stettin, Germany aboard the USS Pennsylvania, landing in New York City on August 22, 1898. He later became a naturalized American citizen. Teschner, trained as an artist, portrait artist, in Germany, was the first European trained artist to work in Tampa. The Tampa Tribune, August 21, 1915, noted Teschner was a well-known artist, “who has been engaged for some time at his studio, 1511 Florida Avenue, upon portraits in oil of former Mayors of Tampa, to hang in the new City Hall. The paintings are being paid for by the families of those who are deceased and by the living ex-Mayors and will be presented by them to the city sometime next month. Mr. Teschner has painted some of the portraits from old photographs and daguerreotypes but has taken the living subjects from life. The former Mayors, whose portraits are being painted are Madison Post, James McKay, father and son, J. E. Lipscomb, G. B. Sparkman, Duff Post, F. A. Salomonson, M. E. Gillett, F. L. Wing, W. H. Frecker. A portrait of the present Mayor McKay will be included in the collection.” In 1916 Teschner did portraits of deceased members of the Tampa Board of Public Works including Colonel Hugh C. Macfarlane, who came to Tampa in 1884 and had been called, “the father of Tampa,” for his idea of building West Tampa and making it a center for manufacture of Havana cigars, and John Jackson, born in Ireland who came to Tampa from the Manatee River area in 1847. He was a surveyor and the man who laid out what is known as the general map of Tampa and elected mayor in 1860. Teschner, who lived for a time in St. Petersburg was found dead in his room at 2001 Fourteenth Avenue on July 31, 1921, with his paintings scattered about the room. The Tampa Times, August 1, 1921, noted, “Teschner was well known in Tampa as ‘Happy-go Lucky Teschner,’ but who his relatives were, or where he came from, were a complete mystery…. his only occupation the many years he was in Tampa was portrait painting….” He is buried in Tampa’s Woodlawn Cemetery. The Tribune noted, August 5, 1921, “Kindhearted Tampa citizens sent several beautiful floral offerings to be placed upon the grave.” Born: 1869, Germany. Died: July 31, 1921, Tampa. Exhibits: Made in Tampa Week, September 1915, in window of Tampa Photo and Art Supply Company, 314 Twiggs Street, Tampa, with other Tampa artists including Belle Weeden McNair and Lottie Watkins; Chicago Furniture Company window, Made in Tampa Week, September 1915, two portraits of former mayors of Tampa.

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