Keppele, John Henry portrait

John Henry Keppele portrait

While it is not definitely known who painted this portrait of Henry Keppele or when it was painted, Richard K. Doud at the National Portrait Gallery had “little doubt [that] stylistically, it strongly expresses the hand of John Hesselius during the decade of the 1760s” (Letter to Harry Pfund, August 24, 1977). The portrait was photographed by Friedrich F. Gutekunst Jr. (born September 25, 1831, in Germantown, PA; died April 27, 1917, in Philadelphia, PA), a well-known, nineteenth-century Philadelphia photographer and member of the German Society of Pennsylvania since 1870. In 1877 the GSP Archive Committee worked toward obtaining images of all GSP presidents. While the committee reported that Keppele’s descendants “refused to entrust the portrait with a photographer for copying,” perhaps Gutekunst’s talent and fame persuaded them after all (Oslwald Seidensticker Archive Report, in GSP Annual Report, 1877). Today, the photograph of the portrait hangs prominently in the center of the GSP boardroom.