The Historic Lotz House Civil War Museum is pleased to announce the unveiling of the earliest known original oil paintings created by a young Matilda Lotz circa 1869 at the age of eleven. The painting titled, The Wolf, reflects Matilda’s love and tenderness for all living things. Nora King, the great-great granddaughter of Johann Albert Lotz who built the Lotz House, recently donated the piece to the museum.
Matilda Lotz had just celebrated her sixth birthday the day before the Battle of Franklin on November 30, 1864. She was just a young child when she and her family willingly sought refuge in the Carter’s basement which was located just 110 steps from their home. The offer to stay in the neighbor’s basement provided better security from gun fire and cannon blasts versus the Lotz wooden home. It was during her disruptive childhood that Matilda, began drawing sketches of her family’s farm animals.
“We are thrilled to be able to showcase this compelling important work of art,” said J.T. Thompson, executive director of the Lotz House. “This painting is incredibly meaningful to us on varying levels. It not only brings more Lotz family history to the museum, but it showcases her earliest known painting which is most impressive considering her age and level of experience.”
“This painting is so exciting,” said Thompson. “First it was painted by Matilda en-route from Tennessee to California where the family moved after the Civil War. Secondly, when you compare “The Wolf” painted by a mere child to Matilda’s later work you can she her incredible artistic growth in terms of composition, scale and definition.”
Lotz House Curator Sue Armstrong Thompson added that Matilda Lotz’s paintings have a commanding presence in the art world, ultimately defining the epoch in which they were created. Her paintings have transformed her into an internationally award-winning and renowned painter. In the late 1800s, Matilda Lotz won several medals and received honorable mention for her work exhibited at the Paris Salon. Matilda was also awarded two gold medals by the Paris Academy of Painting, and was the first woman ever to be honored by the Academy.
In her later years, Matilda Lotz was commissioned to paint the portrait of George Hearst, father of William Randolph Hearst and former California Governor Leland Stanford, the founder of Stanford University. To this day, her paintings hang in the Hearst Castle and Stanford University, respectfully.
Last year, Matilda’s The Donkey was unveiled during the Lotz House Appraisal Fair celebrating the museum’s one year anniversary.
The Lotz House, which has been on the National Historic Register since 1976, is located in the heart of downtown historic Franklin, Tennessee at “epicenter” of the Battle of Franklin which was a pivotal battle in the Civil War on November 30, 1864.
The Wolf along with a select number of Matilda Lotz paintings is currently on display at the Lotz House. The house is open Monday – Saturday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. or by appointment. The Lotz House is located at 1111 Columbia Avenue. For more information, call 615-790-7190 or visit the website is www.lotzhouse.com.
The Lotz House Foundation is a 501 (c) (3) organization dedicated to protecting, preserving and educating people on the history and culture of the historic Civil War Battle of Franklin, Tennessee in 1864. The foundation is committed to enriching lives through preserving the stories of the time along with the lifestyle, furnishings and fine art of the period.