KELLER, HENRY GEORGE (3 Apr. 1869-3 Aug. 1949), painter and teacher, was born at sea as his parents, Jacob and Barbara (Karcher) Keller, came to Cleveland. In 1887, Keller entered the Cleveland School of Art, studying for 3 years, then studying at Karlsruhe in Germany 2 years before returning to complete his Cleveland education. He studied in Dusseldorf, then at Munich from 1899-1902, and also attended the Art Students' League in New York and Cincinnati School of Art, working as a lithographer to finance his schooling. He joined the teaching staff at Cleveland School of Art (see CLEVELAND INSTITUTE OF ART), serving until 1945.
Keller had little sympathy with modernism, seeing his function as expressing nature as he saw it. In 1928, Keller won the Davis Purchase Prize at Witte Memorial Museum in San Antonio; in 1929, the Blair Purchase Prize at the Art Institute Internatl. Exhibition of Water Colors in Chicago. He made 11 Carnegie shows in Pittsburgh and had 1-man shows throughout the country. In 1919, he won the Special Award for sustained excellence for entries in the first MAY SHOW at the CLEVELAND MUSEUM OF ART. Keller's themes were American, and he felt the Midwest was the great reservoir of the American Idea. He started a summer school at Berlin Hts., Ohio, ca. 1908. Keller married Imogene Leslie on 2 Jan. 1893 and had 2 sons, Henry Leslie and Albert Fay. Following his wife's death in 1948, Keller moved to San Diego, Calif. Both Keller and his wife are buried in the old burying ground at Berlin Hts. Village.