William P. Luedeke, Jr.

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William Paul Luedeke, Jr. (American, 1899-1963) was a noted commercial photographer, painter and lecturer known for his landscapes and portraits in oil and watercolor. William was born in 1899 in Buffalo, NY to banker William P. Luedeke, Sr. (b. Germany, 1862-1932) and Anna (née Kuster) Luedeke (1864-1927), and he had a sister Ellen Kuster Luedeke (Mrs. Kneeland B. Wilkes, 1895-1969). He attended Lafayette High School in Buffalo and graduated with a Bachelors of Arts from Williams College, Williamstown, MA. From the mid 1920’s-1938, he served as a 1st Lieutenant and later with the rank of Captain (1934-1938) with the 106th Field Artillery Regiment of the Army National Guard. He had one of his paintings featured, a “Still Life” in oils, for the January, 1934 cover of the publication, The New York National Guardsman, which stated about the artist in the following year’s issue, “We wish we could get more specimens of this talented artist's talent; his technique would lend a variety to our pages which would be greatly appreciated.”[1]

From 1938-1963, William maintained his commercial photography studio called The Luedeke Studio (later simply Luedeke Studio) first at 534 Elmwood Ave., and later at his permanent location of 545 Elmwood Ave. in Buffalo, NY. He was a member and former president, vice-president and past secretary of the Buffalo Chapter of the New York State Professional Photographers Association, and a member and past president of the Buffalo Society of Artists (1957). Exhibiting frequently with them in their annual spring and open-air shows (1956, 1959, 1960 & 1962), he won the cash prize of $75- at the “2nd Annual Open Air Show & Sale of the Buffalo Society of Artists” in 1960 for the painting “Geisha Girl”, held at the Helen Neville Courtyard, 1119 Delaware Ave, Buffalo, NY. In addition, he was also an officer of the Fine Arts Club of Buffalo, the Rotary Club of Buffalo, the Buffalo Executives, the Niagara Frontier Advertising Association, The Art Directors Club of Buffalo, NY, and honorary member of the Advertising Women of Buffalo, NY.

William married Margretta “Ruth” (née Stacy) Luedeke (1905-1985), and they had a son William Paul Vance Luedeke (1934-2016). Later divorced, he remarried Helen A. (née Sheff) Luedeke (1923-), and they had a daughter Gretchen Ann (Luedeke) DeBartolo (1956-). The family resided at 761 Starin Ave., in Tonawanda, NY. William P. Luedeke, Jr. passed away July 3, 1963 at Buffalo General Hospital and is buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo, NY. After William’s death, his wife Helen carried on with the Luedeke Studio for a brief time after which it became Luedeke-Hirsch-Scott Studio, named for two of the photographers who worked at the studio (Robert Hirsch & Robert Scott). The venture was short-lived and the studio continued on until September of 1969 when it merged with Phototech Studios located at 408 Sycamore St. in Buffalo.


Chronology:

1899- Born, in Buffalo, NY to Buffalo banker William P. Luedeke, Sr. (b. Germany, 1862-1932) and Anna (née Kuster) Luedeke (1864-1927), and he had a sister Ellen Kuster Luedeke (Mrs. Kneeland B. Wilkes, 1895-1969).

1922- Graduated from Williams College with a Bachelors of Arts, Williamstown, MA.

1934- William’s son William Paul Vance Luedeke (1934-2016) is born, Buffalo, NY.

Circa Mid 1920’s-1938- William served as a 1st Lieutenant and later with the rank of Captain (1934-1938) with the 106th Field Artillery Regiment of the Army National Guard, when he then retired/resigned with an Honorable Discharge on June 29, 1938.

From 1938-1963- William owned and operated his commercial photographic studio called Luedeke Studio for twenty-five years, first at 534 Elmwood Ave., and later at his permanent location of 545 Elmwood Ave. in Buffalo, NY.

1950- Exhibited, group show (Prizes: Court of Award, and three 2nd Prizes), “Annual Convention of the Professional Photographers Association of New York”, Syracuse, NY.

1955- November 5, William P. Luedeke, Jr. married Helen A. (née Sheff), and they resided on 301 Summer St., Buffalo, NY.

1956- March 31-April 8, exhibited, group show, “61st Annual Spring Exhibition of the Buffalo Society of Artists”, watercolor portrait shown, Hotel Statler, Buffalo, NY. William and Helen’s daughter Gretchen Ann (Luedeke) DeBartolo was born, Buffalo, NY.

1959- May 3-17, exhibited, group show, “64th Annual Spring Exhibition of the Buffalo Society of Artists”, for the watercolor “Wash Day–Sarasota”, held at the former studio of the late Arthur Kowalski (American, 1893-1958), 456 W. Utica St, Buffalo Society of Artists, Buffalo, NY.

1960- Exhibited, group show (Prize $75-), “2nd Annual Open Air Show & Sale of the Buffalo Society of Artists”, for the painting “Geisha Girl”, Helen Neville Courtyard, 1119 Delaware Ave, Buffalo, NY.

1962- May 27-June 10, exhibited, group show, “67th Annual Spring Exhibition of the Buffalo Society of Artists”, portrait shown, held in the Junior League Clubrooms, 595 Delaware Ave., Buffalo, NY.

1963- July 3, William P. Luedeke, Jr. died at Buffalo General Hospital, with funeral services held at the Mansperger Chapel of the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, and is buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery, Buffalo, NY.

From 1963-1969- William’s wife continued to operate the Luedeke Studio for a brief time after which it became Luedeke-Hirsch-Scott Studio (AKA Luedeke-Hirsch-Scott Studio, or Luedeke, Hirsch & Scott), named for two of the photographers who worked at the studio (Robert Hirsch & Robert Scott), but the venture was short-lived and the studio continued on until September of that year when it merged with Phototech Studios located at 408 Sycamore St. in Buffalo, NY.

1969- June 24, William’s sister died, Buffalo, NY.

1985- William’s first wife Margretta Ruth died.

2016- December 23, William’s son, William P., Jr. died, Hohenwald, TN.


Memberships/Associations: Buffalo Society of Artists, past president (1957), Buffalo, NY; New York State Professional Photographers Association, past president, vice-president and past secretary of the Buffalo Chapter, Buffalo, NY; Officer of the Fine Arts Club, Buffalo, NY; Rotary Club of Buffalo, NY; Buffalo Executives; Niagara Frontier Advertising Association; The Art Directors Club of Buffalo, NY; Honorary Member of the Advertising Women of Buffalo, NY; Was a deacon of the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Buffalo, NY.

Prizes/Awards: Court of Award, for a photographic print, and three 2nd Prizes for three prints (out of the best 20 prints submitted) at the “Annual Convention of the Professional Photographers Association of New York” (from Buffalo, NY Chapter), Syracuse, NY, 1950; $75- Prize, “2nd Annual Open Air Show & Sale of the Buffalo Society of Artists”, for the painting “Geisha Girl”, Helen Neville Courtyard, 1119 Delaware Ave, Buffalo, NY, 1960.

(Written by Mark Strong of Meibohm Fine Arts, East Aurora, NY, meibohmfinearts.com, sources: Too long to list here and are furnished upon request.)
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