Paintings by Werner Heckenbach

Since 2001, dozens of paintings have turned up by a German artist named Werner Heckenbach, who lived in Wiesbaden. After World War 2 he sold his work to GI's and others living there. As they gradually come to light, I can show them here, thanks to owners and others who send me images of the paintings.

They are numbered in the order in which they were received, which is the only way possible as they have trickled in now over the past 20 years. I eventually rearranged them by subject, so that similar ones are grouped together.
We now have reached 76 entries in this gallery

Peter Werner Heckenbach was born in Niederbreisig, a village on the west bank of the Rhine River, on April 21 1911, and lived in Wiesbaden. After World War 2 he sold his work to American GI's and others living there from the 1940s into the 1950s. As the collection continues to grow, this website has become his online gallery.

His work first came to my attention in the summer of 2001 when two people Bonnie and Trisha contacted me separately, asking if I knew anything about the paintings they owned. We had some discussions about the signature. Werner had a distinctive way of making his W initial. I created this page in January 2002, featuring the first two pictures, in hopes of finding more. A few more came to light over the next few years. Around the time the 7th painting appeared, one of Werner's family members found this website and contacted me, and revealed some information about him. More paintings became known and I numbered them as they were received, but the number has nothing to do with when they were produced or the subject matter. In August 2014 I rearranged the page to group them by subject, but I didn't want to change the numbers, to keep the system in place. Now the numbers will jump around, but the subject matter should flow better. They are tabulated at the bottom of this page.

2018 stood out as the best year for new discoveries, 5 in all, making a total of 48. Then in January 2019 we heard from Werner's granddaughter who is proud to have 17 more of them still in her possession. These were the ones that Werner kept at his home. Maybe they were his favorites, or maybe they were ones he didn't manage to sell. Either way they are a welcome addition to the gallery.

Many of the paintings are now over 70 years old. As the years went by, most of them have gone to new owners. Some paintings have remained in their owners' families through two or three generations now, and the history or the details of their provenance are still known today. But some have only a vague idea, or no idea. Some regret never asking for those details. All I can do is relate whatever the owners have told me. Some of the dates could be way off.

I will update the headline at the top of the page to announce new finds. The pictures prove what his relative said, that Werner could copy any style of painting and produce whatever his customers wanted, even from magazine pictures or postcards. That accounts for the wide difference in style and subject. And by now there are several scenes that are near-duplicates, but I think it's important to show them all since that gives an idea of his thought process. We're hoping that if any other Werners come to light, their owners would be kind enough to submit them here.

It turns out that Werner was one of the Heckenbachs of Brohl, a town on the west bank of the Rhine River in Germany, between Koblenz and Bonn, a little south of Remagen. He was born in Niederbreisig, just outside of Brohl, on Apr 21, 1911. He was a descendant of Christian Heckenbach, born in 1810 in Brohl, who was a brother of my great-great-grandfather. Christian begat Michael in 1846. Michael begat Johann in 1887. Johann begat Werner in 1911. The town of Brohl-am-Rhein is known today as Brohl-Lützing. People often ask questions about Werner's background. The Heckenbach family of Brohl is laid out at heckenbach.org/Brohl.html

In August 2004, when there were still only 3 paintings known to me, Ted in Missouri emailed me and offered to send pictures of three more. His parents had been stationed in Germany after the war and they were close friends of Werner. Ted in his youth often heard his parents talk about "Verner." Ted gave us a clearer idea of Werner's talent. He still owned the three paintings: numbers 4, 5, and 6, shown below. But first we'll show a photo that Ted's parents had, of Werner with his wife Käthe and their son. Werner was wearing his full military uniform in the photo.

family picture
We asked for help identifying the medals that Werner is wearing. Two answers came, from Mark Heckenbach and from Mike Dean. They both emailed me with explanations of Werner Heckenbach's Military Decorations. It seemed unusual for a German officer to be photographed in uniform post World War II. I combined their explanations as follows:

The uniform resembles the parade uniform as evidenced by the officer’s brocade dress belt and full medals displayed above his left tunic pocket. However, it is not quite so formal, so should be considered a walking-out uniform. This is the uniform of an officer. The Aiguillette that he is wearing is the normal dress Aiguillette worn by all officers, in silver, except that it was gold for generals. The brocade and buckle combination was intended for wear by DLV, Deutscher Luftsports Verband officers. The Officer's peaked Cap displays the silver chinstrap; a NCO’s cap would have a black chinstrap. The collar tabs and gold stars on the shoulder boards signify the rank of 1st lieutenant or Oberleutnant in the infantry. The silver eagle devices above the right breast pocket and on the cap, along with the silver piping on the cap, indicate that his branch of service was the infantry or Wehrmacht. The shoulder boards also signify that his assignment was with the Wehrmacht.

The first medal, starting with the outside or the further most from the center of his tunic, is the West Wall medal Deutsches Schutzwall-Ehrenzeichen. It was instituted on August 2nd 1939 and was given to those who designed and built the fortifications on Germany's western borders and/or the troops who served there prior to May 1940.

The medals progress higher in esteem or honor as they move toward the center. The next two medals suspended by the blue ribbons are long service awards. The four year service award had a black finish and was awarded only to NCOs and enlisted men. The eight year service award was finished in bronze and was awarded to all officers, NCOs, and enlisted men. The twelve-year service award was in the shape of the swastika, had a silver finish and was also awarded to all officers, NCOs, and enlisted men. The parade version of the twelve-year service medal was silver and round. All were emblazoned with the inscription: Für treue Dienste For Loyal Services. The eagle devices on both of the blue service award ribbons designated service in the infantry or Wehrmacht.

The next is The War Merit Cross Kriegsverdienstkreuz. The award had two variants: with swords given to soldiers for exceptional service in battle above and beyond the call of duty (but not worthy of an Iron Cross which was more a bravery award), and without swords for meritorious service behind the lines. The last is Iron Cross 2nd Class Eisernes Kreuz 2. Klasse. The Iron Cross was awarded for bravery in battle as well as other military contributions in a battlefield environment. The Iron Cross 2nd Class came with a ribbon and was worn in one of three different methods. For everyday wear, only the ribbon was worn from the second hole in the tunic button. The cross could be worn from the second button of the tunic. Finally when in formal dress, the entire cross was worn mounted alone or as part of a medal bar. The display of these medals in the “Parade Mount” corresponds with the formality of the overall uniform.

The outermost bronze badge is the German National Badge for Physical Training Deutsches Reichsabzeichen für Leibesübungen. The badge was awarded in grades Bronze, Silver and Gold.  To qualify for the Bronze grade a man or woman had to be between the ages of 18 and 32.  They also had to pass all five parts of a rigorous physical test within a 12-month period to qualify. The five physical tests were in Swimming, Jumping, Running, Weight Throwing and Speed.

Moving clockwise from our perspective is a Bronze class German Horseman's Badge Deutsches Reiterabzeichen. The requirements for this award were successes in the field of equestrian sport. This badge was also awarded in grades Bronze, Silver and Gold.The silver badge located closest to the tunic centerline is an Infantry Assault Badge Infanterie-Sturmabzeichen. The requirements for silver were: Participation in three or more infantry assaults, or Participation in three or more infantry counter-attacks, or Participation in three or more armed reconnaissance incidents, or Participation in three or more days in restitution of combat positions, or Participation in hand-to-hand combat in an assault position. 

Finally located centered over the left pocket is the Iron Cross 1st Class Eisernes Kreuz 1. Klasse. This was a progressive medal and the Iron Cross 2nd Class must have been awarded first, then documented three to five acts of bravery above and beyond the call of duty.

Just as every item worn on a uniform has significance, absents can tell their own story. Absent insignia devices on the shoulder boards indicates that he was not in the medical or police corps. There are no badges for parachutist qualifications. 

Finally, he was awarded an infantry badge, yet he does not display any hand to hand combat devices. 

The final adornment is on his right shoulder. The Aiguillette that he is wearing indicates that he was an officer. Most belt buckles were square, but this round buckle is an officer's dress belt.

In conclusion Werner Heckenbach was a professional solider. He probably received his commission at the age of 20 to 21 in 1931 or 1932. By 1944 he had completed over 12 years of spotless military service. His professionalism, integrity, and performance had earned him the position of lieutenant, exceptional performance that any solider would be proud of.

It would be unusual for a post war German to display himself in full dress uniform. That shows that Werner Heckenbach was not your usual German officer. He must have been valuable to both the Germans and the Americans after the war. As a professional he was proud of his accomplishments and honorable service, and 
ed to display this with his uniform. Besides a photograph with his family, he also wanted a color self-portrait. The color was required to document his service awards; the black and white photo would leave some doubt as to the degrees of the awards.


People have remarked about Werner being a decorated Nazi Army officer, who then turns up working at a US Army base after the war. But the war was over, and the massive job of rebuilding Germany was underway. Werner was a personable character, a well-liked man, who must have impressed both his commanding officers and the Americans who occupied the country after the war. No doubt he also obtained his artist materials from American sources. After the war such things were in short supply.

Werner liked the photo shown above so much that he decided to paint it, so we'll have to begin the gallery with his self-portrait, and then go on to his other portraits. After that we'll see his other human figures, both historical and fanciful. Then his animal paintings and buildings, and finally, his landscapes.



Portraits

In April 2007 a batch of Werner paintings turned up at an art auction in Colorado Springs, CO. A woman named Annie bought one of the paintings at the auction and told me about it. She was kind enough to email me a photo of it. It's a self-portrait of Werner dated 1948. He obviously based it on a studio photo so similar to the one above that he must have had a series of photos taken at the same session. She found the idea of a self-portrait of a German officer in his full dress WW2 uniform three years after the end of the war to be extremely interesting. He must have been very proud of his position in the military to do that. This was his only painting that bears a title (SelbstPorträt1948). We don't know who originally owned this special painting before the auction in Colorado.

Annie told me that she had already resold the self-portrait, and that it was going to a new home in Hawaii. The man from Hawaii bought it for his father in 2007 but years later, in  the summer of 2014, he decided to sell it. It showed up on ebay, and a family member of mine bought it.
selbst #9



We'll get back to the 2007 art auction, but while we're looking at Werner himself, a similar painting turned up years later, in July 2015. It is slightly different from the one above, in the ropes and decorations, and it's undated. Its owner John in Arizona emailed me with this one, number 35. John received this one from his father, who got it from his father. They have no idea where it came from originally. It was stored in a closet for many years. John noticed that Werner spelled his name wrong, as HECKNBACH. It's shown along with some of his other signatures, at the end of this page. John wondered if maybe Werner had had too many beers. And he didn't fix it.
self-2 #35


Back to the Colorado art auction in 2007: Annie said there were even more paintings, two on the order of 2' x 4' framed, and the rest smaller in size. One was of a beautiful landscape. I wasn't able to get images of these other paintings. Let's hope that the new owners find their way to this webpage and provide photos of their Werners so we can all enjoy them.

In March 2019 Rolf in Germany told me about a painting that Werner's relative Marie owns. It was painted in 1949. The subject is Marie's grandfather Peter Dieges, who was married to the sister of Werner's aunt. It's a great painting, but Marie thinks that it doesn't really capture her grandfather the way she remembers him. He was a happy man, not strict as he appears here. Werner produced the painting with only a tiny passport photo to work from. In Europe even today, the regulations for passport photos prohibit smiling. This is #66 in the order received, but we're showing it near the top of the page because Peter was a member of Werner's extended family. The next year, November 2020, a photo of Mr Dieges turned up, showing a more kindly expression.
66  P Dieges


In October 2013 Bill contacted me and sent this image of his painting by Werner dated 1947. It shows Bill's father William Dacko, then a Captain in the USAF (Army Air Corps) and his wife Mae. He had been a B-17 bomber pilot during WWII, and was stationed in Wiesbaden, West Germany after the war. Mae joined him there in 1947. The picture has hung in their home ever since, but Bill was unaware of its provenance, thinking it might have been painted in the United States. He finally decided to research the painter, found this web site, and realized that it was from his parents' time in Wiesbaden. He wanted to share it with others who come here to see Werner's work.
Dacko 27


In January 2018 Cindy sent me this picture of painting #44, an excellent likeness of her handsome grandfather Frank Pickens Nanson, who served in the Air Force in Germany. He died in 1987. Cindy said this was the most beautiful painting she had ever seen, and that the colors couldn't be more beautiful for something that was painted so long ago. It's dated 1953.

Cindy 44


Next are two paintings that Werner kept at his house and are now owned by his granddaughter, #60 and  #62, the latter bearing the year 1949. The granddaughter didn't mention who the subjects were.
60 62



In June 2011 Wendy of Minnesota sent two pictures of two paintings by Werner. The subjects are Wendy and her brother Bob. Both measure 13 ½ X 16 inches. Their aunt was in the US Air Force and stationed in Germany. In 1956 the aunt handed pictures of her niece and nephew to the bartender working right across from the base, and that was all he needed. Wendy said that Werner was the bartender. The aunt presented the portraits to Wendy's parents, who displayed them in their home in Minnesota for over 50 years. When Wendy and Bob sold the house in 2009, they brought the paintings to their own homes. Wendy also sent me closeups of the signature, and they match the others we have seen.
Wendy 22  Bob 23


Next is another set of siblings that I heard about in May 2010 from Barbara of Minnesota. This beautiful picture of painting #17 has Barbara as subject. Werner created this one of Barbara while her father was in the military and stationed in Weisbaden around 1950, or perhaps from a photograph her father sent by mail after he returned. Her parents were friends with Werner. He painted one of her and one of her sister. Then in July 2010 Barbara's sister Rose Maria of Washington sent me her picture of painting #18. I'm really happy to be able to show both pieces together.
Barbara 17       RoseMaria 18



A picture of another little girl showed up in October 2013. This time we go international. Teodor notified me that number 28 turned up for sale in Timisoara, Romania, on the auction website okazii, with an asking price of 3500.00 Leu. The painting is in good condition and measures 39 X 49 cm. The webpage for this auction, which ended on Oct 27, 2013, without a buyer, also shows a couple of closeups of the work: http://www.okazii.ro/pictura-grafica/clasica/veche-pictura-ulei-pe-panza-pictor-ofiter-german-wwii-werner-heckenbach-a131405162
Thanks Teodor for bringing it to my attention.
romania 28


That April 2007 auction in Colorado also featured this oil painting of a blonde nude. It was purchased by a man named Lowell, who then sold it on ebay in June of 2007. I captured an image of it for this webpage. It's around 13 1/2" x 17 1/2" and bears the date 1947. 
nude #10


In August 2022 I heard from Antje in Germany. Around 1995 her husband Wolfgang was on holiday in the Alsace region of France. He was in one of those charming medieval towns around Colmar, France; perhaps Riquewihr or Ribeauvillé. He is interested in Jugendstil/Art Nouveau and Art Deco among other things. He stopped into a little antique shop and found this painting of a nude who strongly resembles the one in #10 above. He brought the picture back to Germany and it is currently hanging in their bedroom. I'm showing two photos of it with different lighting. It measures 60 cm  x 80 cm (about 24" X 32"). This will be #76
.    #76


In August 2004 Ted of Missouri sent this example. The subject of #4 is "Salome." Ted thinks it was entered in an exhibition in Italy, and it won Werner some recognition. Werner gave it to Ted's parents. They owned three paintings. The other two, #5 and #6, depict horses and they appear lower on this page.
 Salome4


Number 8 came to light in March 2007 when Robin, a shop owner in New Hampshire, sent this image. Robin had owned the painting for about 20 years. It was in the shop, and was for sale. It measures 30" X 42." Although it had suffered some damage, it was restorable. The picture is of a girl and a Roman soldier.
Robin 8


Next are two nudes that Werner kept at home, and are in his family to this day. #49 and #65
 49      65



Next up is the one that Trisha sent me in July 2001. This was the second painting I ever learned o, before I even know about Werner. We know this much about it: It's dated 1948, and Trisha remembers hearing that Werner Heckenbach told the soldier who bought it that it was of a Jewish or Gypsy princess who had been a friend and a spy during WW1. This painting is in a home in Atlanta GA.
spy 2


Here are two more that Werner kept at home, #64 and #55.
64       55


In July 2022 two more paintings showed up for sale on eBay. They were located in Fort Worth Texas, and were priced at $700 each, plus shipping. #74 is almost identical to #55 just above. #75 is similar. Apparently #55 and #74 are Werner's interpretations of some older painting, because I have seen an almost identical subject done by some other artist. This kind of folk art was popular with Americans.
74       75



Tina contacted me in November 2009 because her parents in California own one of Werner’s paintings, dated 1948. Her aunt and uncle brought it to them from Germany about 1949. They all love the painting, and it has hung in their living room since the day they received it. Tina said they all enjoyed seeing Werner's other paintings, and she was kind enough to include this picture of her parents proudly holding Werner's painting #16.
 16 16   16


Here is a painting owned by Julia, who lives in Biloxi MS. She told me about her Werner in November 2008, and kindly sent a picture of it. Julia didn't know about Werner, but had received the painting about four years earlier, from a person who bought it from a street vendor in Germany while stationed there about 30 or 40 years beforehand. She likes the facial features and the beautiful eyes of painting #13.
Julia 13


These next two are similar ones that Werner kept at home and are still in his family. #54 and #56
 54             56


In September 2012 Don & Pat of Pennsylvania sent me a picture of this fine painting. It was the 24th one in this gallery. They are collectors, and they also buy and sell on Ebay, but they said they just might hang on to this one. They graciously allowed me to display this picture on my website, and also sent a close-up of the signature, which matches the others. They described the painting as follows: "This portrait of a German Man possibly of Jewish descent was recently acquired at an Estate Sale in PA. No other provenance was obtained. Werner's style seems to be simplistic and accurately in proportion with his subject matter. This painting can attest to his talented use of a broad brush stroke, shading, and color palette."
Don+Pat 24



In July 2006 Ross, the owner of an antique store in California, emailed me that a Werner showed up in his store. He sent this image of the 33" X 23" painting. Ross didn't know the history of it. Some people have commented they think it's the best Werner that they had seen to date. This is painting #7.
Years later in February 2021 I heared from a woman named Mara in California who owned a print that was strikingly similar to this one, but with a few differences. Her print had different trees in the upper right corner, and tire tracks in the foreground, and it wasn't signed by Werner, but instead marked in the bottom right corner "F(c)H 1950". This might have been a print of a well-known painting that Werner copied.
harvest 7



These next three small paintings showed up together in August 2014 as donations to a mission charity auction in West Virginia. Cathy notified me about them. All we know about them is that they had been hanging in a doctor's office for years. The doctor, who had German inlaws, had recently moved away and donated them to the mission. They seem to be a set, and are designated #30, 31, and 32. One of them is painted on plywood; the other two on canvas.
Cathy 30   Cathy 31   Cathy 32



Next is the very first painting that we ever found out about in 2001. It measures 18" X 20" and belongs to Bonnie in South Carolina. These characters resemble the last set.
Bonnie 1


Paintings of Animals

#42 arrived in November 2017. It's a painting of a Dalmatian dog and it is owned by Robert.
  42


Next are Ted's other two paintings that he told me about in August 2004. Salome was #4, and these two are #5 and #6. Ted was the man with the photograph of Werner, whose parents were such good friends of his. Ted said his parents commissioned these two from Werner.
horse 5   horses 6


Here are more wild horses in a painting that Werner kept at his home. #61.
61


Deer Series

In late August 2015 a painting of a single deer appeared on ebay. The canvas size is 27" X 19". It had been hanging in the family home in Oregon the seller's entire life until now. Below Werner's typical signature, hidden by the frame, he added "Wiesbaden Germany 1951". This is number 37.

one deer 37


And here's one that Werner kept for himself at his home. #52.
 52


This is the second one that Robert in Florida sent in August 2016. Number 40 is a small painting, at 10" X 12". Robert's grandfather was stationed in Wiesbaden in 1949 and 1950. Grandfather was a Lieutenant Colonel, and he passed the painting to the father, and then the father passed it on to Robert over twenty years ago. Robert's father kept #41, the second one of a white chalet in the mountains, and still has it.
Robert #40


In May 2008 a similar Werner painting found its way to Ebay. The seller Christine of Des Plaines, IL, didn't know anything about Werner or the history of the painting. She called it "Deer Forest Water" but I'll just call it #12. The painting found a new home in Illinois. The canvas measures 16" X 20"

2 deer 12


A 3-deer example first appeared in January 2011 when I heard from Doug in Texas. He owned painting #20 in the gallery. The composition of the scene is very similar to the one above. Doug's has three deer and measures 40" X 28". Doug bought the piece at an estate sale, so he didn't know its history. He also sent a close-up of Werner's signature. In March 2011 a close relative of mine bought the painting from Doug, and moved it to West Virginia. We're excited to have it back in the family.
2 deer 20


Paintings of Places

Cottages, chalets, and chapels

Painting #46 arrived at the end of June 2018. It's of a rural cottage. It was sent by Michael. He bought it at an estate sale in Atlanta, GA, so we don't have any history on it.
46


In June 2013 Renee of Minnesota sent this picture of painting #26, another cottage. She found it in an antique store and bought it mostly for its frame. She would like to sell it. She has no idea of its age or history. It measures just under 16" X 20". I told her I would pass along any offers to buy it.
 Renee 26


July 2018: Betty from Texas sent in this picture of painting #48.This is a similar cottage She acquired it due to the passing of her friend of 40 years. The friend was of German descent and was born in the 1930's. The painting is approximately 10" X 12" and is in very good condition. It says 1947 Bavaria on the back. Betty might consider selling it.
Betty 48


Werner also had two versions of this cottage that he kept at his home, #58 and #53:
58    53


In April 2022 Anna who lives in Poland, in the city of Wrocław, notified me of her painting #73. It resembles the cottage, water, and steep mountains in #58 above, but was painted in a more impressionist style.
 73


In August 2016 Robert in Florida sent this picture, number 41. This painting measures 17" X 14". Robert's father John and his grandfather were both stationed in Wiesbaden from 1949 to 1950. Grandfather was an Air Force Lieutenant Colonel, and he passed the painting to John, who still has it. 
Robert/John 41


In April 2020 Brian reported finding another painting from the cottage series. He saw it in a shop in Charleston SC and didn't know its history. This will be #71.
BrianG 71


On March 21, 2016 Jon sent this one that he found, number 38.
Jon 38


In April 2019 Dave in the Binghamton area of New York notified me about two paintings his grandfather received while stationed in Germany in the Air Force. Dave has known these all his life, but is now considering selling them. He asked me to notify him if there is any interest in buying either or both. I have his phone number. These two will be #67 and  #68.
67

Second painting from Dave 68


April 2020. Beverly in Louisiana sent photos of these two paintings that her father received while stationed in Wiesbaden, Germany, where he acquired these 15” x 18½” paintings signed W. Heckenbach. Beverly was adopted in Germany by an American couple in February 1952 at the age of three months. The family returned to Oklahoma, and later moved to Louisiana. Beverly still owns these paintings and has treasured them her whole life. #69 is a chalet, and #70 is something new; the subject is a castle that closely resembles the "Schloss Katz" which is a landmark that stands above the west bank of the Rhine River. The Schloss was formerly in ruins but has been restored in recent decades.
  69       70  


Landscapes


In Nov 2012, Connie of Colorado informed me of this painting, #25, and sent me a nice detailed picture of it as well as a close-up of the signature. The subject strongly resembles the Swiss mountain called Matterhorn from a certain angle. Werner painted it at the request of Connie's parents when they were stationed in Wiesbaden in the early 50's. They displayed the painting on their living room wall during her entire life. Connie has now sold it.
Connie 25


In April 2015 Ming sent this painting #34. Ming found it in a garage where it had been stored for years and had suffered some damage. Some of the paint has flaked off, and the bare canvas can be seen just below the island. It's similar to #25 just above.
Ming 25


Debbie told me about this painting, #45, and sent me this picture in April 2018, along with a close-up of Werner's familiar signature. She had purchased it at an estate sale in Missoula, MT, a few years earlier. Debbie also owns painting #72, and was interested in selling both of them.
Debbie #45 45


In April 2011 Todd sent me this picture of a landscape. He also sent a close-up of Werner's signature and it's a perfect match. Todd's father, like so many other owners, bought it while stationed in Germany. He was from Ohio, and was in Wiesbaden between 1955 and 1960. This is painting #21 in the gallery. It's very small at 8" by 10". He was willing to sell it and wondered if there was any interest out there.
Todd 21


In August 2009 I heard from Karen who lives in Florida, who sent this picture of painting #15. Karen's uncle was a US Prisoner of War in Germany for 15 months. After the war he traded cigarettes for several of Werner's paintings. He brought them all back to New Jersey and distributed them to his family members. He gave this one, bearing the date 1948, as a wedding present on August 31, 1950. Two of Karen's aunts have paintings too, both similar to paintings #11 and #14 below. 
Update Nov 2022: Karen took #15 to Helmut Zitzwitz to be cleaned. The painting apparently has a coating of shellac, which Helmut can remove professionally. Helmut grew up in Berlin, and knows all about GIs trading cigarettes for paintings. His father had traded a very expensive camera for 10 cartons of cigarettes, which sustained his family and other relatives. GI’s could buy a carton for $1, and each cigarette could buy the equivalent of a 1/2 loaf of bread.
Karen 15


In March 2003 painting #3 by Werner turned up. The new owner Kenneth had recently purchased it at a small antiques show at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds in Dayton, Ohio. This Werner measures 14" X 18". Kenneth does not know its history. He also sent a closeup of the signature.
3 3



Next is a series of pictures of a place that must have been of special interest to Werner.


This painting came to light in September of 2007. Ray in Pennsylvania has had this Werner hanging in his living room since 1956. He bought it that year from a USAF Warrant Officer in Rome, NY. That officer had obtained it in Europe by bartering cartons of cigarettes. Ray has had it reframed once, and cleaned and restored twice. He still loves it. Thanks Ray for the photo of painting #11.
Ray 11



Chuck, who lives in San Jose, CA, sent me a picture of painting #14  in December 2008 that he has owned for many years. He was struck by how much it resembled painting #11 above. He thought at first that they were prints. But if you compare the two, you'll see some differences. In Ray's painting the signature appears on the right side, but Chuck's is on the left. It looks like Werner was thinking about his favorite place again, or a place he imagined, making small changes to the trees.  I don't think he copied one from another though, but was reinterpreting what he saw at the location. But we don't know which came first. Chuck said his was also from approximately 1956. We don't know its history except that Chuck's father-in-law bought it while stationed in Germany. Thank you Chuck for sending a picture of painting #14.
Chuck14


A similar painting came to light in September 2010. Jean in Arizona sent in this picture of  #19. Jean said that it has been in the family as long as she could remember, and she was almost 55 at the time. Her dad always kept it on the wall above his bed. Her parents lived in Germany in 1949-52 and again in 1955-57. Jean thought that this one is from the 1956 time frame like the others.
Jean 19


On March 17, 2016, Will sent this one, to be called #39. He also sent a photo of the signature  He had recently bought the painting at an estate sale in Fairfax VA, where he saw other items that made him think the owner had been in the military and stationed in Germany. He checked and found this gallery online. He immediately noticed the similarity to the others and was amazed at the amount of information we have been able to find regarding Werner. It's all thanks to owners who have shared their snapshots and knowledge. Thank you Will.
Will38

On July 6, 2014 we heard from Pam who sent the following picture, #29. It measures 16½" X 22½". She says her father-in-law was based in Wiesbaden in 1949 and 1950, and bought it from his friend Werner. It has been in her family ever since, moving as its owner was transferred around the country. Pam's father-in-law retired in 1958 to Austin TX, and the painting spent 50 years there, but moved in 2014 with Pam to Minnesota. She noticed the resemblance to several of Werner's other paintings. ( #11, #14, and #19.) This scene was Werner's favorite subject by far.
Pam 29 

In Sept 2021 Debbie from Missoula who had found #45 contacted me again after another estate sale find in Montana. This will be #72. It was so similar to the ones just above, that she recognized Werner's work immediately. And again there is no known history for this painting. Debbie is offering this painting and also #45 for sale.
72 


#36 is still another view of the same landscape. Mike sent it in August 2015. He would like to sell this painting. It has a tear but it's fixable.  I'll forward any inquiries to Mike.
Mike 36 


Ship

I received news about this painting of a clipper ship from Ann in Kentucky in October 2014. It's #33. Ann found it at a rummage sale and sent me a photo of it, along with a close-up of Werner's signature. No word as to its provenance. She said it is in very good condition and not faded, and those bright colors are probably acrylic paint, a product that had only recently been developed.
Clipper Ship  33


Werner also kept this painting at his home, #63.
 63


Flowers

In December 2017 Corinna who lives in Texas, sent me a picture of this painting by Werner of a vase full of flowers. The history of this one is that Corinna's husband's grandfather, while stationed in Germany, bought it at an estate sale, possibly at a castle, according to her husband's uncle. This might have been around 1945-46. She also sent me a picture of the grandfather with some buddies in front of a US bomber. This #43 is one of the very best of Werner's paintings.
 43


Michael who bought painting #46 of the rural cottage and stream, notified me of another painting that he found on the auction website ebth.com. This one measures approximately 16" X 18". It was located in Ohio and it sold in January 2018 for a final price of $78, after 23 bids. Here is the description from ebth.com:
"An oil painting on canvas by German artist Werner Heckenbach (born 1911). This still life depicts an arrangement of flowers in a white bubble vase including roses, hyacinths, lilies, and more. On the table next to the bouquet is a figurine of a cupid playing the flute, and behind the still life is a deep red wall. The work is signed in paint and dated 1947 to the lower left. It is presented in a gold tone frame with floral arabesque molding and wire to the verso for hanging."
47


Werner kept four paintings of flowers in vases at his house: #50, #51, #57, and #59
  50     51



57  


Signatures

Here are some examples of Werner's signature, including #35, the one he spelled wrong:






Table of Werner's paintings
order recieved Date received Owner/informant location subject Date created
1 6-2001 Bonnie SC men dancing
2 7-2001 Trisha GA spy 1948
3 3-2003 Kenneth OH trees
4 8-2004 Ted MO Salome
5 8-2004 Ted MO horse
6 8-2004 Ted MO horses
7 7-2006 Ross CA harvest
8 3-2007 Robin NH Roman soldier and girl
9 5-2007 Annie CO Selbst-porträt 1948
10 6-2007 Lowell CO nude 1947
11 9-2007 Ray PA trees-creek <1956
12 5-2008 Christine IL two deer 1956
13 11-2008 Julia MS old man with pipe
14 12-2008 Chuck CA trees-creek
15
9-2009 Karen FL trees-pond 1948
16 11-2009 Tina CA Jesus Christ 1948
17 5-2010 Barbara MN Barbara early 1950s
18 7-2010 Rose-Maria WA Rose-Maria late 1940s
19 9-2010 Jean AZ trees-creek 1956?
20 1-2011 Doug TX three deer
21 4-2011 Todd OH trees-pond 1957?
22 6-2011 Wendy MN Wendy
23 6-2011 Wendy MN Bob
24 9-2012 Don PA man
25 11-2012 Connie CO Matterhorn early 50s
26 6-2013 Renee MN house
27 10-2013 Bill parents 1947
28 10-2013 Teodor Romania girl
29 7-2014 Pam TX trees-pond 1949
30 8-2014 Cathy WV characters
31 8-2014 Cathy WV characters
32 8-2014 Cathy WV characters
33 10-2014 Ann KY clipper ship
34 4-2015 Ming mountain and lake
35 7-2015 John AZ another self-portrait
36 8-2015 Mike TN trees-creek
37 9-2015 Kevin OR one deer 1951
38 3-2016 Jon mountain chapel
39 3-2016 Will VA trees-creek
40 8-2016 Robert FL one deer 1949-1950
41 8-2016 John/Robert FL house and lake 1949-1950
42 11-2017 Robert Dalmatian
43 12-2017 Corinna TX Flowers in vase 1945-46
44 1-2018 Cindy TX Frank Nanson 1953
45 4-2018 Debbie MT Lake and mountain
46 6-2018 Michael GA Rural cottage and stream
47 6-2018 Michael / ebth.com OH Flowers in vase 1947
48 7-2018 Betty TX Cottage 1947
49 1-2019 Gabriele Germany nude
50 1-2019 Gabriele Germany roses in vase
51 1-2019 Gabriele Germany flowers in vase
52 1-2019 Gabriele Germany deer
53 1-2019 Gabriele Germany rural cottage
54 1-2019 Gabriele Germany another old man with pipe
55 1-2019 Gabriele Germany wine taster
56 1-2019 Gabriele Germany another old man with pipe
57 1-2019 Gabriele Germany tulip tree flowers in vase
58 1-2019 Gabriele Germany another rural cottage
59 1-2019 Gabriele Germany pink flowers in vase
60 1-2019 Gabriele Germany woman in brown vest
61 1-2019 Gabriele Germany wild horses
62 1-2019 Gabriele Germany woman in brown coat 1949
63 1-2019 Gabriele Germany red-sail boat at dock
64 1-2019 Gabriele Germany old woman in red
65 1-2019 Gabriele Germany girl by tree
66 3-2019 Marie/Rolf Germany Peter Dieges 1949
67 4-2019 Dave NY two cottages
68 4-2019 Dave NY two chapels
69 4-2020 Beverly LA chateau 1951?
70 4-2020 Beverly LA Rhine castle 1951?
714-2020BrianSCcottage
729-2021DebbieMTtrees-creek
734-2022AnnaPoland  another rural cottage
747-2022eBayTXman with wine glass
757-2022eBayTXman with beer mug
768-2022AntjeGermanynude

Thanks for visiting. If you have access to any other paintings, please send information. I know there are still more paintings out there.
I will not reveal any personal information about you except your first name.

This page was created January 21, 2002, reorganized in August 2014 and again in August 2015, and last updated November 8, 2022.
Copyright 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022 by Jim Heckenbach


Please send more information to heckenbach@ameritech.net

Go back to the main page: Heckenbach Family History